Sunday, 28 February 2010

Dungeness RSPB & ARC pits

A trip to Dungeness was the order of the day , my instincts were telling me to head straight down for a sea watch but the weather was awful , standing in heavy rain was not a good idea as i am still getting over an illness , however i wish i had now as some really good sea birds were seen .

Still i had a good day on the reserve and arc pits , started of with a Smew from the Makepeace hide , plenty of gulls and Cormorants but not alot else to be honest , so i headed of to the Denge marsh hide in the hope of catching up with Slavonian Grebe which i missed earlier this year, and within a couple of minutes of scanning there right in front of the hide was a Slavonian Grebe ( year tick 108 ) .

Slavonian Grebe.

Really pleased with my view of this wintering grebe i continued to look through the rest of the wildfowl on offer , lots of the more regular ducks you would expect to see plus 11 Ruddy Ducks  and i noticed alot of " grey geese " in the fields behind the pool , scanning through these produced my 2nd year tick of the day , a superb 5 White-Fronted Geese ( year tick 109 ) , whilst watching these everything took to the air , there was a raptor about and then a really close view of a Peregrine ( year tick 110 ) darting across the pool right in front of the hide was brilliant , unfortunately i was to slow with my camera to get a picture , i added another Slavonian grebe and Curlew, Oystercatcher and Lapwing were also added from this hide before i decided to dodge the showers and head back to the visitor center.

 On my way back i was keeping an eye out for Tree Sparrow but i had no luck with those today, however i did get a prolonged view of a Bittern flying over the reed bed , that's 3 bitterns i have seen this year, quite remarkable considering i normally struggle to see one a year , once back at the car park a quick scan of the feeders produced 4 Great Tits, 2 Blue Tits, 2 Reed Buntings and  Chaffinch, oh i also heard Green Woodpecker .

I then made my way over to the Hanson Hide which overlooks the Arc pits , never been to this hide before and it does give you a good view over this extensive gravel pit , on entering the hide i heard a Cettis Warbler ( year tick 111 ) and shortly after setting up the scope i was on yet another Smew and managed a photo also i took this pic of some Shoveler in flight .


Shoveler in flight .

I added my third Slavonian Grebe of the day here, plus 5 male Goldeneyes and 10 females, a total of 3 redhead Smew , 100 + Gadwall and a very showy wintering  Chiffchaff ( year tick 112 ) , of interest i was told there was 2 female Scaup seen here earlier and after spending quite abit of time looking and checking everything there was no sign of them, however there were at least 2 female Tufted ducks with an awful lot of white around the base of there bills but they clearly had tufts on there heads, i am not saying the birder who told me about the Scaup was mistaken but it had me wondering ?? well that was about it for Dungeness today although i still had time to add one more year tick to my list on the way home in the form of a Grey Partridge ( year tick 113 ) .

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