Wednesday, 2 November 2011


The day started with a visit to the garden from two male Pheasants, they won't get shot there but the Fox might get them.

I knew that I would have a few hours to spare today, probably the last this week, so I drove down to Brooklands car park thinking I would spend them at the lakes. But a change of heart saw me driving back out and heading for Dungeness. I don't know why because I knew it was going to be windy down there again, and it was. These are some of the few brief highlights.

A couple of Tree Sparrows at the entrance to the reserve courtesy of the feeders at Boulderwall Farm. Burrowes pit was bearing the brunt of the wind and most birds were hunkered down on the islands with their heads tucked into their feathers, but a couple of Common Sandpipers carried on regardless around the margins.

A brief sunny spell spurred on a single Red Admiral who bravely battled southwards against the wind and two Darters, one of which is pictured above. When I took the picture I assumed Common Darter, but now i'm not so sure, could it be a Ruddy Darter?

With the sun still shining this Stonechat posed nicely, like they do. Another one was seen on the track back to the visitor centre. I stopped for a while in the Christmas Dell hide and saw.......a Coot. The area around the hide, often so good for Goldcrests and stuff was equally devoid of feathers with just a Cetti's Warbler making itself heard above the noisy wind. So it was onwards to Denge hide where dozens of Lapwings and Golden Plovers and hundreds of Starlings entertained me by frequently taking to the air in panic for no apparent reason except for maybe creating a superb spectacle against the still blue November sky. I tried to get a few pics but these birds aren't feather brained, we might call it a hide but they know we are in there and wisely keep their distance.

But the star of the show was this Spoonbill, what a fantastically bizarre bird it is, you'd see what I mean if the pictures were better but it was a long way off and this was the best I could do. At first it was on the left hand side of the lake as you look out of the hide, but it joined in with the geese during a panic attack of their own and came back down straight in front of the hide but still a good distance away.

The black wing tips and pale bill make it a juvenile bird I think but either way it was good to see
the 'spoon' in action, being swept side to side as it fed in the shallows.

The Hanson hide on the ARC site held no surprises, with Wigeon, Lapwing, Teal, three Little Egret, Gadwall, Little Grebe and Pintail being the main players. All in all not a bad visit with a total of 45 species in about three and a half hours.


Alan Pavey said...

Dunge is always worth a visit, you never know what might drop in :-)

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Perhaps next time you will get a less windy visit to Dunge , you have certainly been unlucky recently .
Re. your mature Darter , from the length of the abdomen , I would go for Common , just my opinion .
Worth the trip for the Spoonbill , and 45 species is very reasonable .
Hope this works this time , been having one hell of a job trying to comment .

Warren Baker said...

Never seen a Spoonbill Phil, maybe I should get out a bit more ;-)