Feb 012017

On Saturday thirteen of us met at the Old Lighthouse for our usual visit to the “patch” and Dungeness reserve. The weather was overcast and, although the temperature had gone up by a few degrees, it still felt very cold with a stronger wind than of late. We made our way out onto the beach where there were the usual herring and black headed gulls in profusion. Further out we could see lines of auks flying low over the water, the consensus being that they were more likely to be guillemonts than razorbills. John spotted a gannet much further out, and some of the group were lucky to see a lone eider.

Wondering why the gulls seemed to be taking to the air en masse, we then saw a great skua calmly bobbing up and down on the waves.

Deciding against trying to find a black redstart, we drove to the fishing huts in the hope that the rest of us might see the eider, as when first seen it appeared to be moving in that general direction. Alas no eider, but more guillemots, lesser and greater black backed gulls, a single turnstone, and kittiwake which were spotted by Malcolm.

By now it was midday and stomachs were rumbling, so it was off to the reserve for lunch. Some of the group stopped at Boulderwall Farm to see the tree sparrows, while a few of us went to the visitor centre where it was much warmer. From there we had a grey plover sharing one of the very small island with a lapwing, and long tailed tits flying past the window. Lunch was taken in Dennis’s hide from where we saw a number of shovelers, gadwall, coot, shelduck and the odd pochard or two, plus a knot fly past.

From the hide, we walked along the path hoping to see the two long eared owls which had been seen in the trees behind the dipping pool, and we were not disappointed, with a brilliant view of both. Moving on to the next hide we added goldeneye to our list, then smew and two little grebes on the water to the left of the path. The weather was now becoming very overcast and rain was in the air, so we finished up at Scott Hide where in addition to many cormorants and shovelers, a chiffchaff was spotted just outside the window.

As it was now beginning to rain we decided to try our luck at Hanson Hide rather than carry on round the rest of the reserve.  Unfortunately, no bittern or marsh harrier, but a nice close view of a great white egret, a little egret and stock doves. As it was now raining steadily, we decided to call it a day. All in all, a good day with 48 species seen.

Thanks to Sally, Terry and Norman for the photos.


Thanks to Sue and Cliff for leading. Sally took the nice photograph of the group on the beach – but something is wrong! Can you spot it?


 Posted by on 1 February 2017 at 9:04 pm

  6 Responses to “Trip to Dungeness”

Comments (6)
  1. The report says 13 attended, but there are 13 in the photo. Sally took the photo, so should be 14 ?
    Sorry to have missed it, but glad that you found some good species.

  2. The report says overcast, but it’s sunny?

  3. Is it that nobody was taking any notice of Sally when she said ” now all say cheese “.

  4. So Steve posted the query over attendance numbers but to me it looks like one of the scope’s has a leg missing!

  5. Hazel – we like to think that everyone is welcome to join us when we go birdwatching. But we do have standards, so a birder with a two legged tripod might be a bit too…… Irene – Sally tells me that she always tries to take photographs of people showing their “best side”. Nice one Alan. Didn’t notice that myself but you are quite correct. Actually it was quite a nice day – the rain started as we were leaving. But well done to Steve! Spot on! There were 13 in the group. Sally and I could not think who was number 14. Eventually, after a long time, we looked closely at the photograph and realised that there were two images of me (right in the centre of the photograph). I don’t understand modern cameras but it must something to do with them pixels.

  6. Didn’t know that you had a split personality Malcolm 🙂

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