Saturday, 2 November 2013

Pom Skuas & GNDiver

Dungeness - 0900hrs - mild, cloudy, calm, am; showery, windy, pm, sw 5 - After being away for what seemed likes ages (only five days) it was good to get out and about around the peninsula for some `proper` birding. Truth be told I was in a bit of a quandary as to where to start, but eventually we headed down the concrete road and joined TG for what turned out to be a very tidy 90 minute seawatch, in an autumn which has otherwise been generally poor for seabird passage. Anyhow, TG had already noted a few skuas and things were definitely moving with hundreds of Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls and Kittiwakes rounding the point along with a plenty of close Gannets and a few auks. Inevitably skuas were the highlight, which this morning included 6 Bonxies, 1 Arctic and 2 Pomarines, one of which sported an immaculate set of `spoons` akin to a spring bird. Also noted heading west were 30 Med Gulls, 20 Sandwich Terns, 20 Common Scoters and a long awaited year tick, Great Northern Diver (209), plus several flocks of Starlings inbound, 2 late Swallows out and 2 porpoises and a Grey Seal offshore.
At the Patch 5 Little Gulls amongst the gull melee, while a pair of Raven performed well on the power station roof. At the Obs a Painted Lady butterfly.

                                Raven, Dungeness

ARC - After cake, coffee, dog biscuits, green beans and a good old gossip at the KRC we called in Hanson hide where the Glossy Ibis was still present on the fast diminishing islands alongside 100 Wigeon, Teal and Lapwings. Two Greenshanks flew across the back and a Kingfisher zipped by calling, but I couldn`t find the reported Common Scoter.

                                Glossy Ibis, ARC

Scotney - A thorough check of all the main waters for any seabirds drew a blank, while on the grass the usual flock of feral Barnacles were present, plus a mix of 500 Goldies, Wigeons and Lapwings. A distant Marsh Harrier and Kestrel were the only raptors noted. Drove the Galloways road, but by now the wind had picked up and it was largely a birdless scene.
Called in at the VC for a natter and a scan but Burrowes was quiet with only 2 Black-necked Grebes and a Great White Egret of note.
Dungeness  - Back at the point a 30 minute seawatch from the boats yielded 5 Med Gulls west along with a trickle of Gannets, Kittiwakes and Black-headed Gulls, before the showers set in around 1600hrs enforcing close of play.
Nonetheless, it had been a decent days birding with the Poms the undoubted highlight along with the large number of gulls on the move.

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