I went to Dungeness RSPB Reserve for about three and a half hours, to see if anything different had dropped in. On our way up the track there was a good number of Sand Martins around, and also the usual largs gathering of Great Black Backed Gulls resting up on the shingle to the left. for as long as we have been coming here they have always used this area, and I am going back ten's of years.
We arrived at the visitors centre at about 12.30pm, to a very empty car park, and as usual it was a case of having a good scan around from the window. There was many of the usual species on the water, but in the far distance was a large white bird sitting a large bush I knew straight away that it was one of the Great White Egrets. I went to the Firth Hide for a better look and being so much closer there could be no doubt about it, in the bright light against the green back drop it showed up so well, especially it's yellow bill.
From there we sat in the car park for a short while to see what was in the feeding area.The following species was on and under the feeders: Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch,and a Wren was sculking in the undergrowth. While watching them a large bird flew out of the tree's and over towards Christmas Dell, the bird in question was a Jay.I think that is the first time I have seen one here.
from here we headed for Denge Marsh Hide, on the way there I saw a few other species, the best being 3 Greeen Woodpeckers all together that crossed the track in front of us. The others being Blackbird, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Moorhen, Pied Wagtail, Starling.
After arriving at Denge Marsh Hide the first thing on the menu was lunch. While we was eating a Kestrel took a liking to a fence post close by, it stayed a while but a photo was out of the question.
Now the last time I went in this hide it was very quiet, apart from a few of the norm species, so after seeing a couple of birders come out pretty soon after going in I assumed that there still wasn't much about so I decided to head for the ARC Pit.
On the way out a couple more Kestrels waqs seen, and stopping at the entrance to the reserve we stopped to see if the Tree Sparrows was around. At first I thought they wasn't because the usual feeder was empty, but just as we moved off I noticed another feeder in front of the house which was full, and this where the Tree Sparrows was at, about 7 was seen.
When we entered the car park we was the 2nd car there, and the owner of that passed me on his way back so I was alone.
I sat in my favourite corner, it gives views in 2 directions, If anyone is interested the Hanson Hide was erected in early 2005, I know because I was there about a week after it opened. Some how while in ther with my friends my pen happened to slip and in the corner it says KB/05. I thought some one might have scribbled it out by now but I am still there (please note, I do not normally go around doing this sort of thing........honest).
So as with all my visits, out came the scope and scanning started. There was plenty to see. the water level isn't too bad, with various islands showing. On the island was the only waders there which was Lapwings, along with some of the many Teal. Just as I got into it a Cetti's Warbler started singing and it seemed happy to carry on for quite a while. There was plenty of Wigeon grazing, one Greylag Goose was at the far side, and close to it was a Little Egret and a Grey Heron.
One of the islands was taken over by a large number and variety of gulls all resting up together, Great Black Back, Lesser Black Backed, Herring , and a few Black Headed, and Common.
Listed here is the species seen some in large numbers, for just a few: Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Coot, Gadwall, Shoveler, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Pintail(1pair), Mute Swan(2), Cormorant.
There was a female Marsh Harrier quartering the area near to the open backed hide, there was also 2 more Kestrels hunting, one in the same area and one behind the hide.
On one of my scans of the water I decided to spend it looking to see if anything unusual had arrived from it's breeding grounds. I didn't expect to see anything, although one never knows, Today must have been my lucky day,while I was looking to the far end, past the Cormorant island , out of the reeds on the far left came a female Goldeneye.
You can guarentee seeing them here every winter time, male and female, but this one must be one of the first Goldeneyes' to arrive apart from the one's in Scotland. Now I thought that would be it for today which I was very happy with, but it didn't end there, while carrying on my scan I noticed a small bird that kept diving for food but eventually it stayed up for a while to have a bit of a wash and brush up, and then I was able to identify it, it was one of the smaller grebes. I thought that it might have been the Black Necked Grebe that I saw a few weeks ago but it wasn't it was the other one that visits most years, and that is the Slavonian Grebe. I wish that I was going back to the centre because when I was there nothing nothing was written on the days sighting board.
2 other species I saw in many places was C/Crow and Magpie.
Below is my days bird list:
G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Great Crested Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Pintail, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Green Woodpecker, W/Pigeon, C/Crow, Jay, Magpie, Sand Martin, Starling, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Tree Sparrow, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler.
Total species = 44
My Bird of the Day is to be the ** Slavonian Grebe **