Well the weather forecast was spot on, and so Pam and I took a run down to Dungeness. Now I know what you are thinking " With weather like this it is going to be absolutely heaving". Well you are dead right. We said the same thing before we left and on the way we guessed at how many cars would be there, I said about 30+ Pam said more than that, well it was definitely plus more like 50-60.
Don't get me wrong, it was a nice day out, and I knew it was going to be hard to see, and make a good days list but I am happy with what I did see.
Before we headed off I did a bit of home birding from the kitchen window, apart from the usual species I had 2 surprises, the 1st was a male Siskin on the feeders, my first since last winter(January),and the next was a sight that I will never see again. Something caught my eye walking in the park, it was a female Pheasant , now you might think where is this going? I then saw another one close behind , then 3 more, that was 5 and still they kept coming, 2,3 at a time. I called Pam I couldn't believe what I was seeing and still they came. I then saw 4 males bringing up the rear, or so I thought, they was shortly followed by some more females, Now I didn't know what to think, why would so many Pheasants wander into the park at 8:30-9:00am. In total I saw 17 females and 4 males, 21 in total . A wonderful sight to behold, but why??
On the way to Dunge we went via Walland Marsh. I knew I would pick up the Tree Sparrows and a few others species like a few winter thrushes that I wouldn't see on the reserve. I looked for the Bewick or Whooper Swans that have been in with the Mutes but most of the swans was feeding somewhere else, still next time. The only thrushes seen was Fieldfares.
We went into the centre first to wish them a Happy New Year and see what was about. We chatted with Jill, had a good look on Burrows Pit before moving on.
After turkey sandwiches and soup at lunchtime we then headed for the First Hide (now at this very moment of writing 'Firth Hide' I have just said to Pam that I have that feeling that I have done this before (deja vu) which we all must do at some time, anyway at one point I had the hide all to my self, albeit for about 4-5 minutes :-)
There is a good number of ducks/drakes on Burrows Pit. Among the norm there is also Goldeneye(male and female, the male looking really good with the sun on him) Smew( redheads,females) the male was over on the ARC Pit.and a female Goosander which I just missed out on because a couple of G/B/B/Gull made a fly past and disturbed everything. The species I did see during my short visit was as follows:
MuteSwan, Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, G/C/Grebe, Cormorant, G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Goldeneye, Smew, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Marsh Harrier, Lapwing, C/Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpe, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Reed Bunting, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch,
I don't like crowds and I didn't want to leave too late because I wanted to come home the way we went, through Walland Marsh. Whether this was a omen or not I don't know but it was the highlight of the day. Nothing was seen unto we got to a certain bend in the road where about 4-5 cars was parked. Among the birders there was Dave Walker from Dungeness Bird Observatory.
we slowed down and I asked Pam to ask what they was watching, and one of them replied "A Common Crane. We found a space and parked up. Out came the scope. It wasn't too dificult to find, it was just wandering about in the field feeding. Brilliant was my first reaction, plus a bit of excitement. It wasn't long before the crowd grew in number.
The Crane was at the following position: From the Woolpack Inn to Lydd follow the road as far as Old Cheyne Court , grid reference 004 238 on the right just around the bend, just passed the large derelict glass building which lays a little way back from the road.
As the light change someone found a Barn Owl quartering the dike area at the back of the field the Crane was in. I got onto it, and at one point it passed by the Crane, seeing both of them together in the scope.
While watching the Owl fly off to the right and over the road another Barn Owl appeared, 2 in a matter of minutes, can't be bad, so after what turned out very enjoyable day we headed off home.
My Bird Of The Day has to be the ** Common Crane.**