Saturday 6 September 2014

Magical Dungeness day of drift migrants

Dungeness - 0700hrs - warm, dry, overcast, light airs - With two old birding mates (Rob Dazley and Pete Marshall) down from Dunstable for the weekend I was hoping for a "bit of drift migration" to show off to the old landlubbers, but what we got was way above expectations...
We had  to start with a quick look at the sea, being as Brogborough Clay Pit is the largest area of water they ever see! Predictably there was little on the move apart from a few Gannets and a couple of Arctic Skuas beating up the terns. At the Patch plenty of gulls, 50 Common and a single juv Arctic Tern.
And so to the land, which was brilliant, with drift migrants all over the place, the pride of place going to a Wryneck at the southern end of the Trapping Area. Over the course of the morning and early afternoon we racked up 50 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Pied Flycatcher, 5 Common Redstart, 10 Whinchat, 5 Stonechat, 15 Wheatear, 10 Pied Wagtail, 20 Common Whitethroat, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Grey Wagtail, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Great and Blue Tits.
Hundreds of hirundines moved through with a fabulous spectacle of several hundred House Martins settled atop Dungeness A Station. Raptors included 3 Sparrowhawks, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier. Phew!
Scotney - For a change of scene we walked the back track out onto Walland in a quest for waders on the gravel pits where we found 2 Green Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 50 Lapwing, Curlew and Common Sandpiper. Also here Wigeon, Pintail and Egyptian Geese amongst hundreds of common wildfowl, Little Egrets, plus two Common Buzzards, one with a pale tail and at least 100 Yellow Wagtails. On the walk back the farm track at one stage was covered in hirundines, a truly amazing spectacle.

                                Hirundines, Scotney

Galloways - A circuit of the range road produced numerous Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats and Wheatears, Sedge Warbler, plus 2 Ravens and Kestrel.
Dengemarsh Gully - More migrants here with Garden Warbler new for the day, plus more Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Willow Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Whinchat and Wheatear.
ARC - Finished off at the Screen hide where the Glossy Ibis and Spotted Redshank were on show, plus 3 Garganey amongst the wildfowl and a Black Tern over the lake..
Another terrific day migrant hunting across the peninsula.
NB: Also today Nightjar and Firecrest at Long Pits and a Red-backed Shrike briefly at Boulderwall.

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