Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Southern Riviera


A lazy start to the day meant we were still in Herne Bay at 9am, still we missed the traffic. Heading for Dungeness we went via Ashford on this occasion with a brief interlude at Eastwell looking for Goosanders, lady luck was having a lay in so we then moved on to the infamous Woolpack at Brookland where there was not a bird in sight.

It started to look a bit sad but driving on through Midgley we checked all the Swan flocks which initially were all Mute save the sole Black Swan and as we started to move towards Lydd we came across a flock of Bewicks that would have been in the region of two hundred strong. This was a cheery site although we would have preferred to see some Whoopers as well.

At Scotney, the usual duck species were present along with the feral Barnacles and Greylag Geese. Although  Lapwings were plentiful a single Oystercatcher rested on the grass bank near the Farm House. Dan picked up a female Common Scoter close in sheltering from the wind amongst Shoveler and Wigeon.

Next stop was the RSPB visitor centre to see what had been reported in the area and en route we made the obligatory stop to admire the Tree Sparrows at the entrance. We then headed to the ARC pits which seem more and more productive these days.

Here we enjoyed good views of Goldeneyes although the females outnumbered the males two to one and there were a couple of Redheads in the open water. After a Marsh Harrier passed through all the ducks were flushed from the scrub in the water and we counted two male Smews and eleven Redheads in total.

As the ducks returned from their panic, a Great White Egret set off to the New Diggings pool. Just before we moved on a female Red Crested Pochard wandered along the northern reed edge which was an unexpected treat.  Later from the road a Bittern took flight and was spectacular in the sun light as it drifted down towards the hide and the adjacent reeds.

Finding the Glaucous Gull for the 2013 list required a bit more effort than last year and we soon headed off to the fishing boats for some shelter as we sea watched.  There was a large number of Guillemots on the sea in various stages of plumage from winter through to breeding and the number flying west was quite phenomenal, although I could have watched these birds for ages the cold was getting a grip and Kittiwakes and Gannets were not enough to keep us from the coffee flask.

On the journey home we popped in to Denge Wood but drew a blank.

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