Fallow Stag, Knowle Park.

Fallow Stag, Knowle Park.

Monday, 28 April 2014

** Dungeness RSPB Reserve,with some icing on the cake, and some more.**

After regularly reading about the good birds that have been seen at Dungeness I thought it would be nice to visit today. The weather was ideal, nice sunshine virtually no wind. Pam and I arrived at about 10:30. I called into the centre to see what has been see, hoping that Mary would be able to tell me  that the Black Winged Stilts had had been seen, but she told me that nobody has been in and reported them. Knowing that they have always been seen in the fields behind Christmas Dell Hide. I made my way there with fingers crossed. En-route to the hide a CETTI'S WARBLER  made it's presence known, and  BEARDED TIT'S was pinging in the reeds.
Once there I scanned around with another birder. They wasn't showing from this area, but while there we both saw the same bird fly across the field at the far side, it was a CUCKOO. It landed on one of the fence posts and started calling. We carried on scanning as we went (it is a big area) and a beautiful WHINCHAT started singing from  the top of some large scub.
I could see other birders quite a way away, so putting my best forward I carried on. As usual around the Denge marsh Hide area I counted 7 COMMON WHITETHROATS flitting about. A couple of guys with huge len's on their camera's which looked more like rocket launchers told me that the Stilts was just a short distance away, hearing that was like music to my ears. As I arrived at the site where some other birders was at, I said to myself "I have made it". It was a trek but it was worth it to see the 2 BLACK WINGED STILTS. Scoping them up gave good views of them, the male that was showing more than the female, she was behind a tuft of grass.
It has been a long time since my last sighting of one but today it was worth the walk. During to time watching the Stilts a fellow birder arrived, Mike Hook, good to see you again.
On my way back I paused to see a distant PEREGRINE FALCON  plus the COMMON TERNS that are nesting on the rafts out in front on Denge Marsh Hide. From here all the way to the ARC pit wherever there was reeds I was accompanied by  REED SEDGE WARBLERS and Marsh Frogs in the ditches.
Before going into the Hanson Hide Pam and I sat and had our lunch.
As I neared the hide a male STONECHAT, perched up high looked very dapper with the sun on him.
I took up residence in 'KEN'S CORNER' and began watching the Terns. There has been Black Terns feeding here with the commons over the past few days, but all I could see was the latter. After a while it started to get cold in the hide so it was a matter of see what else I could find and then return to the car. The other birds seen was a pair of Coots nest building in the reeds close to the hide, a male MARSH HARRIER doing what harriers do, a couple of SWALLOWS flying over, and 3 pairs of Oystercatchers piping. The rest  of the birds was the regular species which can be seen virtually all around the reserve: G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Little Egrets(in good numbers) Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall Teal, Dabchick, G/C/Grebe, Cormorant, Lapwing, C/crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit,

Now normally at this point I would be adding my * Bird of the Day*  but today is different. Below is the reason why.
When Pam and I left the arc car park we saw this. I thought at first I was seeing things but I quickly told Pam and she was as surprised as I was, a **BADGER** Not only is it the first time I have seen one alive but it took me aback to see one out in the afternoon. I quickly grabbed the camera  and fired off a couple of shots,  this is about as good as it gets. but for me, it's a record shot. They was taken at 3.20pm.
This is my ** Creature of the Day.**  
Although I was excited to see it I couldn't help but to notice  a large bald patch at the top of it's hind leg, as visible in the picture. Thinking that it might be ill/hurt etc I decided to look up "Badgers venturing out in daylight", and this is what I found.
If you see a badger out in daylight or around buildings a lot, especially farm buildings, it’s likely it is old or ill and struggling to find food. It’s best to keep away as they can be vicious animals when they feel threatened, even more so when if they are not in good health.
I also read several reports that they have been known to show during the day even when they are healthy.

In my Blue Tit box I have a very busy pair of parents. They have been feeding all day, every day now for nearly 2 weeks. They are bringing in some pretty hefty caterpillars at times. I have Tit's nest in the box every year, but I have never had them with young this early before.  *Must keep a eye on the hole*


  1. Hi Ken it was good to see you again today speeding along on those sticks of yours. Whilst i did not see the Whinchat I did manage a Hobby high over Dengemarsh hide. Just to confirm you were not seeing things I also managed to get a few shots of the Badger around 2.45 just like you I was totally surprised to see one in broad daylight . Was it a juvenile as it didn't seem very large?

  2. Ken ,
    Sounds like a brilliant Dunge day with some great species seen .
    Re. the BWStilts , can you imagine the sight with 10/11 birds present when they first arrived ?
    Re. the Badger , a juvenile has been seen around mid afternoon recently , see postings from Ploddingbirder 19th,20thand 21st.April , link on my side bar .
    Well done with all your sightings on the day .

  3. Ken ,
    Forgot to mention , the BWSs were seen to mate on Sunday evening (also on Ploddingbirder ) , so they might even nest there .

  4. Ken you must have had a brilliant day,going by your enormous list,and seeing a badger so early in daylight.
    Stay well,keep birding.

  5. Hi Ken, In the right place it is not that unusual to see a badger in daylight especially if its having difficulty finding enough food for its young. I knew of one sett in Wales where we used to go in the afternoons to watch them. Nice blog.

  6. Mike.
    Glad I wasn't the only one to see it, well done with the Hobby.

    It would have been great to have seen a higher number but I am happy with 2. I accidently left out the bit about the B/W/S mating so I will add it to my posting. Thanks for the info about the Badger.

    JR &Sue.
    Thanks for that. Right place at the right time.

    Cheers Mike. Watching a sett in the afternoon must be quite something

  7. Nice photos, and your header is captivating!

  8. Sounds like a great Dungie day Ken. Would like to see the BW Stilts, not sure if they're still around.
    Strange to see the Badger in daylight, only seen it once, that was in the Lake District some years ago.

  9. Phil.
    If you get the chance go and try to see them, well worth it.