Saturday 2 January 2010

New year starts well !!!!!!!!!!

View from Scott Hide.

Well plans to head off to Dungeness Rspb reserve to start the new year proved to be a really good day out, travelling through snow to get there produced hundreds of both Redwing and Fieldfare between Ashford and Lydd , almost every bush held tons of thrushes , and on the approach road to Dungeness from Lydd i noticed a medium sized raptor sitting in a field so instantly i checked it out and it turned out to be a very obliging Common Buzzard , i reported into the visitors center to find out what was about and the news wasn't overwhelming but not bad either.

So i headed of to the Makepeace hide and straight away i saw hundreds of Wigeon and Teal plus lesser numbers of Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler ,Tufted and Pochard, i also saw 1 male Pintail , 2 female Goldeneye and 3 male & 3 female Ruddy ducks , so pleased with this i continued my track around the reserve and onto the Scott hide and almost as soon as i sat down and set up my scope i found one of my target birds in the form of an elegant drake Smew, simply stunning , god i wish i had a decent camera my pathetic thing ( camera that is ... ) is useless and couldn't catch a cold let alone a good picture !! Anyhow i watched this wonderful sawbill for quite awhile picking off one or two year ticks as i went such as : Dunnock , Common , Herring and Black-Headed Gull .

My next stop was the Denge Marsh hide where 2 species of  scarce winter grebes had been reported , once again after setting up my scope and doing a rather to quick a scan of the pool all i picked up were Little and Great Crested Grebes which were both year ticks i might add, then after a more controlled scan i eventually came across a smallish black and white looking grebe which of course decided to play hide and seek and dived out of sight straight away,  ( my god cant they hold their breaths for along time ) or at least it seems like that when you want to see them, anyhow it decided to surface and to my delight it was an adult winter Black Necked Grebe  , steep forehead , darkish below the eye being two distinct features, and soon after looking at this bird another adult winter Black-Necked  Grebe appeared, their had been Slavonian Grebe reported here to but alas my luck run out with that one , however other birds of note from here were Marsh Harrier , Green Woodpecker , Bearded Tit several hundred Lapwing, Golden Plover and 3 Kestrels.

So very pleased with this i decided to call into Grove Ferry on the way home .
on entering the reserve i saw A flock of 6 Long Tailed Tits , plus Great Tit , Blue Tit , Goldfinch, Greenfinch and several House Sparrows on the feeders , from " the ramp " it was very quite only 2 Redshank and 100 Greylag Geese were new for the year, i did see Marsh Harrier and another Kestrel for my troubles and after an hour of freezing to death i decided to head home as the light was fading , on the way back to the car i saw a Sparrowhawk and a Woodcock flew overhead plus i  heard a Water Rail which brought the days birding to a very nice end.

The above picture was taken by me and is the view from the Scott hide at Dungeness
and believe it not one of the tiny ducks is a male Smew .