Saturday 12 March 2011

Wheatear & Black Redstart

Dungeness - 0630hrs - mild, sunny, SE2 - An hour spent in the seawatch hide was more memorable for the banter than the birds; topics under discussion varied from the price of diesel to the merits of modern optics over brass, draw tube `scopes (happy days), as I say, it was a slow watch... However, several large parties of Brents headed up-channel along with a steady flow of divers, scoters, 2 mergansers, 4 Curlew, several groups of Gannets, Teal, Shoveler and Shelduck. New Boy shouted out, "Wheatear", in front of the hide, increasing all our year lists by one. A cracking cock Black Redstart on the experimental station fence line was also a first for the year.
I shifted position to the concrete road and joined Marshman and the Joker seawatching from the comfort of the car. These two canny old timers know a thing or two about wind direction and the trajectory of migrants across Rye Bay, as they`d also had 2 Garganey, Sandwich Terns and Fulmars from here, only 400 yds or so further east from the seawatch hide. Some of the Brents were passing so close that you could only hear them as they flew below the shingle ridge. Also, a Peregrine out over the sea and Glaucous Gull patrolling the shoreline.
ARC - 1130hrs - Hanson hide resembled Bedlam with weekend birders crashing about and setting up their flasks and sarnie boxes. Only lasted 15 minutes, enough time to realise that if the Bulrush Tit did show it wouldn`t stay for very long, judging by the racket from within. However, did have several soaring Marsh Harriers, flight views of a Bittern and 3 Smew on the water.

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