Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bedfordshire Bird Club at Dungeness

Dungeness - 0900hrs - mild, cloudy, showery, sw3 - A cracking days birding around the Peninsula with 26 members of the Land-lubbers Bird Club (well, you couldn`t live much further from the sea!). Great to see loads of old faces (and a few new ones) and catch up on gossip from the Old County.
The Mathematician kindly did the moths for us at Boulderwall (even though a diving beetle stole the show!) after which we walked the circuit in reverse, starting at Dennis`s Hide where a flock of passerines contained Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Long-tailed Tits. Viz mig included a passage of Swallows and Sand Martins, plus 3 Sparrowhawks, a few Yellow Wags and Mipits. On Burrowes, 2 Green and Common Sands, Ruff and Greenshank. Around the Return Trail more Whitethroats, 2 Wheatears, 2 Stonechats, Cetti`s, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, Linnets, Green Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, 2 more Sparrowhawks and a Grass Snake.
Dengemarsh yielded the long-staying Great White Egret, 3 Spot Shanks, 15 Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, Common Terns, Garganey, Little Gull, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine.
A flock of some 30 Yellow Wagtails and several Mipits were grounded by the track near Christmas Dell.
From Makepeace hide 3 Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Pintail, a Merlin, plus a couple of hundred Sand Martins south.
After a spot of lunch and plenty of banter we tried and failed with the Cattle Egret in the fields by Boulderwall. Slim compensation came in the form of 4 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears and a Hobby
ARC - 1330hrs The much forecasted rain eventually arrived but by then we were camped in Hanson hide. A goodly selection of waders, before they were spooked by goodness-knows-what included: 300 Lapwing, 200 Goldies, 100 Oystercatchers, 15 Dunlins, 5 Curlews, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Barwits, 2 Little Stints and singles of Ruff, Snipe and Common Sandpiper. Also, Little Gull, Dabchick, Goosander, Wigeon and Pintail.
Fishing Boats - 1445hrs - A 90 minute seawatch proved to be the highlight of the day for many of the land-locked-birders as we had cracking close views of up to 10 Arctic Skuas, 10 Guillemots, 4 Little Gulls, 25 Black Terns, 2 Kitts, 50 Gannets, 100 each of Common and Sandwich Terns, 10 Turnstones, a Med Gull and the old favourite, on the beach, Shortie the Glaucous Gull (although he/she seems to be growing a tail) plus a supporting cast of mammals comprising 10 or so Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal.
A log call revealed a combined day list of 103 species (including Balearic Shearwater, Bonxie, Little Tern, Yellow-legged Gull and Grey Wagtail seen earlier by the Dunstable Four).
Finished up back at Boulderwall where we failed again with the Cattle Egret; the only dip, during what had been a successful days birding.
A thoroughly enjoyable day and I trust all you Beds Birders negotiated the M25 without too many delays and arrived safely back home.
See you all soon...
                                         Beds Birders on Tour
                                           Diving Beetle
                                           Shortie the Glaucous Gull
                                         Two Old Fossils!

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