Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dungeness .....RSPB , ARC and Fishing Boats.

2 male and 1 female Shoveler.

One of the best sites in Kent in winter in my opinion is Dungeness , it has a mixture of most species and winter ducks are normally its specialty , although this winter is so far very mild there were plenty of winter ducks around just you had to work abit harder to find them , i no sooner reported into the RSPB visitor centre , where i had a close view of some fly by Shovelers , when i then bumped into Chidders and Adam , we teamed up and then headed off to check the Makepeice hide , this didn't produce much other than the expected ducks although there were good numbers of Pintail and Eurasian Wigeon with a scattering of Goldeneye mixed in , we decided to head off to the Arc Pits where Chidders and Adam had seen some good birds earlier , we started off looking from Hanson hide but yet again it seemed fairly quite and little was seen from here , although there were good numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover plus we had just missed a Peregrine fly through  although a smart Sparrowhawk sat in a nearby bush was a good alternative , smashing bird to see . 

We then headed off to view the ARC pits from the road and were instantly rewarded with some cracking views of two Great White Egrets , i cant remember ever having seen two birds together in the UK before and from what i can gather there is a third bird here as well .

One of the Great White Egrets in flight.

Really enjoyed looking at these Egrets , there were plenty of Little Egrets around plus several Grey Herons were dotted about , at one time there were Great White Egret , Little Egret and Grey Heron in the same scope view and it was good to be able to see the size differences . 

Great White Egret .

We checked out the rest of the ARC pit hoping to connect with Smew  and after a short while we were soon onto a stunning male Smew and 4 Redheads which were hiding away up a small channel , excellent birds to see , there was another Redhead showing distantly on the other side of the road , Chidders had to head off home so after saying are goodbyes Adam and myself decided to head of to the Fishing boats for the gull roost , we were just about to go when another birder came along wanting to see the Smew , we tried to put him onto them but as luck would have it they had gone out of sight , Adam then got onto a Kingfisher which landed briefly in a nearby bush , having checked my records i have seen them in the Dungeness area before but not that many so this was a very welcome bird to see.


After arriving at the Fishing boats we walked to the sea and had some really great views of Kittiwakes which seemed to be zipping about everywhere , there were impressive numbers of  Guillemots and Razorbills both on the sea and flying by with several birds in full summer plumage !!! 

There were several Great Crested Grebes on the sea but no sign of our target birds , we walked along the shore line checking the gulls as we went then decided to head back further inland to check out the gull roosts and after a quick scan Adam picked out the 2w Glaucous Gull at the back of the roost , smart !!

 Glaucous Gull , sure there is a funny caption that could go with this photo

Glaucous Gull going for a walk.

After a good amount of time here we headed back to the RSPB reserve to try for the Long Tailed Duck  a quick stop at Boulderwood farm produced a healthy flock of 20 + Tree Sparrows .

2 Tree Sparrows.

Then after a short scan from behind the Dennis hide we were soon on to the Long Tailed Duck which was a little to distant for a photo .