Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Dungeness 7th April

I got up at the crack of dawn today ( you may know it as 7 am) to get down to Dungeness for an appointment with some Penduline Tits. I parked in the ARC site car park and the first thing I heard as I got out of the car was a Sedge Warbler chattering away in the brambles, it's song a seemingly endless jumble of random phrases. I managed to see it quite well a couple of times but not well enough for a picture.


I went straight to the reed bed at the end of the Willow Trail for my meeting with said Pendulines and yes, you guessed it,they didn't turn up. That's about half a dozen times this has happened. I can feel a complex coming on.

So over to the main site and an immediate Black Redstart was compensation for my earlier failure. This was soon followed by one of seven sightings of Cetti's Warblers and many more heard, not sure if some of these would be birds returning from the continent, I think it's quite likely judging by the quantity on the reserve.


I bumped into the chap above and his partner running around among the gorse, they were very wary of me but really couldn't be bothered to fly, preferring to run a few paces and check if i'd disappeared. Quite handsome though and tasty too I believe.

There were two Wheatears close to Christmas Dell hide they didn't stay long and were gone with a flash of their rumps.


There were a lot of Linnet on the reserve today, more than i've seen before and some of the males had very bright crimson patches on the breast and forehead. I saw one of only two Marsh Harriers seen all day here. There were no other raptor sightings either, very disappointing.


Plenty of Wren activity, there seemed to be one singing around every corner. If you wonder how they manage to sing so loud, take a look at the one singing below, talk about giving it everything, it's tail's going to be on it's forehead in a minute.


The bees were also in abundance today, as the temperature steadily rose they became more active and one particular tree, I think it's a Willow, was full of them feeding on the catkins.



There were two Shelduck on the flooded meadow on the left of the footpath past Christmas Dell, they have occupied the same spot now for quite a few weeks. There was also a Little Egret there but no sign of the Great White today. I think the water table must be up across the reserve because the footpath is flooded again and the surplus water doesn't seem to be going away. A bit like my back garden, except it hasn't got any Shelducks unfortunately.


Always pleased to see the Bearded Tits, although this one was a bit of a loner, flying up and down the same piece of reedbed and pinging loudly. Luckily he decided to land on the top of the reeds on this occasion and I was able to get a half decent shot for a change.


These two were definitely a pair, she followed him around like they were joined at the hip and who can blame her, he's even got a hairy chest by the looks of it.


I nearly stepped on this grass snake while taking the Mallard picture, he was right on the lake edge and didn't hesitate to get in and swim completely submerged into some weeds before resurfacing and swimming to safety further along. If you look closely at the top picture you can just make out his tongue flicking out.



I spotted my first Peacock butterfly of the year along the Willow walk back over on the ARC site.

There wasn't much sun but it was sheltered here and the temperature was quite warm. In fact it was warm enough to tempt the Common Lizard pictured below, to sunbathe on the side of the boardwalk in the mostly flooded woods here. He looks flattened Greenie, is this the same behaviour as you described for the Adders, exposing more of their bodies to the heat?


A last look from the Hanson hide produced three female Goldeneye but not much else, so I settled for 48 species for the day and amused myself watching the bunnies for a while.


Greenie said...

Phil ,
Spot on with your thought on the Common Lizard . An early Grass Snake too , I haven't seen any yet and only heard of one sighting .
Somme good species and photographs too .
Shame about the Penduline Tits , I haven't seen them either .

Forest the Bear said...

Wowzers!!!!! Thats one hell off a day you had there Phil.

Great shots as always!!

alan woodcock said...

Hi Phil,nice photos,sorry you missed the Penduline Tits again.