Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Dungeness 2nd March

There's something about Dungeness, it has an atmosphere. It also has a nuclear power station and is surrounded by monstrous pylons and power cables and a wind farm, but even these don't quite manage to spoil the scene and the wildlife doesn't seem to mind. I like the transient nature of a lot of the birdlife here, I know this is how it is in general with so many species following migration patterns to, from and within the UK but Dungeness, because of it's geographical location highlights this and I always feel that something different can and does seem to turn up whenever I go there.

Yesterday was no exception, Alan and I arrived late due to an accident which closed the A2070 Brenzett road but at least the sun was shining. The Reed Buntings are still present on the feeders in the car park and indeed were present and singing all around the reserve.


The first of four Grebe species was soon seen in the shape of a Slavonian Grebe which has been present on the New Excavations for a while now. Soon after this I noticed an Egret flying in from the North, we both watched it getting closer and then Alan realised it had a yellow bill, it was also evident as it drew level with us that it was considerably bigger than a Little Egret and was in fact a Great White. This was confirmed later when it was reported to have landed on the ARC pit over the road.


While sitting in the Christmas Dell hide watching a Redhead Smew and looking, without success for the male, Alan noticed a couple of raptors circling quite high to the south which turned out to be a pair of Peregrines which we saw again directly over us while eating lunch on the small mound over the reedbeds. While here we also saw two different Bitterns, one of which flew directly in front of us at eye level before gliding into the reeds, this one was also calling quite loudly as it flew sounding a bit like a Grey Heron to me. Cetti's Warbler and Bearded Tit made fleeting appearances here and some White Fronted Geese were present among the Greylags in a distant field along with a very large Brown Hare and a Marsh Harrier hunting around the reed beds.


We added Red Legged Partridge, Kestrel, Stonechat and Little Egret before returning to Denge Marsh hide where we saw Black Necked, Great Crested and Little Grebe to make up the quartet. The return path to the Visitor Centre was impassable due to flooding so we retraced our steps to the carpark adding Chiffchaff and good views of a pair of Firecrests in bushes alongside the footpath, frustratingly I couldn't get a photo due to the density of the undergrowth and the fact that the little varmints wouldn't stay still for a nano second!


Last stop was the ARC Hanson hide where we saw Oystercatchers from the footpath approaching the hide, Shelduck and a pair of Goldeneye, among the usual assorted Ducks. We ended the day with 54 species and once again Dungeness had turned up a couple of really nice surprises.



Warren Baker said...

Dunge is one of my favorite reserves Phil. I don't go there enough!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
You got one more species than I got on Monday , but nine species that I didn't get .
A couple of good days .

alan woodcock said...

Hi Phil,sounds like a good day was had by all.

Forest the Bear said...

4 Grebe species in one day Phil......I am struggling to find more than one!