A pretty dismal month slithered to a dismal end in low cloud and drizzle, which had the effect of encouraging about 350 Swifts to drift in from the NE.
The absence of updates since last Friday has been no mistake; it really has been truly soporific, even by the standards of late June. However, a walk over New Downs did produce something to wax lyrical about – the first confirmed breeding by Black-headed Gull in the Sandwich area (and probably in East Kent, though that depends upon how you define East Kent, of course). There were also singles of Green and Common Sandpiper, a tatty Marsh Harrier and a couple of Sparrowhawks, so it was worth flogging through head-high grass for a couple of hours.
Wading through a mass of Silver-y moths the avian interest was more or less limited to a juvenile Coal Tit, its origins probably similar to those of the Treecreeper a couple of days ago.
Back from a short visit to Dorset (20 minutes of sun in four days!) we were treated to a local rarity in the shape of a Common Treecreeper, plucked from a net in the Whitehouse.
At long last a sunny morning presented an ideal opportunity to scour Worth marshes for dragonflies, so avian interest was rather limited, though it was impossible not to notice at least one Hobby, apparently doing much the same thing along the North Stream.
The weather continues to be rag-tag mess of showers, occasional puddles of blue sky and indifferent temperatures, in between which we were treated to a couple of Marsh Harriers and singles of Hobby and Peregrine, while over a hundred Swifts were zipping about over the marshes and a Common Buzzard drifted over HQ first thing.
Rather like yesterday, with some early sunshine soon swamped by overcast conditions with spells of drizzle. A walk along the spillway at New Downs was enlivened by a pair of Peregrines chasing 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, which seemed quite capable of looking after themselves, and around 140 Swifts, although no lingering migrant waders were to be seen.
Some early brightness soon saw the error of its ways and receded as cloud took over from mid morning. A female Marsh Harrier paid a visit to the scrape, but it was otherwise pretty quiet apart from a few Swifts arriving from out to sea.
Warm, mostly overcast and humid, this morning featured the very uncommon sight of 2 Common Terns on Restharrow Scrape and the sound of a singing Lesser Whitethroat, suggesting that work on a second brood is under way.
A bit of good news in the current hiatus of early June was the fledging of three spotty juveniles by the local Stonechats. Otherwise it remains pretty quiet.
Last night’s thunder, lightning and torrential rain left everywhere pretty soggy, but the sunny conditions were perfect for the midday raptor show, during which at least 13 Common Buzzards, 6 Red Kites and 6 Hobbies were seen over Worth, mostly drifting northwards. To celebrate the long-awaited arrival of some decent weather, here’s a rather nice shot of one of the local Turtle Doves, taken on Worth at the weekend by Sue North.
The NE breeze continues to take the edge of temperatures but intermittent sunny spells made it so much nicer than last week! A walk across New Downs turned up a Ruff and a very nice summer-plumaged Little Stint, plus a Common Buzzard and continuing hordes of Diamond-backed Moths.
In a re-run of the same time last year, the wretchedly cold and miserable weather continues, officially making this the worst spell of late spring/early summer weather since the last one. Apparently it will get better.
Another day of unbridled deliciousness, a bit like an episode of Wallander for all its bone-chilling gloom, did at least have a few bright spots, the most notable of which was a Hobby hunting over the golf course, while a bit of good news was that there doesn’t seem to have been any further mortality among the duck and Oystercatcher chicks on the scrape.