Monday, 31 January 2011

Monday 31st. January 2011

With a dry day forecasted , we set off early , arriving at Dungeness just before 9 o'clock to cloudy skies and just above 0C. temperature . With several Bitterns on the reserve this winter , that was our main target , but we were hoping for some other good species too , and I can say that we were not disappointed . It was such a full day , that I've decided to mention the highlights with comments , as a full write up would take for ages , and I've got an early start hedgelaying in the morning .
We started at the Arc pit , as work was being done on the entrance at Boulderwood Farm . The Hanson Hide wasn't very productive apart from the common species , and no sign of Bittern either . We moved around to the screen hide on the other side , which initially only produced Tufted Ducks , Teal and Mallard . We scanned the reedbeds until Cliff whispered , 'Bittern on the left ' . Deja vu enveloped as the Bittern stayed well within the reedbed , never offering a shot opportunity . After what seemed like ages , it did work it's way into thinner reeds and it was possible to get a few shots . It then returned to thicker reeds , before appearing to break cover in front of the reeds , only to be seen catching a good sized fish , which it took back into the thicker reeds . We waited some time , without a sighting , then it flew to an adjacent reedbed and disappeared .
Now able to get onto the reserve , the feeders produced 8/10 Reed Buntings amongst others .
From Scott Hide , a pair of Pintails , male on right . From the same hide , a very smart drake Smew , one of at least 2 seen today . Late afternoon , two redhead female Smew , in total 8 were seen . In the bramble/scrub before Christmas Dell Hide , a Firecrest was found .From Dengemarsh hide , a Black-necked Grebe , looking tiny against a Mute Swan .From the same hide , a Marsh Harrier swooped into the reedbed .
A run to the fishing boats failed to find the Glaucous Gull or the two Ravens which have be residing in the vicinity .
With the sun finally coming out , three of a large flock of Bewick Swans flew off .
The soft afternoon light showed off one of several female Goldeneye . At least 3 males were also seen , but stayed well out of camera range .Flitting around the reedbed were two Chiffchaffs .
Also seen , but not photographed were , Peregrine , Curlew , Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail . We didn't find the Slavonian Grebe or a female Merlin that had been seen earlier .
In total , 54 species were recorded , which could increase to 55 , if this duck can be identified !


Adam said...

Great photos Greenie - some lovely species ticked off!


Anonymous said...

Some cracking species there Greenie. Don`t think you can tick that last bird, it`s just a "odd" mallard.

Kingsdowner said...

Glad you had a good day - great shots of the smew. And the firecrest. And the swans!

ShySongbird said...

Goodness! I thought your 34 was good the other day but 54 was brilliant. What a good day you had and some lovely sightings and very nice photos too. Lovely to see the Bewick's, we don't see them in this area.

Simon said...

Sounds like you had a brilliant day Greenie, and some nice photos too!