Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A real struggle

Tuesday 6th September
Very strong S/W winds (F9), heavy showers, mild.

All summer i've been looking forward to the beginning of September and my 2 weeks holiday. As usual I have taken leave at the start of the autumn, hoping for a really good sea-watch in a northerly gale, or a few days of light north east winds and some drift migrants. Not this year, it would appear. Rubbish weather struck Kent yesterday on my first day's leave, and got worse today.

I went to Chambers Wall yesterday (Monday 5th) for a couple of hours in strong westerly winds, managing to see a Wheatear, a few House Martins moving west, over 20 Chiffchaffs, a Reed Warbler and 2 Willow Warblers, but not much else. I then went over to Shuart for another couple of hours and saw 2 Turtle Doves, 1 Grey Wagtail and around 100 Swallows around the farm and fields.

Along the hedges in shelter I managed 8 species of butterfly and 4 of dragonfly, which kept me amused for a while.

Common Darter

Today, I really couldn't face walking around in such strong winds, struggling to see anything. Eventually this afternoon I gave in and went up to the towers at Reculver about 3:30pm, just as the tide was coming in. You never know, with a bit of luck something might fly past. I took a walk down to the beach behind a breakwater for a while, and then sat up on the cliff behind the towers out the wind as much as possible.

It was actually quite nice to be out, even though, as expected, there was little to see. Highlight was a summer plumage Red-throated Diver feeding just off-shore. I watched it for a while as I sat on the beach, and a few terns were flying west, then I went back to the car, got some warmer clothes and my camera and headed up to the towers.

Red-throated Diver
(It's a poor record shot, but it was taken in dull light, rain, gale force winds etc )

By 5:30pm, in addition to the diver, I had seen 64 Common Terns, 8 Sandwich Terns, 1 Black Tern and a second winter Med Gull all fly west. There were also 6 Swifts flying round the towers then heading south.

Unfortuanately, the weather looks pretty crap for the rest of this week, and possibly into next week as well.

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