Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wednesday 15th. October 2013

With an incredible number of Ring Ousels being seen in the area over the weekend , I decided to head for Dungeness yesterday to see if I could catch up with one or two , and a few other species of interest , hopefully . I arrived on site at just before 0900 , and headed straight for the ARC site , where several Ring Ousels had been found in the Pines beyond the viewing screen . As I approached the screen I met another birder who had already spent some time at the Pines , but hadn't found any . I had a look out from the screen for the Glossy Ibis that had been around for a couple of days , but didn't see that either . I decided to try the Pines myself but just one Woodpigeon was all I found . As I
returned , I had a look over at the ARC pit , and there at the back of an island was the Glossy Ibis Unfortunately , the bird was between the camera and the sun and a long way off , not a good combination . Shortly afterwards , everything on the water took off , but the cause couldn't be seen . I headed back to the car park and on to Hanson hide where there were just two birders , but plenty of species on view , albeit mostly distant . Waders included Greenshank , Com. Sandpiper , Lapwing ,
Snipe , a single Grey Plover , pictured , Ruff and Dunlin . Waterfowl included Gadwall , Shoveler , Pintail , Wigeon ,Teal , Mallard and Tufted Duck , along with Cormorant , Coot and Moorhen , not a bad selection . Along with the Black-headed Gulls , a single Little Gull was seen briefly as it was
being seen off by some Lapwing , but I managed a bad record shot of the bird as it flew off , not to be seen again during the visit . I returned to the car and crossed onto the RSPB reserve , noting not a single Tree Sparrow around the farmhouse at the entrance . There seemed to be a Coot convention on
the right of the track , with 50+ birds gathered together , these being just a few of them . I posted the picture as I know some birders actually get excited when they see the species . I searched every bush along the track hoping for a Ring Ousel , but none were seen , in fact very little was seen . When I reached the car park I thought there must be a 'mega' about , as it was packed , but another birder explained that there was a teacher's conference taking place in the Visitor Centre . From the first hide , no sign of the hoped for Black-necked Grebes , but over in the corner , a Great White Egret
was sunning itself watched by a Grey Heron and close by , another GH and 4 Little Egrets . The VC and the next two hides didn't produce very much interest and with Scott Hide looking straight into the sun's reflection on the water , things were still not going to plan . But , as I left that hide , 'cronking'
from high above directed me to a spat between a Sparrowhawk and a Raven . A second Raven was flying nearby , but although it didn't get involved , it was calling constantly to the other , no doubt giving advice . After a while , the rolls were reversed as the Sparrowhawk seemed to be getting it's
own back . Eventually they both gave in and went on their separate ways , the two Ravens headed
towards Dengemarsh hide , still calling to each other . Heading along the track towards Christmas Dell hide , the hoped for Firecrest didn't put in an appearance either , but along a distant ditchline ,
three Curlew were feeding on the move , one pictured . Just before the hide , a pair of Stonechats , for once at a reasonable distance , were happy to pose , in between sortis down onto the ground to pick
up a tasty morsel . Two other birders who approached from the other way were also able to get some
close up views of the pair . All quiet on the way to Dengemarsh Hide , apart from the odd Linnet and unseen singing Cetti's Warbler . From the hide itself , the expected waterfowl , plus Canada and Greylag Geese , Mute Swan , Great-crested Grebe and a couple of marauding Marsh Harriers , one
pictured . The return to the car park was no better , with just a Kestrel and another male Stonechat being seen , and none of the Ring Ousels that the first birder I had met had seen the day previously in the area . All the way round , Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters were found in good numbers ,
with several mating pairs of both species seen . Male and female Migrant Hawker pictured . Also seen , a female Short-winged Conehead , identified by her scimitar shaped ovipositor , that of the
Long-winged Conehead being straight . Under the corrugated iron that she was posing on was also the home of a young Grass Snake and two short-tailed Field Voles , but all three were far to quick to get in the viewfinder . The car park was still packed when I got back , so decided to take my lunch down to the lighthouses area , in the fading hope of finding the elusive Ring Ousels . It was high tide , with the Gulls asleep all over the shingle , but apart from them and a few Goldfinches , I didn't see any other species , not even a Wheatear . I returned to the car and headed back to the ARC pit to try for a better view of the Glossy Ibis . The Hanson Hide was busy on arrival , so I guessed that the bird was showing , but was first attracted to the area outside 'Ken's seat' , where a strange call was coming from the reedbed . An area of reeds has been cut in a 'T' shape outside that end of the hide , and the call was coming from the right hand side of the leg of the 'T' . After a while , the head of a Water Rail popped out of the reed , looked up at the faces in the hide and shot back into the reeds again . This happened several times , very quickly each time . On one of it's last showings , I just
managed to fire off a couple of shots before it's disappearance . A couple more times , then it dashed from right to left across the gap and it all went quiet again . Sure enough , the Glossy Ibis was showing in front of the hide , in between constant flights around the pit , when joining in with the
other species , when a Harrier or the like was spotted , coming closer to the hide in flight than when
 feeding or preening among the islands . But , when it was down , it was possible to see the small size of the bird , here against a drake Wigeon . But those times were short lived , soon it would be up
again , circling , then landing down somewhere else . Given the weather forecast , the area did much better than expected with reasonable amounts of sunshine , which made for a very pleasant visit , even though Ring Ousel , Black-necked Grebe and Firecrest were not found .
Mind you the forecasters were right today , been tipping down .


Warren Baker said...

Sounds like a very busy visit Greenie, some nice species encountered, cant beat the Coot convention though ;-)

Phil said...

Bad luck with the Ouzels Greenie. A case of here today, gone tomorrow, for most of them I think. At least you got the Glossy and a Raven or two.

Alan Pavey said...

Not a bad day Greenie despite the lack of Ouzels, Glossy ibis, G W Egret and Raven in one day is pretty good.