The Tree Sparrows were in the overgrown garden of Boulderwall farmhouse at the entrance to the reserve. Always a nice way to start a Dungeness visit. The rest of the track was fairly uneventful save for the potholes and a few people scanning the large and distant goose flocks for a couple of Bean geese. I didn't stop for a gander, i'm not very good at geese, unless they had a large label on them i'd probably miss them anyway.
There was a Great White Egret on the far bank to the left of Dennis's hide, one of possibly four seen during the day. From the hide itself was just a flock of Tufties who took flight as a Marsh Harrier floated effortlessly past.
I moved on to Firth hide where I saw the three superb Goosanders pictured above and below. Soon after I was joined by another visitor; Alan Woodcock, a veteran of New Hythe lakes and the surrounding area. Visit Alan's blog for some proper Goosander shots by clicking here.
I stayed here for some time, entertained by the myriad of birds on and above Burrowes pit. These included female Goldeneye, hundreds of Shovelers, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pochard, Coot, Mallard, Pintail, Gt Crested Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Cormorants and Gulls and of course, my favourites the Goosanders. Later on I saw the unmistakeable shape of a Glossy Ibis flying over the lake.
There wasn't much to see on the walk around the rest of the reserve. Thankfully entertainment was provided by two pairs of Stonechats who, as always, were happy to strike a few poses. A few Cetti's and Wrens called half heartedly from the denser undergrowth and the odd Song Thrush was seen. From the ramp I saw three Bearded Tits very briefly as they flew low across the top of the reed bed and in the distance two males and a female Marsh Harrier looked great against the blue sky. A Kestrel was hunting as I walked back to the visitor centre and another or the same GW Egret glided overhead before landing in a nearby field.
I paid a visit to the ARC site to round off the day. Unsurprisingly the Willow Trail was closed due to flooding but I did manage to spot a Chiffchaff in the trees alongside the hide. I'm pretty sure there were two more GW Egrets here as well. From inside the hide I could see at least three Red-head Smew and another couple of Goldeneyes, one being a superb male. No sign of a Bittern unfortunately, but this Grey Heron looked pretty good as it fished in the vegetation to the left of the hide.