Wednesday 9 September 2015

"Nothing much was happening"

Dungeness - 0800hrs - warm, dry, sunny, e 3 - A change of scene this morning started with a brief seawatch from the hide where a few Common and Sandwich Terns were moving/feeding offshore, also 3 Common Scoters, Black Tern and Arctic Skua. Nothing much at the Patch apart from the usual gulls and a few terns.
We then checked the bushes across the point and along the edge of the Desert, where a steady passage of Swallows and Sand Martins was underway, but all was quiet apart from a few Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Wheatears, Robins, Great Tits and singles of Whinchat and Lesser Whitethroat.
Dungeness again - Around mid-afternoon we pitched up with the seawatching stalwarts at the fishing boats. While Barney went in search of a piece of driftwood to chew on (seawatching is not his cup of tea) I proffered the age old birders` opening gambit, "much happening?" To which the reply was firmly in the negative from the sunbathing seawatchers. "Didn`t think as much, light`s crap too", said I. After putting the world to rights (now, there`s a challenge...) a couple of non-birders (ie, normal folk) turned up and asked what we were up too, so I set about trying to explain to them our weird obsession on an afternoon when the general consensus was, "nothing much was happening".
Or was it... "You've just missed a Grey Seal which popped up close to the beach", said I, "but never mind there are at least 10 Porpoises feeding just offshore", while a Common Seal was spotted further out as we watched the cetaceans showing off. We then pointed out a number of passing Common and Sandwich Terns, Common Scoters, Gannets, Turnstones, 2 Shelducks, 2 Guillemots on the water and 3 marauding Arctic Skuas, while several pulses of Swallows and Sand Martins struck out towards France.
The couple looked bemused. " I thought you said, nothing much was happening!"  
That's Dungeness for you, it always takes visitors to remind me just how lucky we are down here and how much we take for granted.


  1. I`ll tell you what Steve, if any aspiring script writer wanted some lines for a new Sit Com they`d cream it down here amongst Dungeness seawatchers on a quiet shift; infact, I reckon they`d have enough material for a whole series!

  2. I reckon most patch watchers make that comment quite regularly and then reel off a list of birds that many of us would love to see on any given day. It's like some of the long lens brigade, who post a photo with the comment that it's a bit blurred or whatever and all the rest of us ordinary photographers can see is a picture gin clear and superb.

  3. Your dead right, Derek. Don't you just hate perfectionists!