This is my first day is my first proper day birding of the year, so I decided on Walland Marsh, and Dungeness RSPB reserve plus a trip down Denge Marsh Rd to see if the Cattle Egret was showing.
It was a lot of running around for Pam, but she was happy to do it in the hope I might see some of the decent birds that are around at the moment. We left home in the rain, and it didn't stop raining until we go to Dungeness.
We started off at Walland Marsh seeing all the usual/commoner species. We stopped off at the house with the feeders in the garden to see the TREE SPARROWS. I counted 8. After moving on I spotted a COMMON BUZZARD sitting on a post in the distance, and another one was seen about 400/500 yards further on. After having a good look at the first Buzzard we moved taking it easy in the hope of finding the Bewicks, and knowing that there was a good number of them it didn't take me to long to find the BEWICK SWANS. I counted 86, but after having a good scan I was not able to find the Whooper Swan that has been seen with them, but I was compensated by seeing the BEAN GOOSE that has been in the vicinity. I was not able to see if it was a tundra or taiga, so if anyone can tell me I would be grateful.
The total species seen en route to Lydd is as follows: Mute Swan, Bewick Swan, Bean Goose, Common Buzzard, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Pheasant, Moorhen, B/H/Gull, Herring Gull, C/Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, W?Pigeon, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Robin, Blackbird.
The rain hadn't eased off when we got to Lydd and I wanted to pop along to Scotney Pits to see what was showing, but by the time we got there it started raining harder, so it was birding from the car. I was not able to find any of the Emperor, or Barnacle Geese, all I was seeing was what you would expect to see, so not staying long it was off to Denge Marsh Rd to look for the egrets. I knew where to look because Alan Woodcock went there recently and he told me where to go. No sooner had I arrived and there they was, the 2 CATTLE EGRET. They was in with the cattle that was feeding, it was a wonder they didn't get trodden on. I did get some good views of them, albeit brief. There was also 2 Littte Egrets in the field with them.
From here it was on to Dungeness reserve. This was at about 1pm-1.15pm, and the rain had finally stopped, virtually no wind, but cloudy.
Now I have been to some reserves that have got bad approach tracks, but this one takes some beating. It has been pretty bad over previous years but this is bad, put it this way, I will not be going thee again until their track has been repaired.
Anyway back to the birds, There wasn't much on the notice board so I made Scott Hide my first stop. The first thing that I saw was Cormorants, dozens of them, many resting up in the trees on the island straight out in front of the hide. A couple of redhead SMEW was swimming in and out of the tree's to the right, 2 female GOLDENEYE was mixed in with the other wildfowl, A GREAT WHITE EGRET flew over head, and myself and another birder watched a Coot diving and catching fish, a first for me. Apart from the Smew and Goldeneye there wasn't anything out of the ordinary to write about. As we drove back to the centre a female Marsh Harrier passed over head.
Once again we had to take on the track that would give a 4x4 a run for it's money so that we could get to the ARC pits.
I was shocked when I entered the hide, I wasn't able to sit in 'Ken's Corner', still not the end of the world. plus the sun was now shining, about time to.
Coming over here was the place to be, I ended up seeing some good birds. GOLDENEYE(2m,4f)
RUDDY DUCKS(1m,2f) SMEW(3F) GOOSANDER(2F) GREAT WHITE EGRET(2) A BITTERN flew out from the reeds, far to the left, across the water and out of sight. Then shortly before I was leaving, there was just one other person in the hide at this time we was both treated to a male KINGFISHER putting on a show. It flew in from left to right and sat in one of the overhanging tree's not far from the hide. It watched the water from the upper branches, dived and brought it's catch up to the lower branches to feed.
As this happened shortly before I was going you could say that this was the icing on the cake.
The species seen on the reserve though out my visit was as follows: G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Coot, Moorhen, G/C/Grebe, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Little Egret, G/W/Egret, Grey Heron, Bittern, Shoveller, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Pochard, Wigeon, Pintail, Tufted Duck Goldeneye, Smew, Ruddy Duck, Goosander, C/Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Great Tit, Blue Tit, L/T/Tit, Kingfisher.
My "Bird of the Day" is ** The KINGFISHER.**