Friday, 15 December 2017


Dungeness - cold, cloudy, n 4 - A bitter cold day with a cutting wind out of the north, just right for an hour at the fishing boats! All the usual suspects noted including good numbers of Guillemots, Great Crested Grebes and Gannets fishing just offshore, plus a few Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers, two Med Gulls, three Common Scoters and a distant Bonxie. On the beach an adult Yellow-legged Gull was amongst a throng of a hundred gulls.
  From Cockles Bridge the Bewick`s Swans were still in the corn field opposite amongst Mutes. We then spent some time along Dengemarsh Road where the recently flooded fields contained   hundreds of birds, mostly Common and Black-headed Gulls, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Woodpigeon, feral Greylags and corvids, plus 20 Egyptian Geese, five Brents, two Ruffs and five Redshanks. The weedy field near Springfield Bridge held an interesting mix of passerines including 50 Linnets, 20 Goldfinches, 10 Chaffinches, 10 Reed Buntings, four Corn Buntings and, bird of the week, a Yellowhammer, only the second one I`ve noted on the shingle. 

                                Winter wildfowl on Burrowes

                                   Stock Dove and Tree Sparrows on Boulderwall feeders

  Around the bird reserve the usual array of wildfowl and gulls, although less in number from earlier in the week, and still no sign of any Smew or the Long-eared Owl. The Black-tailed Godwit flock was on ARC where also Great White Egret, Kingfisher and Bittern noted, while the Boulderwall fields held the usual Wigeons and Lapwings. The bird feeders were particularly busy with at least 15 Tree Sparrows counted in the garden.
  A quick look at Lade delivered the Slavonian Grebe on north lake, but no sign of the Long-tailed Duck. Up to ten Goldeneyes remained across both waters.
  We had a great evening at the Romney Morris Christmas sing around at the Shepherd and Crook at Burmash, and on the way home just before midnight a Barn Owl flew across the road on the outskirts of the village.

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