Not being able to get out for a few weeks, I took a chance on visiting Dungeness RSPB Reserve. When we left home it was cold, windy and raining, but the closer we got to Dungeness the better the weather got. The rain had cleared and the sun was out, but it was still windy. The temperature rose from 12c when we arrived to 15c when we left.
The water levels was high, and most of the islands have disappeared. On the notice board in the visitors centre there wasn't anything out of the ordinary to speak of. I was going to go to the Scott Hide first, but many of the birders that had been there on this morning reported back to the centre informing them that that area of Burrows was almost birdless, so we decided to make our way to Denge Marsh Hide. Still being a bit windy I grabbed my scope and headed inside. It was quieter than I have seen it for ages, a few species but not in good numbers. I spend about a hour chatting with some other guy, then just as I was getting ready to leave 2 Common Tern's came into view, then they sat on one of the posts. The next thing we saw was what we thought was a difference of opinion, squabling, chasing each other, then it changed, they then started what looked like a courtship display, flying close together, going well up high, and then descending together.
The species of birds seen from here was: Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Coot, G/C/Grebe, Dabchick, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Marsh Harrier( 2 female,1 male). Outside the hide was a Reed Bunting sitting just in the Brambles.
On the way back, heading towards the ARC Pit, we stopped and started here and there looking for any small birds that might have just arrived, the first birds we came across was a flock of about 20 Linnets, many in breeding plumage, a Cetti's warbler was a short distance past them., singingg well but not showing itself.
When a the gate we parked up and had a good scan around, in the fields was plenty of C/Crows, mixed in with them was Magpie, and Jackdaws. Others seen was: C/Dove, W/Pigeon, Starling. The next birds we saw quite low and quick with it, Swifts, roughly about a dozen, maybe more, and in with them was a few Swallows. I was surprised to see the Swifts, they are normally the last ones I see, the Swallows, H/Martins, and Sand Martins are normally the first.
Last stop was the Hanson Hide. I had a feeling that there wasn't much to see here, seeing as there was only one car in the car park, and then we past them walking back down the track to it, anyway I don't mind having a hide all to my self. After opening the windows I could see why, as with across the road, the water level was high and all the islands apart from about 3 was below water. The sun was now shining very bright and the wind had completely dropped, so this time I did take the camera in with me just in case anything caught my eye. Most of the usual birds I see here was present, I will list them at the end. I did notice that the Wigeon, Pintail, and Goldeneye had left, I also couldn't find the Long Tailed Duck, even though it was on the board. What I did find happily floating around on the water taking in the sun's rays was a Little Gull.
Again there was many species of bird present but not in large numbers. Species seen and heard from here was as follows; G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, c/crow, Magpie, G/C/Grebe, Dabchick, Grey Heron which made a sudden fly by in front of the hide, I grabbed the camera and tried to get a shot of it, this is the best of a bad bunch.
The top one is when it came across first, and the second one is after it landed in the reeds for a few seconds it came back again flying past the hide going left out of the sunlight in the shady area.
Carrying on with the list: Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Teal, Coot, Moorhen, Shoveler, Shelduck (one of them stayed quite close to the hide feeding, I managed to get a few shots of it, I decided not to take the usual sitting on the water shots, I went for the up ending ones, I have posted them at the bottom.), marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Mute Swan,
Outside the hide the following birds was heard, Great Tit, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler.
Before leaving for home I wanted to see if the Tree Sparrows was still showing as there are workmen in the area putting up new fences. They was still there. I counted 17, but I am sure there was more about.
Below is the Shelduck photo's, the last one is my favourite.
What sort of creature is this?? What would come out of the water wearing a white shirt and a tuxedo doing a Tommy Cooper impersonation.... WELL BLOGGERS, ANY IDEA'S??????