Tuesday 19 February 2013

Bitterns & Snow Buntings

Dengemarsh - 0900hrs - warm, dry, sunny, light airs - Superb morning to be out and about in the field with not a breath of wind and bright sunshine. Together with the Joker first stop New Diggings, from the causeway road, where singles of Smew, Shelduck and Great White Egret. After swapping banter with the vols by the workshop (and another round of blade runner jokes!) we scanned the fields beyond Cook`s Pool where the 5 Tundra Bean Geese were still present amongst a number of feral geese and hundreds of Curlews, Wigeons, Lapwings, Golden Plovers and Stock Doves, plus several Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzard, Stonechat, Cetti`s Warbler, Redwing and Great White Egret.
From the ramp `pinging` Bearded Tits, `trilling` Dabchicks, `sharming` Water Rails, flight views of a Bittern and singing Reed Buntings. In the sheep fields over the back 7 Barnacle Geese along with loads more Lapwings, Curlews and Stock Doves.
Next stop the hayfields where we checked around the reedbeds for the recently reported Penduline Tits without success. More Reed Buntings, Skylark and Mipit over and a Bearded Tit. Hayfield no. 3 looked good with a mix of Lapwings, Curlews, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks and 2 Snipe.
On the main lake another flight view of  Bittern, 5 Pintails, 3 Dabchicks, Goldeneye and all the usual wildfowl.
Over the road from Hanson 5 Smews and 6 Goldenyes amongst the ducks and Bittern in the reedbed that eventually flew across the bay and back into cover. The tit flock held a number of Long-taileds, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.
A decent mornings birding with 3 Bitterns the highlight.
Littlestone - 1400hrs - As the light and wind conditions were good decided to try and digi-scope the Snow Buntings this afternoon with some success. The two birds were very confiding and barely moved away from a section of weedy foreshore by the boat ramp. They really are super little birds and it was a privilege to watch them as they delicately cracked open weed seeds discarding the husk and eating the nutritious kernel. At times they approached to with 5 yards, despite Barney sitting beside me watching them all the way!

                                                                Snow Buntings, Littlestone

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