Pam and I took a trip to Dungeness RSPB Reserve hoping the get a decent bit of weather, it started off ok, but it didn't last, I was hoping, apart from birds, to catch up with some of the other wildlife that is there, but that didn't happen due to the gradual change in weather.
We started off at the trapping area before we went for fish and chips at the pilot Inn. At the trapping area was a very large flock of juvenile Starlings, about 15-200. They was quite happy feeding here and there until a C/Crow turned up looking for a meal. The Starlings all went up many times wheeling around as one, then after the C/Crows 4-5th attempt it finally caught one by coming in under the radar taking them by surprise. The only other birds seen apart from gulls was House Sparrows and Linnets.
While we was in the centre a couple of wildlife enthusiasts was behind me looking at the books, but then I recognised one of the voices, it was Phil of http://www.sharpbynature.blogspot.co.uk/. and Terry Laws(I think that is Terry I know). Nice seeing you guys again.We had a bit of a chat then we went our separate ways, Phil and Terry headed off to do the circuit of the reserve and Pam and I drove to the Denge Marsh Hide. Once in the hide I got settled and started to make my list. The first species that was seen, well heard was the Common Terns. There is 3 rafts, and I started scanning them closely because the parents kept bringing fish in. On the raft just out in front of the hide was 4 young and 3 eggs that look as if they have been abandoned because all the time I was there no Tern paid them any attention. The 3 eggs was as expected very hard to see among the pebbles. All three had different patterns on the but all the same colouring, the largest of the three had the most attractive on it. The hide at the back had 2 young on it along with a Oystercatcher lying in the right hand corner, and the raft to the right had the most on it, it had 7 young on it.
There was a good number of geese on the water, I counted c48 Greylag, and c94 Canada most of them in a gaggle over the far side. The other species seen from here was: Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Cormorant,G/C/Grebe, Marsh Harrier(1m,2f, one was a very nice bird, It looked very similar to a 3rd calender year or older. A calender year is from from the day it is born until the end of December then over night it becomes a 2nd calender year bird, and so on. This bird sat on a tall bush right of the hide. The heat haze wasn't that bad so I was able to zoom in to 60x. I showed a couple in the hide and the woman was over the moon to see one so close.The last 2 species was a Cuckoo heading south, probably done the business and it is time to leave our shores, and finally a Curlew flying over calling. Shortly before I was leaving the hide Phil and Terry entered, again we had a chat about what either of us had seen, then the time had come for me to leave, There was a Common Whitethroat sitting on the top of a bush just outside of the hide door so that was one more to add to the list. As I arrived at the car I saw Phil and Terry behind me on their final leg of the circuit back to the car park.
The other species seen from the centre to the hide and back was as follows: Hobby(2), Green Woodpecker, L/B/B/, G/B/B, and Common (in with the gulls lying on the shingle on the left as you head towards the centre), Reed Bunting, Magpie, W/Pigeon, Blue Tit, Great Tit.
I was going to have a look on the ARC Pit but decided against it, I did go to see what was showing from the road. We parked up at the far end by the sandy shallow. There was a good number of Teal along with some Pochard, 2 G/C/Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 3 Gadwall, 1 Lapwing, 1 Ringed Plover.
Total species seen: Greylag Geese, Canade Geese, G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Common Tern, Mute Swan, Cormorant, G/C/Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Magpie, C/Crow, W/Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, Reed Bunting, Common Whitethroat, Cuckoo, Linnet, H/Sparrow, Starling.
My Bird of the day was going to be the Cuckoo because it is the only one I have actually seen this year, but if fact it goes to the probably unexpected ** Carrion Crow, for showing such determination and effort in search for a meal and succeeding.**
A FEW FACTS ABOUT DUNGENESS:
It is the United Kingdom's only official desert:
There is about 600 species of plants.
The old name for Dungeness is Denge Naess, meaning Headland.
Romney was named after Rome by invading romans about 2,000 years ago.
The Pilot Inn is built using many parts from the wreck of the spanish ship Alfresia in1633.
Film director Derek Jarman decided to make his home here where he has created a very well known garden which is famously known as ** THE NUCLEAR GARDEN.**
* Cheers Phil for reminding me it is Derek not Peter, did I automatically do that because I know a Peter?? *