*** First of all I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.**
( I will try and catch up with your blogs as soon as possible )
It has been a long time since I have been out and about so Pam and I decided to head for Dungeness RSPB Reserve. The weather en route was heavy rain, but when we got to J9 on the M20 it was the complete opposite, dry roads and sunshine. The trip there was via Walland Marsh. I was expecting the road to be a bit muddy but it was not.
I had already got my year list of to a start with birds seen in Halling, which I will list at the bottom, beneath this blog.
Many of the species seen today was already on the list, so it was now a matter of adding as many as possible. All species seen on the marsh will be listed at the end. I am only going to write about what I take to be the better species. First stop was to see the TREE SPARROWS on the feeders where they are always seen.
Moving on scanning the sodden fields looking for something different paid of, one of the fields that was full of corvids, mainly Rooks had some different birds feeding at the edge of a flooded area, they was FIELDFARE, I counted 11. It was then a matter of scanning the fields looking for the Bewick swans that had been seen. I did put out a email on the firstname.lastname@example.org to see if I could get a idea as to where they had been seen, I did get a reply so we made my way there. When we got to a T junction it was a matter of left or right, we went left because there was some swans visible at the far end of the field. As we got nearer it was obvious that it was the BEWICK SWANS due to the amount. After parking up it was out with the scope and then I started to have a count, my estimation was circa 38, made all the better with the sunshine on them. We left here and headed for Scotney Pits.
The total species seen on Walland Marsh was: H/Gull, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Mallard, Pheasant, Moorhen, C/Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Mute Swan, Bewick Swan, H/Sparrow, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird.
SCOTNEY GRAVEL PITS: As we neared Scotney Pits the wind got up and the sun went in. I had intended to get my scope out but due to the weather that was a no no. Most of the birds was in or heading for the small bays. I had hoped to look for the Long Tailed Duck that had been reported but I soon forgot about that. Most of the wildfowl was the same as seen at Dungeness reserve. There was a huge number of Coots out of the water, my estimate was about 40+. Just before we left I noticed a gaggle of geese grazing, there was three species , the first was a couple of Canada Geese, the second was one that I have seen there before but in smaller numbers, they was BARNACLE GEESE, circa 39. Mixed in with them was 5 EMPEROR GEESE. I was lucky to see them because while I was counted the Barnacle's they took to the air, where they came from, god knows but it was nice to see them.
DUNGENESS RSPB RESERVE: as pulled into the car park it was obvious that people had had second thoughts about going out due to the weather, because the car park was virtually empty. I called into the centre to see what had been reported. there was a few good species about so they was the ones on my hit list. My first port of call was the Makepiece Hide. I didn't have to wait long too see the one of the species I wanted to see, the bird in question was 3 male and 1 GOOSANDER. They was quite close, but not close enough for my camera.They made their was down towards Firth Hide. Just as I was about to leave when a huge skein of Greylag Geese, circa 117, came from the far side of the reserve and landed in the middle of Burrows Pit.
I was the only person in both the Makepeace, and Firth hides, and as we entered the car park there was only 6 cars there, 1 was the reserves motor, 2 was volunteers cars, and the other and as for the other 3, well ??
The sun was now shining, even though it was still windy. My final stop was the ARC pit, Hanson Hide. As we pulled into this car park, we was alone. It seemed as if I had the whole reserve to myself today, I met no body and saw anybody. In the hide I sat in what some know as Ken's Corner. As expected the islands are well under water. After about 30 minutes the sun was shining brightly and water was calm, the wind had dropped. The water in front of the hide windows was high and there was Coots and Tufted Duck so close, and trust me I left the camera in the car. if I had brought it I would have been able to take some shots of one particular Coot taking a fancy to a Bulrush/Reed Mace. It kept coming over to it, eyeing it up then pecking at the bottom of it trying to shake off some of the last remaining seed tops, it was quite successful, then it did something that I found amusing, it eyed it up again stood below it and jumped out of the water and grabbed some that way.
After a good scan around I spotted my favourite duck, SMEW, albeit redheads (3) not the beautiful drake which I love, to me looks like a white porcelain figure that has been dropped and stuck back together with a couple of bits missing, does that sound weird, no not to me. There was a good number of Goldeneye's around, I counted 4 male, 8 female. A female Marsh Harrier made a few sorties across the pit which drove most of the wildfowl into the far edges of the water. I decided to call it a day, and a good one at that, but just as I stood up a GREAT WHITE EGRET made a appearance out of the reeds on the far side.
Hopefully that will give me the incentive to try and get out a bit more often, after all I love winter birding.
Total species seen at Dungeness today was as follows: G/B/B/Gull...L/B/B/Gull...Herring Gull...Common Gull...B/H/Gull...G/C/Grebe...Great White Egret...Greylags...Mallard...Gadwall...
Coot...Moorhen...Mute Swan...Cormorant...Kestrel...Marsh Harrier...C/Crow...Jackdaw...Magpie...
My Bird of the day is the dainty ** SMEW.**
HALLING YEAR LIST TO DATE:
Little Egret...Dabchick...Mallard...Teal...Cormorant...Common Sandpiper...Lapwing...Blue Tit...Great Tit...Goldfinch...Greenfinch...Chaffinch...Starling...Robin...Blackbird...Dunnock...W/Pigeon...C/Dove...B/H/Gull...Common Gull...Herring Gull...C/Crow...Magpie...Common Buzzard...Great Spotted Woodpecker...h/Sparrow...L/T/Tit...Mistle Thrush...Moorhen...Pheasant...Pied Wagtail...Reed Bunting.
My year list so far stands at 57