It’s amazing how quiet the early mornings are now the Warblers have stopped singing, the odd croak of a Greylag a few notes from the local Blackbirds and Robins and just one or two Sedge and Reed Warblers making vain attempts. There are however the exceptions as there are still purring Turtle Doves with at least five birds present along the river. From the Ramp there was very little just a single Garganey and a lone Green Sandpiper while 5 Little Egrets flew in from Seaton only to land out of sight in a back pool. With nothing to add from either Feast or Harrison’s hides I made an early start on watching the Water Meadows, arriving not long before 6.00am. On here there were another 16 Green Sandpipers, 40 Lapwings, 14 Canada Geese, 1 Greenshank and a Water Rail squealed from a hiding place amongst the reeds. At 6.10 I caught sight of a Heron flying in low from the east and on raising my bins connected with a smart juvenile Purple Heron that laded bang in front of me on the far side of the flood. I watched it through the scope, then noted it in the book before texted out to the locals then, it was time for the camera and although distant, a record shot should be achievable. The Heron had other ideas however and took to the air as I raised the camera, flying away and over the reed fringe and dropping onto the pool/s in front of Marsh hide, a couple of dodgy shots were achieved!
|Purple Heron juvenile|
|Purple Heron juvenile|
Spending the next four hours here hoping for more birds to drop in and for the ‘Purp’ to re-show (it didn’t) added a single Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Marsh Harriers including 5 juveniles, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Garganey, 18+ Snipe and 2 Kingfishers.
Bernie N from Deal stopped for a chat and after he left I was joined by Mark Chidwick who stayed for the duration while, Brendan Ryan stopped for a spell and then as he left, Sue Morton accompanied us for the rest of the morning. A couple of Swifts flew over us and 6 Swallows flew west, a juvenile Great-crested Grebe swam down river and the only Cetti’s Warbler of the weekend called a couple of times.
|Great-crested Grebe juvenile|
There was no sign of the 2 Dunlin I’d had yesterday and no sign of the Curlew Sandpiper that Norma McCanch had seen on Thursday. Back at the Ramp before leaving were the 3 Garganey seen earlier at the Water Meadows.
A few coluorful insects were seen but not in the great numbers seen around the reserve in past years. So apart from the Purple Heron, my second of the year here after the adult at the end of June, it was another fairly quiet day/weekend.
|Banded Demoiselle male|
|Banded Demoiselle female|
As is usual after my Valley visits, I dropped in on Restharrow Scrape in Sandwich as I also do before work in the mornings where again it is still not producing much. I did manage to grab a shot of the domestic type Greylag with white primaries and a nice white breast band that has been associating with the ’wild’ Greylags there, also the Swallows and Martins resting on the fence wires during the rains.
|Sand Martin note the different colour tones, one pale greyish & one warm brown|