Tuesday 8 November 2016

10 ducks and a Stonechat

Dungeness - 0815-0945hrs - cold, cloudy, n 3 - We joined PB and MH at the fishing boats for a very enjoyable seawatch during which time several hundred ducks of 10 species moved down-Channel. Wigeon and Teal comprised the bulk with lesser numbers of Shelduck, Pintail, Gadwall, Mallard and Common Scoter, plus the icing-on-the cake, four Goldeneyes, three Red-breasted Mergansers and, just as we were leaving, two Long-tailed Ducks (thanks for the shout out fellas!). Also noted, a steady procession of Brents and Gannets, two Red-throated Divers, 10 Guillemots, five Razorbills, 10 Kittiwakes, 10 Dunlins, 15 Golden Plovers, a Bonxie and two Med Gulls. A succession of Starling flocks also came in totalling over 1,000 birds.

                               Daybreak, Dungeness

Kerton Road Triangle - News came through around midday of a juvenile/1st winter `Siberian` type Stonechat found by OL in the triangle scrub, alongside several Common Stonechats and Dartford Warblers. In the bright sunshine the said bird appeared very pale, cold grey-brown overall when compared to the adjacent Commons with a conspicuous whitish supercilium (although it didn`t look quite so obvious as the light faded). The breast was plain, lacking any orange wash, but with a few streaks on the flanks and the back was heavily streaked with a broad white wing-bar. The rump appeared mostly plain buff with a few streaks lower down, while the all black tail had a thin white outer edge. In flight, although difficult to detect, the underwing seemed to be darkish, but not black.

                               Stonechat, Kerton Road Triangle

  Having gone through the literature back home and checked pics on the internet `our` bird didn't  seem to fit the typical Siberian type as it appeared to show some features of an eastern race, but not all (the closest image I could find is the pic on page 402 of the new Britain`s Birds ID guide). I suppose it could be of another race entirely with which we`re not familiar, or an aberrant bird, I just don't know, but it was certainly a strikingly pale Stonechat of the like I`ve not seen before. 
  However, my bridge camera pics don't do the bird justice and there will be some good shots from PB, DW, et al with the long lenses, which should hopefully shed a bit more light on its identity, along with a bit more digging online.

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