Birds: June 2014
Although the morning was as would be expected for the final day of June, there was a surprise when a Kingfisher was discovered in one of the Haven mist nets.
There were a few signs of midsummer wandering this morning, with a Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpipers and 6 Little Ringed Plovers along the river.
On another warm, calm morning a Barn Owl was seen over Worth and a Hobby provided spectacular entertainment at the scrape at it dealt summarily with the local dragonflies.
2 Med. Gulls flew N offshore, 2 Little Egrets were on the scrape and a few small parties of Swifts flew N.
A fairly uneventful weekend produced little more than a Barn Owl on Worth; welcome in the sense that numbers in the first half of this year suggest something of a recovery from very low numbers following a very bad breeding season last year. This morning’s avian high point was a Green Sandpiper on New Downs reservoir.
There were the first signs of the usual midsummer build-up of Lapwings, with a small party circling the scrape, but it was otherwise very quiet.
2 Marsh Harriers were seen over Worth, where a Hobby was chasing about.
Traipsing. Now there’s a word you don’t hear much these days. However, on a dull, drizzly morning that yielded little more than a re-sighting of the xanthochromorphic Meadow Pipit it well described our perambulations around a very soggy Estate. For those of you who still don’t understand, ask your gran.
Apart from some brief and reluctant bright patches in mid morning it was dull and cheerless with a feisty NE wind. 2 Little Egrets were on the scrape, but it was otherwise as one would expect from the depths of mid June.
It was much the same this morning as throughout a cool and cloudy weekend, with the wind stuck firmly in the N/NE. Still, a few bits of interest warmed things a little, including a new Blackcap that sang as it moved from the Obs track to the farm hedgerows, 7 Little Egrets on the scrape and a Great Spotted Woodpecker; a species that has just started to become more conspicuous again.
Another morning of soaking up the sun while listening to Quail calling from meadows and mewing Buzzards with Banded Demoiselles fluttering along the river margins.
The sight of 3 Ring-necked Parakeets feeding on cherry plums over the entrance to the car park gave the morning a sub-continental feel and the gathering heat did nothing to dispel the impression.
Another family of Lesser Whitethroats was found on Worth, one or two Buzzards were going to and fro and a newly-arrived Quail was calling in the field just north of Royal Cinque Ports.
Warm and humid from the word go, the Estate was pretty quiet, though 2 Marsh Harriers and 2 Buzzards were soaring in the distance over Worth.
2 Quail were calling on Worth, where 5 Grey Herons were put to flight by an adult male Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard. On the Estate, Lesser Whitethroats were alarm-calling in two different places, suggesting the presence of young, and a Water Rail was flushed by a Coot on the scrape; another notable probable breeding record.
As is often the case at this time of year, most interest centred around insects rather than birds, although a Hobby was seen over Worth, enthusiastically reducing the dragonfly population by the minute.
After early rain had moved away, a Barn Owl was floating about over Worth, where there were also a Turtle Dove and 2 Cuckoos.
The weather wasn’t quite as bad as forecast but it was nevertheless overcast with persistent light rain throughout the morning. 70 or so Swifts were coming and going, but just about everything else was keeping its counsel.
A yellow-hued (xanthrochromorphic?) Meadow Pipit was seen along the shore and a Buzzard was drifting about, but it was otherwise typically quiet for early June.
2 Red Kites were seen again – very likely the same birds as yesterday – and a Coal Tit was calling behind the farm, but apart from apparently good numbers of young birds it was pretty quiet.
The new month kicked off in heady fashion with 2 Red Kites over the Observatory, 4 Avocets on New Downs, a Barn Owl over Worth, an unexpected Nightingale, trapped in the Whitehouse and, wonder of wonders, our first Spotted Flycatcher of spring.