I then went to check out the Denge Marsh area first like I usually do. On the way there Pam and I couldn't help but see a huge murmuration of Starlings over the reeds where the Marsh Harriers are seen. The other species seen on the way there was a male Kestrel, House Sparrows, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves, there was also Sand Martins, and House Martins, more of the prior all over the reserve, gathering to leave for their holiday in Africa.
Once seated in the hide it was how I expected it to be, quiet, how it has been for a while now, that period between the summer birds leaving, and winter visitors arriving. although there are sightings of various species being seen in the south east.
The species seen was virtually the same as seen earlier on, the only different ones was: Greylag Geese(7), Little Grebe, Marsh Harrier(juv), Moorhen.
The Great White Egret had been seen on and off during the morning, but I couldn't find it from the hide, so I went to look in one of the places that is seen quite often, the channel to the right which is viewed from the end of the Denge Marsh track, or the Denge Marsh Rd, from the bridge. I didn't have to walk far to find it, about half way, it was standing in the shallows, it's long neck stretched out at a strange angle as they do while watching for a meal to appear within range.
The next stop was the Hanson Hide over at the ARC pit. Just as we was about to leave the reserve we stopped for a quick look at the feeder in the farm house garden to watch the Tree Sparrows, I counted 18 in all, they was in the bushes and on the feeder. There was another small bird flittering around in the garden and that was a Chiffchaff.
Once parked up it was impossible not to notice a mass of Dragonflies all around, they was flying all over the Willow Trail tree's and bushes, over the hide, and in front of the hide windows. I would like to be able to say that they was this or that, but they was darting around so fast I am afraid that I was out of my depth, stationary I am learning, flying about like a jet fighter, forget it :-)
There was only 4 people in the hide when I entered, 2 couples, so we had a chat as you do and about 40 minutes later they left, leaving me on my jack jones, so scope at the ready scanning began.
The first birds seen was on one of the many islands that are now visible was Golden Plover, there must have been 50-100 maybe more. They was mixed in with Lapwings. There was 2 Dunlin at different stages of moult, 7 Little Egret, There was no other wader species showing, I was hoping that the Pectoral Sandpiper might be there but apparently it hadn't been seen since early morning.
I did happen to find the other good bird that was on the days list and that was the BlacNecked Grebe.
It was up and down feeding for most of the time, so I wasn't possible to get a good look, but by scoping it up I was able to pick out some of it s markings, steep Forehead, smudgy dark mark behind it's eye
The birds was happily feeding and resting when up they all went. It had to be a bird of prey, a harrier of some description, and it was. There was 2 come over the pit heading towards the islands, the first was a Peregrine Falcon it's breast and belly barring and moustache showing well in the bright sunshine, and it was being followed by a female Sparrowhawk. No kill this time. There was one bird that had made a kill and that was a juvenile Marsh Harrier, it was feeding in front of the reeds close to the open backed hide opposite.
There was another species of duck I was hoping to see, and that was a Garganey. I scanned the birds many times but nothing, then while I was watching a flock of Teal and Coots a short while later I saw this female duck with a pale spot at the base of it's bill, and striping on it's head, it was the Garganey that I was looking for. If there had been more birders in the hide I might have seen it sooner, more eyes, more birds.
The usual Cetti's Warbler was singing away nor far away from the hide. There was also many more Wigeon here what on the other side of the reserve, no more Pintail have arrived yet,still just a handful.
When I left the hide I made my way back via the Willow Trail. I didn't see or hear many birds, just a Robin, Blue Tit, and Great Spotted Woodpecker. What I did see was something that the volunteer at the centre mentioned, Lizards baby ones, and she was right, I looked on the slopes on the left hand side and on one of the clearing I saw a movement. I stopped and looked ans I saw lots of very young lizards scurrying about I counted 11 but some of them could have been the same ones coming back out in a different place, some of then was climbing up some small stems. Earlier in the day a Grass Snake was also seen in the same area.
My days list is as follows:
- Mute Swan
- Greylag Geese
- Tufted Duck
- Grey Heron
- Great White Egret
- Little Egret
- Great Crested Grebe
- Little Grebe
- Black Necked Grebe
- Golden Plover
- Great Black Backed Gull
- Lesser Black Backed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Common Gull
- Black Headed Gull
- Marsh Harrier
- Peregrine Falcon
- Wood Pigeon
- Collared Dove
- Carrion Crow
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
- Tree Sparrow
- House Sparrow
- Blue Tit
- Pied Wagtail
- Cetti's Warbler
- Sand Martin
- House Martin
((( Away from Dungeness Reserve there are 2-3 Ruddy Duck at Pett Levels, how they dodged the guns I have no idea )))