I thought it was about time I caught up on some winter birding, so where better to start than Dungeness RSPB reserve. Pam and I arrived at the visitors centre at about noon. The first hide I went to was the Scott Hide. I come to this hide mainly in the winter when a lot of the wildfowl seem to gather in this area. I have seen some of the scarcer winter visitors from this hide over the years
Once in the hide, there was a large gathering of duck near the bank, there was also a nice count of egrets around. Most of the duck was Shoveller. Mixed in with them was many of the usual species: Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Tufted, Gadwall, There is also a good number of Pintail and Wigeon here. The other regulars was G/C/Grebe, Dabchick, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Cormorant(it has been a while since I have seen so many gathered here, quite a few was loafing/resting in the tree's on the long island out in front) G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, B/H/Gull, Common Gull.
Then there was a couple of the not so common species that turn up most years, and they was 2(f) GOLDENEYE, and 1 BLACK NECKED GREBE.
Getting back to the egrets, while scanning over the whole area there was a 10 seen, 9 on the far shore line very close together. 4 LITTLE EGRET and 5 GREAT WHITE EGRET, and not to be left out 2 Grey Herons was a little further along.
The last 1 was hanging around in the tree's with the Cormorant's and that was a CATTLE EGRET. It stayed there for quite a while before it took to flight. It passed over the hide and headed towards Christmas Dell hide.
There was a lovely surprise to be seen just as I was about to pack up. I was doing one of my final scans over the water when I did what is called a double take. The reason...a male RUDDY DUCK. I thought I was seeing things at first, After the cull that was done here it was nice to see one again.
When I came out of the hide I walked a distance up the track to where some cattle was grazing in the flooded field on the left hoping to see the Cattle Egret, and I didn't have to wait long. I caught up with a couple of birders and they put me on to it, but no sooner had I eyed it up when another one flew in. It landed close to the other one, and then they made their way over to the far side of the field, following the cattle where the long grass was.
The skies was getting darker this meant getting over to the Hanson Hide, ARC pit. Once there most of the birds was in 3 large groups. Once again many of the species there was the same as over the road. It is nice to see a lot more wildfowl arriving. There was another 4 female Goldeneye along with 2 more great winter visitors, the first being 2 SLAVONIAN GREBE, and the other one is a redhead SMEW.
2 female Marsh Harrier scattered most of the birds with a few low fly overs, they also put up a GREAT WHITE EGRET.
It has been a long time since I have posted one of my 'Birds of the Day', and today I saw a lot of good species, but from the moment I saw it I knew that this bird was going to be the one, and that bird is the drake *** RUDDY DUCK.***
After leaving for home we went through Walland Marsh. It wasn't to see if there was any good birds about, although that would have been a bonus, it was because I wanted to see the wind turbine with the damaged rotor blade that had been bent in two when it was hit by lightning the other day at Little Cheyne Court (see link below for report and photo's)
We did see from one of the lanes, but to get a better view we turned left at the main road and headed towards, Rye where and got much better views. Below is a couple of my photo's.