Dungeness ... Thursday 5th August 2010

We arrived at Dungeness at 6.10 a.m. and decided to search The Moat and the trapping area at the Observatory first.
The Moat held a male Stonechat, around 10 Common Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers and a female Black Redstart.
A promising start, so we headed for the trapping area. Common Whitethroats and Willow Warblers were in abundance, with at least 15 of the former and 20 or more of the latter species present plus 3 Wheatears and a Kestrel in the area.
Hoping that a seawatch might turn up something, despite the offshore wind, we headed for the Point and, at the power station, we soon spotted a male and female Black Redstart and a small flock of Linnets.



At the Patch, there were at least 60 Common Terns, a Little Gull, 6 Gannets, 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gulls, 8 Sandwich Terns and 3 Harbour Porpoises. On, past the power station, there were 2 juvenile Wheatears and along the path by the power station fence, 2 tired-looking Sedge Warblers, several more Willow Warblers were flitting between the fence and the vegetation on the shingle bank and an immature female Black Redstart was by the path.



Immature female BLACK REDSTART (Graham)

Juvenile WHEATEAR (Graham)

We then returned to the car and headed for the car park at the ARC Pit at the reserve.
On the way to the viewing screen, we met two birders who said that the Cattle Egret was present on an island but was difficult to see as it was hidden by vegetation. On arrival, we scanned the area and found 3 Little Egrets present and eventually the Cattle Egret flew from cover and headed low and straight towards us giving a chance to grab a quick (off-centre and out of focus) shot with the camera. Another year tick for us.


As not much else of note was present at the ARC Pit, we drove on to the Visitor Centre and headed round the reserve.
Common Whitethroats popped up everywhere and another couple of Sedge Warblers showed.
At the viewing ramp at Hookers Pit, a Hobby, a single Reed Warbler, a Bearded Tit and around 30 Sand Martins were present. A Cetti’s Warbler was calling nearby but, as usual, remained hidden from view.
The Dengemarsh Hide didn’t prove very productive, apart from 6 Common Terns so we headed for the nearby gate overlooking the area where the Purple Herons have bred. No luck with them but, in the distance by the reeds, the Great White Egret and the Cattle Egret were spotted by Paul and, although distant, we managed a few shots.





At the Christmas Dell Hide, the only birds of note were two Marsh Harriers in the distance and, as we passed the New Excavations heading for Burrowes Pit, a Whimbrel flew over calling. A while spent at the Makepeace Hide produced the Whimbrel on an island, an Oystercatcher and a Common Sandpiper but not much else, apart from a male Marsh Harrier.



Back to the ARC Pit and to the Handson-ARC hide this time. A Little Gull was amongst the Lapwings and Paul noticed another Common Sandpiper.



We then drove to Dengemarsh Road to see if we could see the Purple Herons but they didn’t show so we decided to try the area by the fishing boats on the beach. By now, the wind had increased in strength and had turned from a north-westerly to a westerly, making the sea decidedly choppy.
Two Turnstones were on the beach and at least 10 Gannets were fishing in the distance and, as we headed back to the car, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was resting along the path.



One last effort at the Point produced an adult and a juvenile Kittiwake and Paul had frustrating views of a possible Manx Shearwater, a possible skua and an auk species all too far to identify with any certainty.
Time to head home after an excellent day’s birding.


  1. Nice post, seems like Dungeness lived up to it's reputation for you. It's my favourite place and I was there the day after you. I couldn't find the Cattle Egret but I saw the GW Egret again and a very quick glimpse of the Purple Heron. Hobbys were the star of the show for me.

  2. Hi Phil,
    Can't remember a day that Dungeness has disappointed. Well done with the Purple Heron, not a sign of them whilst we were there.