Monday, 21 December 2009

First blog from the new PC. And, moreover, the first Linux one. Wooooo! (let's see what goes wrong...)

The booksigning at Dungeness in mid-November was pretty quiet. I was extremely quiet as I was in the grip of a heavy cold, so cut a rather pathetic figure sitting at the desk surrounded by unwanted books and blowing my nose every few minutes. Luckily I was next to the big window so had the chance to scan the main pit for birds.

Before we went in, we had a quick look at the first hide and found two Peregrines. They didn't come very close but one put on a fine flying show while the other sat incongruously on one of the small shingle islands.

I saw several Marsh Harriers flying about at the back of Burrowes Pit, close to where they roost. None of them wanted to turn into a Hen Harrier, alas. On the water paddled numerous Coots with attendant Gadwalls. There were apparently a couple of Goldeneyes on the pit but they didn't come anywhere near where I was. A fast-moving dark falcon flickered past - not one of the Peregrines this time but a female Merlin on a mission.

While all this excitement was going on, Rob went off to the ARC hide in search of egrets (Great White and Cattle both there apparently), Bitterns and Penduline Tits but didn't have overwhelming success. He did photograph an egret but its yellow socks marked it out as a Little. I liked this pic of assorted gulls, most of them GBB.

He did get lucky in the end with a flying Bittern, not very close but nicely lit in the afternoon sunshine. It pitched down into the reeds after this and Rob took more photos but they show nothing but reeds :(

When my signing shift ended I called Rob who said he was in a field photographing Glossy Ibises. I hotfooted it down the driveway and spotted him stage left, pointing his camera at the two ibises which were stalking about beside a huge puddle. They looked like giant Curlews, decked out in deep bronzey plumage. They (like everything else today) weren't very close so no jaw-droppingly great photos but views through my bins were great - what brilliant birds. Here's one of them.