A return to cooler conditions, with NE winds predominating. I started off locally today before moving on to Kent. An excellent afternoon.
SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)
Single Great Crested and Little Grebes present, the latter ‘whinnying’, with the resident pair of Mute Swans, 6 Tufted Ducks, 28 Coot, 3 Wren, 3 Goldfinch and a male Blackcap. A female Reed Bunting was the highlight.
DEEP MILL POND, GREAT MISSENDEN (BUCKS)
Little of note other than a drake Tufted Duck and 6 Coots.
DENGE MARSH, DUNGENESS (KENT)
Up to three different adult PURPLE HERONS were seen during the period of observation. The first one was seen from the vantage point overlooking the reedbed at Hookers Pit as it flew along the back and landed in a dyke out of view. I then drove around to Dengemarsh Lane, where with Jerry Warne and others, I enjoyed excellent views of two adults, which both landed in the same area of reedbed and appeared to be displaying to each other. Adrian Kettle visited and obtained these tremendous photographs above and below. It was my first Purple Heron of the year (259).
Two images at top of page: Pair of adult Purple Herons, Denge Marsh, Kent, May 2010 (Adrian Kettle) Both birds displayed and eventually settled down, were observed carrying in sticks, built a nest and eventually fledged a single young in July – the first confirmed successful nesting attempt in Britain
Apart from the Purple Herons, not much else of note was recorded – 100+ European Barn Swallows, large numbers of Common Swifts, a few House Martins, Cetti’s Warblers calling (and seen), Common Whitethroats, Yellow Wagtails and a Corn Bunting.
LENHAM HEATH (KENT)
At Bowley Lane (TQ 896 507), I eventually enjoyed superb views of a HOOPOE feeding in a sheepfield just north of the M20 between 1400 and 1500 hours. It was fairly mobile but once pinned down, showed very well and enabled some great ‘scope views to be obtained as it fed on grubs. Some nice flight views were obtained as well. Marc Heath obtained the excellent image above.
SHUART FARM, RECULVER (NORTH KENT)
After leaving the Hoopoe site, I had driven as far back as Clacket Lane services on the M25 when I took a call informing me of a Woodchat Shrike in North Kent at Chamber’s Wall. I continued to junction 4 and turned around and made my way all of the way back to Shuart Farm at Reculver. It turned out to be a complete waste of time in the event, as after just 40 minutes of viewing, the Woodchat disappeared from view and could never be relocated.
Along with 8 or so local birders, I searched for two hours or more and drew a blank – just Marsh Harriers (a pair), COMMON CUCKOO (excellent perched views), Yellow Wagtails and large numbers of Common Swifts and European Barn Swallows.