Tuesday 17 October 2017

Dartford Warblers

Dungeness - mild, overcast, light airs - Spent the day guiding for Lew, one of our regulars from north Kent. We kicked off with a brief seawatch from the hide but all was quiet apart from the usual Gannets, 20 Kittiwakes, a few auks, two Sandwich Terns and several Mediterranean Gulls. However, the land was considerably more lively with the highlights being up to five Firecrests in the old lighthouse garden and a pair of Dartford Warblers near the Sanctuary. Also in the garden several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests, Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Blue Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Elsewhere around the point 10 Stonechats, six Swallows, 20 Mipits, 10 Pied Wagtails, two Black Redstarts and a Grey Wagtail over.
  A quick word on the weather, which once again was weird. The sun, when it did poke through the clouds, was still orangey and by mid-morning it rained briefly and was so dark I thought we were having a solar eclipse!

                               Black Redstart, an unusually scarce migrant this autumn.

Moving onto the bird reserve around noon and first stop ARC where a large passerine flock by the car park contained more Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. From the hide 30 Blackwits, three Great White Egrets, two Marsh Harriers, five Pintails, a Snipe, plus calling Water Rail and Cetti`s Warbler were the highlights. At Boulderwall two Tree Sparrows on the feeders and flight views of the Cattle Egret in the field following the cows. On Burrowes, 12 Great White Egrets, 200 Golden Plovers, two Ruffs and a juvenile Little Stint from Makepeace hide. On Dengemarsh eight Ruffs, Marsh Harriers, Buzzard, Kestrel, Raven two Grey Plovers over calling and all the usual gulls, wildfowl and Lapwings. Also, Clouded Yellow and Red Admirals on the wing.
  We finished the day back at the sea from the fishing boats where an Arctic Skua showed well chasing a gull. Also, Razorbill and Guillemot, two Mediterranean Gulls, Sandwich Tern, Grey Seal and Porpoise.

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