Thursday 3 November 2016

Little Auk and much, much more

Dungeness - 0900hrs - mild, sunny, w 2 - Spent the day with Patrick and Ute from Germany showing them the birding delights of Dungeness (along with a dollop of history) and what a cracker it turned out to be. We started at the seawatch hide where a melee of Gannets, Kittiwakes, Mediterranean and other common gulls were feeding just offshore. Twenty Common Scoters, 20 Brents, 10 auks and a Bonxie were also noted and we had good views of a Grey Wagtail on the power station complex.
  At the Patch surprise of the day went to a delightful Little Auk (210th species for the Marsh year list) swimming along the near scum line in front of the boil with the Black-headed Gulls. It`s not a bird we see all that often down here and at any moment I feared a Black-back gull would swoop down and grab it, but mercifully it survived long enough for some of the locals to connect with (throughout the day several others were noted offshore, along with Sooty Shearwaters and Little Gulls - see DBO Website for details).
  On the land a few Linnets, Stonechats, Skylarks, Goldfinches, Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnocks and Wrens, plus a Chiffchaff and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the moat.

                               Little Auk, The Patch

                                Pied Wagtail, power station

                                Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Moat

RSPB - We then moved onto the bird reserve for Tree Sparrows at Boulderwall and the usual range of wildfowl on Burrowes including Pintails, two Goldeneyes and a Goosander, eight Great White and 10 Little Egrets, three Blackwits and eight Dunlins. From Dengemarsh several Marsh Harriers, a Merlin, four Snipe and protracted views of a Bittern creeping along the reedbed margin. Also noted Green Sandpiper, Raven, two woodpeckers, Stonechats, Reed Buntings, a Fieldfare and, thanks to a call from PB, a Cattle Egret on the Boulderwall fields rounding off a decent session on the reserve.

                                Bittern, Dengemarsh

                               Juv, Black-tailed Godwits, Burrowes

                                Goosander, Burrowes

Lade - A visit to the local patch delivered a host of Curlews, Oystercatchers, Sanderlings, Dunlins, Knots, Barwits and Grey Plovers on the bay, plus 12 Brent Geese under a glowering sky. We finished the day at Littlestone golf links where there was no sign of last weeks Short-eared Owls.
  However, it had been a superb day in the field for the guests with 85 species logged, but more importantly some real quality birds within the list.
                                Dark clouds over Lade Bay

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