Friday, 18 November 2016


 I suppose the star bird at Dungeness on Wednesday was the drake Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris), currently entertaining the crowds from the small lake just past Boulderwall farm. I believe this is a North American vagrant and at first glance could be mistaken for its cousin the Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula). The drake tuftie on the left of the picture, scratching his head, is clearly confused. Closer inspection though reveals the white ring on its bill, the grey flanks and the lack of a tuft.

 Cattle Egret and Great White Egret (now surely a Dungeness speciality) provided the support cast close by, but most of the assembled optics only had eyes for the duck. 

 From Firth hide, Black-tailed Godwits and all the usual suspects were paddling, dabbling or diving, including more Cormorants than you could shake a stick at. Surely Burrowes lake can't sustain this level of over fishing too much longer. I blame Brexit. 

 I paid a quick visit to Hanson hide on the ARC pit before leaving. The empty car park was a clue to the lack of activity here but the Lapwings looked great en masse when spooked by a Marsh Harrier.

If you look closely you can just make out the culprit hovering suspiciously in the background.

And so to New Hythe today, where this Little Egret fished with ruthless efficiency in the small stream that runs out of the creek adjacent to bucket wood and into the tidal River Medway.

Talking of bucket wood, i'm sad to report that the bucket which gave the wood its name is no more. After many years of providing a welcome seat to weary birders it has gone. Was it picked up by a particularly high tide and carried downstream? Or was it an act of thoughtless vandalism? The outcome is the same either way. It's kicked the bucket. 

And finally, this is a long distance shot of the oddly plumaged Lapwing which has been regularly seen along this stretch of river for the last couple of years. 

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