I was in 2 minds as to where to go today, it was either Stodmarsh, or Dungeness, and after reading Phil's blog I should have picked the former not the latter. When we left home the temperature was 14.5c so I was expecting a lovely day. By the time we arrived the temperature had dropped to 12c but still warmish.
I wanted to have a look at the trapping area, so that is where we went first. I know that the best time to go there is early morning or evening, but I still thought I would give it a go.
I was hoping for a Black Redstart but it wasn't to be, the only species seen was: Pied Wagtail, H/Sparrow, Meadow Pipit,
Starling, and the usual Gulls.
From here it was off to Dungeness RSPB Reserve. Before entering the reserve we stopped off on the road, to scan the shallows and islands at the top of the ARC Pit, from here there was 11 Teal, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Ringed Plover, and 1 Curlew. We moved on because I was going to watch the ARC Pit from the Hanson Hide later.
After entering the gates I could hear Tree Sparrows, but I decided to stop and see them on the way out.
After having a chat with Christine, and Mary in the centre we was told that the Long tailed Duck was on Burrows Pit, soafter having a scan around I saw it over the far back. I did however get a much better view of a Knot that was just out in front on one of the islands. We was surprise to see that the water level is high, and not low as I would have expected. Apart from those 2 birds there was nothing different out there, just the norm. Over on the feeder was Chaffinch Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Greenfinch.
By now we was getting peckish so we went around to Denge Marsh Hide with the prospect of seeing the male Garganey that is present. After lunch I set off to look for it, which had been seen from the gate to the far end of the track up past the hide, by now the temperature had taken a dive to 10c, it was now fleece and light weight top coat time.
When I got there 3 other birders was already looking for it, but they told me that there was no sign of it. We all stayed there a while longer, but nothing, it could have been close in to the reeds. It seems as if the one at Stodmarsh was easier to see, or should I say a pair.
Many of the usual species was showing, but the highlight was more Great Crested Grebes displaying, which is most places at the moment.
There was 37 Wigeon along with:Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Dabchick(3), Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Marsh Harrier, Mute Swan, Cormorant.
Over the back in the fields was a mixture of C/Crows, Jackdaws, and a few Rooks, W/Pigeon.
On the way out there was a few more species seen to add to the days list; Grey Heron, C/Dove, Magpie,
We stopped at the gate to look for the Tree Sparrows, and it didn't take long to see them. Even though one of the feeders was empty they was still hanging around the area, I counted about 11.
We then went to the Hanson Hide. When I got in there a photographer was sitting in the corner, and he said to me" I wouldn't open the flaps it I was you, it is blowing a gale and cold with it".
Was I glad I had extra layers on, It was still very cold ,but with the wind chill factor it was bitter. Before he went he did say he heard that there was, or had been a few Snow Geese at Scotney Pits so I thought I would pop round there when we leave.
As on Burrows Pit the water level is really high, at least 3 of the islands out in front was underwater. On the larger island was 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Oystercatcher, and 2 Lapwing.
Much of the wild fowl was as before, what you would expect, apart from 3 male Goldeneye, and 5 female Goldeneye.
Along with the Cormorants nesting on their usual island was a mixture of Gulls, L/B/B, Herring, and Common.
A female Marsh Harrier made a few low fly by's putting all the birds up. There was also a small group of G/B/B/Gulls heading towards the power station. It was now time to leave.
Once at Scotney Pits I didn't have to wait long to see the Snow Geese, there was 7 out in front grazing. There was also a large number of Gulls here. The island in the centre was covered with them, from G/B/B's to B/H Gulls.
The wind was still blowing as it was at ARC Pit, and cold with it too. The temperature in the car was still reading 10c.
After seeing the Geese we left for home, in fact if it wasn't for them I would have gone home earlier due to the drop in temperature, but it didn't take long to warm up, by the time we reached the M20 the temperature was back up to 13c.
It may have been a day of a warm arrival to very cold leaving, but I still enjoyed it, as usual.