Saturday, 2 April 2016

Firecrest-fest at Dunge

On Easter Sunday, Nick and I went to Dungeness, lured there by the promise of a whole lot of Firecrests. It was a bright (at first) but very blustery day. We kicked off at the obs and were soon seeing Firecrests aplenty, darting in and out of the scrub. We then went down to the lighthouse garden and saw a bunch more.

Here are two of at least six that were bouncing about on the lawn like tiny, colourful thrushes. This garden is very sheltered, so a good place for them to hang out while they wait for the wind to drop before making the sea crossing back home (presumably!). Getting pics was really difficult, which is why this pic is so rubbish.

We then walked down to the patch. On the way Nick found this lovely male Wheatear in the little vegetated strip between the path and the power station. It was very flighty...

... not helped by the fact that it was being harrassed by a couple of Pied Wagtails. Here's one of those, falling off the wall.

There wasn't a lot happening offshore. The patch was, as usual, gull-filled, but neither of us could pick out anything out of the ordinary.

The only other action was a series of skeins of Brent Geese going by. So we went back to the reserve.

The first few hides produced nothing in particular - the usual array of dabbling ducks, Cormorants busy nesting, that kind of thing. Then a hirundine came through - a Sand Martin.

It was Dengemarsh hide that proved the winner for us. On the very far bank there were a small group of Barnacle Geese among the Greylags.

Then three more Greylags flew in, except one of them wasn't a Greylag, it was a Tundra Bean Goose.

Nick asked me to look at a very distant white bird hunkered on the far bank behind a bush. I could see no useful details and thought it was probably a domestic Greylag. We left the hide, but Nick continued to wonder about this bird and we decided to go back and try for a clearer view from the other end of the hide. We could indeed see it a bit better from here, and after much staring and me taking dozens of photos of it, realised that in fact it was a Spoonbill, and we were glad we'd returned.

So with the Firecrests, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Barnacle and Bean Geese and Spoonbill, plus the Water Pipit and scoters from Rainham and the Woodlark from Broadwater Warren, the Easter weekend brought me nine year-ticks and advanced my list to 139. It brought Nick 10 year-ticks, because Chiffchaff was new for him (we heard them at all three places, but I forgot to mention them til now, and he's on 140. NOT that we are competing. Much.

Two last birds from the Dengemarsh hide - a lovely pristine Common Gull, and a Cormorant carrying nesting material. We were caught in torrential rain and hail on the walk back to the car, but we didn't really mind.

1 comment:

Phil said...

A very happy Easter indeed by the sound of it Marianne.