Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ring-necked Duck

RSPB - 1330hrs - cool, sunny, sw3 - Two visiting birders in for three days, Hazel and John from Sussex and Hampshire respectively.
News broke this morning of a drake Ring-necked Duck on Hookers, so there was only one place to head for. En-route we had Slavonian Grebe and 4 Little Egrets on New Diggings from the road, although the views of the grebe were poor due to the glare.
Spent a frustrating couple of hours trying to find the R-n-duck without success. However, plenty to see from the ramp including displaying Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits, Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, 10 Lapwings, a flyover Snipe and 2 Ravens. From the gate at Dengemarsh good views of a pair of Garganeys and Redshanks.
We then moved on to Burrowes for the Long-tailed Duck which was viewable from Dennis`s hide, along with a few more ducks such as Shoveler and Shelduck. Called in at Boulderwall for the Tree Sparrows on and around the feeders of which we counted 21.
It was then back to Hookers, and low and behold the Ring-necked Duck broke cover from its slumbers in the willow roots and swam into view, albeit into glaring sunlight. However, we did get all salient features before it settled back into the reeds and partial obscurity. Good to see the Ashford 3 on site and have a natter.
Littlestone - 1700hrs Gave the Short-eared Owls an hour, but no joy. Stunning views though of a male Merlin perched atop a thorn bush for 10 minutes. Also, on the golf course a single Grey Plover, 10 Linnets and Skylark. On the beach Curlew, Ringed Plover and Sanderling noted.
In summary a decent enough afternoons birding with the Ring-necked Duck eventually putting on a show. A Dunge tick for me and only about the 3rd site record I believe...

                                           Ring-necked Duck, Hookers (record shot)

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