Monday, 28 November 2011


I didn't mean to go to Dungeness today, I left home with the intention of going to New Hythe. When I got to the traffic lights at the end of the road I suddenly thought no, i'll pop down to Reculver. So I went left instead of right and joined the M20 coastbound. When I got to the M2 exit I changed my mind again and sailed past towards Dungeness. I used to be indecisive.............. So, with my new, all singing, all dancing binoculars by my side, (please note Terry) I drove slowly along the entrance track towards the visitor centre. The first bird I saw, apart from a Magpie, was the leucistic Grey Heron (below) fishing alongside one of the small pools on the right.............

.........or is it a Great White Egret, one of two on the site at the moment............................

...........or maybe a Great White Cockatoo?? Or maybe there's only one Great White Egret and the other one is the leucistic Heron. Answers on a postcard please.

Keeping with the Egret theme, this one was opposite Scott hide. I watched it for a while as it fished, not too successfully in the gloomy half light.

It peered intently into the water at times, almost as if it was admiring it's own reflection. And who could blame it, what a handsome chap.

It did catch a few very small tiddlers, as in the picture above. Left click it for a bigger image, but the fish will still be a tiddler.

Then a Cormorant came to it's aid, swimming energetically, just below the surface in the shallow water and eventually ending up alongside the Egret and driving some fish in front of it.

The two of them soon became fishing friends, the Egret shadowing the Cormorant wherever it went. The fish presumably breathing a sigh of relief after escaping the Cormorant, only to be mopped up by the eager Egret. What a good team, i've never seen that before.

After a while the Cormorant went his own way but continued to fish the shallows, picking up a few more tiddlers, one of which is in it's beak in the picture above. Again, a left click will help.

Pictured below and a little further away was another fisherman, a Grey Heron. This time at least, I can be sure of it's identity.

Little brown jobs were at a premium, with just the Chaffinch below, a wren, a calling Cetti's Warbler, a single Dunnock, a Goldcrest and a couple of Great and a couple of Blue Tits. I did hear and get the briefest of glimpses of a Bearded Tit from Christmas Dell hide though.

I called into Denge Marsh hide where fellow blogger Ken Browne was already in residence. We sat and watched the arrival of maybe a few hundred Greylag and Canada Geese as they flew in from the surrounding fields probably. I spent a bit of time sifting through them and managed to find a single Pink Footed Goose, it's provenance confirmed with the aid of Ken's scope.

I met up with Ken a bit later over on the ARC hide, where he was occupying the best seat in the Hanson hide. Disappointingly there was no sign of the recent Long-tailed Duck, but several female and one male Goldeneye, a couple of Pintails and about ten Shelducks were on show along with three lovely Bewick Swans and two Kingfishers. Four hours, 47 different species, a fishing lesson and a bit of a mystery. Good old Dungeness.


Mike Attwood said...

Being indecisive is not always a bad thing Phil.

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
I enjoyed your company today. Nice to have a chin wag with you, been a while.
Also it's always better with extra pairs of eyes to find the unexpected.
You got some good photo's today, certainly better than the few I took.

Bob Bushell said...

You must have had a good day, Great white Egret to the Berwick's Swans. Brilliant photos.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
It's a good job you don't live just off Spaghetti Junction , you'd never get anywhere .
Haven't got any postcards , but I'm going for Great White Cockatoo .
Well done spotting the single Pink-footed , and nice Greylags shot . said...

A really good birding day , the bewicks swans a rare bird for me.......and good picture of the egret and the cormorant together!

Warren Baker said...

New bins Phil, must be getting serious now :-) Good read today, as ever, cheers mate!