Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Because the weather forecast is rubbish for the rest of the week I decided to get a quick visit to Dungeness in today. As I drove up the entrance track I noticed a couple of people in cars parked opposite the pools on the right. It turned out they were trying to find a Glossy Ibis of all things that had been spotted yesterday. We eventually found the bird in a poolside reedbed and had good but distant views for about two minutes before it suddenly decided to fly off towards the ARC pit. I had my camera with me but still in it's case and by the time i'd got it out and switched it on the Ibis was disappearing fast. I did manage to fire a couple of quick distant shots of very dubious quality, but at least it shows the salient points, downcurved beak, trailing legs etc.

While searching for the Ibis I spotted a Bittern flying past, the first of three seen today. I noticed the second one (below) standing on the edge of a reedbed on the far bank of the lake just outside the entrance to Scott hide. There were four people in the hide, who came out to have a look and one of them turned out to be Bo Beolens of Kent Birders forum and inventor of the 'Fatbirder Top 1000 Birding Websites' counter. Very nice to meet you Bo! The third Bittern seen flew across the front of Christmas Dell hide and landed in the reeds to the right.

Just opposite Christmas hide is a clump of tangled undergrowth and it was here that I found a Goldcrest and immediately afterwards a Firecrest. I stood there for ages in the biting wind waiting for an opportunity to record the sighting and eventually got my chance when it emerged again for about a couple of seconds, just long enough for the record shot below. This is only my third sighting of these little birds, I hope i've got the ID right!

Other species seen today included about half a dozen Marsh Harriers across the site and a Kestrel opposite Boulderwall Farm. A Black-necked Grebe and Red-head Smew, seen from the comfort of the visitor centre. A Goosander which flew in front of Makepeace hide and landed in front of Scott hide. At least six Pintails and a couple of Cetti's Warblers. Oh, nearly forget, about a hundred thousand Wigeon, well a couple of thousand probably, but it seemed like a lot more!

In all 44 species, it probably would have been more if i'd had time to visit the ARC site. But all things considered I think Dungeness RSPB came up trumps again.


Warren Baker said...

That Firecrest photo is on a par with my attempts ! They dont stay still for long do they Phil!!

Adam said...

Hi Phil - yep your ID was right on the Firecrest and that pic of Glossy Ibis is a hell of a lot better than mine! Well done!


Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Nice record shot of the Firecrest, also a good record shot of the Ibis. Like you say, and I agree with you, Dunge always comes up trumps.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
You sure you didn't take that Bittern down with you ?
I was going to say that you were getting into 'Adam territory' with that Glossy Ibis shot , but I see he has already praised it .
I'd be well happy with that Firecrest shot , well done indeed .
See you still can't help yourself exagerating!
Good job you got out yesterday , these two days look like washouts .

Paul said...

Hi Phil, some nice photos from you as usual mate, and it seems you and Bittern's go hand in hand.

Bob Bushell said...

I think the Bittern is in love you mate.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Phil,

Just working out how to find people, I'm glad I found your blog, looks like you had a good day.

All the best


Chris said...

Hi Phil,
You got a nice day even if the weather is still winter-like... The firecrest are so hard to get pictures of! Cool you got a snack ;-) 44 species, man, I'll have to wait to see that number in one day, for quite few more months ;-)

Simon said...

Some brilliant birds Phil!! I tried last year about 6 times for the Glossy Ibis at Dunge...and failed on each attempt!