Sunday, 11 March 2012

Spring weather reaches Kent

9th - 11th March 2012
Cold early morning, warming to around 14 C early afternoon.
Light winds, mostly sunny.

Friday started with an early visit to Reculver, and although there was the promise of some sunshine, it was blooming cold first thing. Well wrapped up, I walked from the towers up to Cold Harbour, meeting Geoff Burton on a day away from Swalecliffe, and later Chris and Ann Hindle. We didn't see a great deal, though a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea, which was nice. There were 2 Little owls in the caravan park when I walked past, 9 Bar-tailed Godwits on the mudflats, and a pair of Great Crested Grebes on the sea.

Later I saw my first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral near Boughton.

Saturday I spent the morning at home, and whilst helping my wife clear out some rubbish from the garage I heard a lovely song coming from the tree next to the garage door. After a few seconds I had a big smile as I listned to a male Blackcap singing away. I crept out and stood and watched it for a while, much to the annoyance of the wife still working away.

Later I saw 2 Common Buzzards and 2 Sparrowhawks over Canterbury golf club. I finished my day off with a walk at Stodmarsh from 5pm until dusk. There was hardly a breath of wind , and it was quite mild, if a bit cloudy, but I was hopeful of a few Bitterns in flight. There were probably 10-12 singing or calling Cett's, several Bearded Tits 'pinging' through the reeds unseen, numerous Waterails squealing, about 6 Marsh Harriers and a single Hen Harrier in to roost, and the 2 Glossy Ibis were roosting at the bottom of one of the Cormorant trees. I was joined by a couple staying in Stodmarsh village, and we all watched a single Bittern silently high east over the Lampen Wall at 6:20pm. At 6:35 and again at 6:42pm single Bitterns flew over east calling.

Sunday I was on my way to Reculver before 7am, and today i chose to visit the cliff tops at Bishopstone, walking east to the Reculver towers. It was very quiet when I set off, and I chanced upon a very approachable Kestrel sitting on a post by the path. I walked slowly past, taking a few photos on the way.

There were loads of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and very little else. Never mind, the walk was brilliant and the weather fantastic. On the return journey the crowds had built up and I was glad to be getting away to somewhere quieter. I paid Shuart a visit and scanned for raptors, but I only saw 4 more Kestrels and a distant Marsh Harrier.

This afternoon I had a walk along the Wye Downs, enjoying distant views of 4 Buzzards.

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