Dungeness - An afternoon visit to the bird reserve yielded the wintering trio of Smew on Tanner`s Pool, two White Wagtails on Cook`s Pool, (thanks to MH for the tip-off), juvenile Glaucous Gull on Burrowes and another Firecrest at the pines by Tower Pits.
Its been a case of typical early spring fare across the Dungeness peninsula this week as spring begins to give winter a nudge. Firecrests have been showing well in good numbers, particularly in the old lighthouse garden and Dengemarsh gully, while Black Redstarts, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Reed Buntings, Chiffchaffs and Wheatears have begun to trickle through. In contrast wintering Dartford Warblers can still be found in the Kerton Road triangle and at Lade.
On the sea parties of Brent Geese are still on the move up-Channel, although its been a largely disappointing week for other species of wildfowl and waders. Auks, Gannets, Common Scoters and Red-throated Divers are still coming and going, along with east bound Sandwich Terns and Little Gulls plus an incoming Osprey. A juvenile Glaucous Gull is still being seen at the Patch, or on Burrowes, while Mediterranean Gull sightings are steadily increasing.
Lade sands has been the place for waders with 11 species recorded this week including several pulses of 100 plus Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit amongst many hundreds of Sanderling and Dunlin, plus a brief Little Ringed Plover on Lade south. Sandwich Tern numbers reached 130 at low tide on the sands mid-week.
And so to the bird of the week, initially two and now one male White-spotted Bluethroat continues to show well, off and on, in Dengemarsh Gully as of Friday afternoon. RSPB have asked visiting birders to view the bird from the road side of the gully and not drop down and walk along the sewer margin as several inconsiderate bird photographers have been seen to do this week. The bird is easy to see from the trackside bank or from the sluice, all that is required is a little patience. Sermon over. Good birding to one and all.