Thursday 12 February 2015

Smews, swans and raptors

Dungeness - 0900hrs - cold, dank, light airs - Met up with Lew from Orpington at the point this morning for a days birding around the Marsh. A quick look at the mill-pond like sea confirmed that apart from hundreds of Great Crested Grebes and Cormorants nothing much was happening seabird wise. A Black Redstart on the power station wall was the only bird of note.

                                 Kestrel, access road

RSPB - From the causeway road two redhead Smew, Great White Egret and Goldeneyes on New Diggings was a good start, while the fields at Boulderwall were packed out with several thousand Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Wigeon, feral geese, Woodpigeons, Starlings and Stock Doves, plus two Great White Egrets, Marsh Harriers, Kestrel, Buzzard and Tree Sparrows on the feeders.
On Burrowes eight more Smew including a cracking `white nun` that performed a treat in front of Scott hide alongside hundreds of common wildfowl out on the lake

                                Smews, Burrowes

The two Cattle Egrets were in the field next to Brickwall Farm at the bottom of Dengemarsh Road.

                                The Dengemarsh Two

Scotney - Hundreds of feral geese, Wigeon and common diving ducks here, plus three Black-necked Grebes, but despite extensive searching we failed to find the wintering Scaup. Also of note, three Dunlin, two Redshanks, a Ringed Plover and yet another Great White Egret.
Walland Marsh An afternoon circuit of the Marsh delivered the Bewick`s and Whooper Swans in their usual field at Horse Bones Farm, Tree Sparrows and finches at Midley, Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings at Brenzett, plus winter thrushes, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and Marsh Harriers elsewhere.

                                Bewick`s Swans, Walland Marsh

                                Whooper Swan, Walland Marsh

ARC - Finished up in Hanson hide with further good views of Smews fishing in the reed bed, a Kingfisher and a passerine flock containing Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

In summary a pretty decent days birding in great company with 79 species racked up without really trying.

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