With light winds and clear skies forecast for today I was awake and out of the house at 4.30am where as usual I spent an hour driving around the Reculver lanes looking and listening for Owls and anything else that wanted to call. I was soon pulling up and listening to the Nightingale and after moving on I walked along the cliff top at Beltinge where in the past few years Grasshopper Warblers have been heard but no luck this year so far. Other birds noted in the dark were 2 calling Red legged and 1 Grey Partridge and 3 Skylark were heard. I decided to see if one of the Barn Owls would show and whilst parking up I saw a Little Owl and Chiffchaff and Blackcap could be heard. I waited in the steadily growing light and could see the Barn Owl hunting in the distance and with some patience it made its way towards me and I attempted a few shots as it passed by but the light levels were still too dark. The light continued to pick up and the Barn Owl continued to show nicely but as the sun rose it decided to move off to roost. Also noted here were 1 Sparrowhawk, 16 Tufted Duck, 1 Great crested Grebe, 3 Little Grebe and 1 Great spotted Woodpecker. Onwards to Chambers Wall where I walked down to the sea and west towards the towers before cutting inland and returning along the embankment. Birds noted were 3 Blackcap, 15 Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Swallow, 3 Reed Warbler, 3 Mallard, 2 Wheatear, 5 Redshank, 2 Greenshank and 5 Oystercatcher. There were 2 Bar tailed Godwit, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Curlew, 4 Reed Bunting and 1 Sandwich Tern. With the sun shining and not a lot of photos for the day I drove back over to the towers and spent an hour at the Sand Martin colony getting a number of images. The sun was just starting to catch the cliffs where the colony was but most shots were taken in the shade but I shall make a return in the next few weeks when the sun is catching the cliffs.
Whilst watching the Sand Martins there was lots of interesting behaviour noted, especially when digging out their nest holes. Some birds were watched laying on their sides kicking their legs up to loosen the sand, quite a funny spectacle to watch. Most birds were busily diving in and out of nest holes and kicking sand out of the holes, a lot of the time landing on birds underneath the nest holes causing a bit of fuss between neighbours. Hopefully the sun will shine in the week and maybe a return visit for the Sand Martins can be made.