Thursday, 14 May 2015

White-winged Black Terns

Dungeness - 0900hrs - cool, cloudy, se 3 - With Jenny and Emma down from London for a birding day we started at the point with a pair of Wheatears opposite Jarman`s and a singing Black Redstart on the power station. In between a 30 minute seawatch from the hide yielded a trickle of Gannets and Sandwich Terns.
RSPB - 1100 - 1500hrs - By the time we stopped on the causeway road to check the Swifts and hirundines the rain started and carried on throughout the day, becoming heavy by early afternoon and thwarting any chance of seeing any raptors or passerines. However, news came through of a pair of cripplers on Burrowes in the shape of two White-winged Black Terns, completely unexpected and most welcome. From Dennis`s hide they performed like good `uns to the assembled throng of locals, flying up and down the lake and settling on posts and islands. Superb birds and the first I`ve seen in full breeding plumage in this country; infact one local wag was heard to remark that the last time a spring White-winger was seen in these parts was at Lade in the days of pounds, shillings and pence...
Also on Burrowes, Turnstone, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. We then walked down to Dengemarsh hide where due to the pouring rain nothing much was happening apart from Common Tern activity on the rafts.

                                Common Terns, Dengemarsh

                                White-winged Black Tern, Burrowes

Littlestone - After drying out in the Visitor Centre we finished off the day at the Varne boat club where a host of shorebirds included 15 Tundra Plovers, 30 Dunlins, 10 Sanderlings, five Barwits, four Turnstones, Grey Plover, Curlew and 100 Oystercatchers.
So, a decent end to an odd day in the field during which time we clocked up a meagre 60 species of birds due to the adverse weather conditions. However, despite not seeing a Marsh Harrier or Kestrel all day the guests very much enjoyed, as did I, their first White-winged Black Terns.

                               Barwit, Littlestone


  1. Yes, it was a great day - thanks Paul! We glimpsed a marsh harrier back at the reserve this morning, and clocked a second sighting of the white-wings. We also saw tree sparrow at the feeding station, and saw some of the regulars you mentioned as we walked around. Sad to leave your lovely part of the world, but back in London now. Spotted a kestrel just off the M25 to make us feel better. Emma.

  2. Thanks Emma, good to hear you saw some of the birds we missed yesterday, and had seconds on the white-wingers. Good birding, Paul