Dungeness, Kent ... Thursday 28th October 2010

Arriving at Dungeness at around 7.05 a.m., we headed straight to the point for a seawatch.
A very brisk onshore wind and a choppy sea was promising but the tide was low and little was passing though except for three Kittiwakes.

DUNGENESS at dawn (Graham)

Sunrise at DUNGENESS POINT (Paul)

As we moved along to the ‘Patch’, we spotted a Black Redstart on the power station wall.
There were plenty of gulls at the Patch with a few more Kittiwakes and an adult and a first-winter LITTLE GULL amongst the throng of Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.
We decided to return when the tide was higher and set off to the bird observatory and to The Moat, where a lone Chiffchaff was present and four Swallows flew over. There were may Blackbirds and Robins showing but not much else.
Heading towards the trapping area, a female Peregrine appeared being mobbed by a Carrion Crow and then a male Peregrine joined them before both falcons flew off towards the power station. A couple of Skylarks flew over and, in the trapping area, a roving flock of about ten Long-tailed Tits were seen and a party of Goldcrests were heard near the Long Pits but remained concealed from view.


Heading back toward the Old Lighthouse, 6 Siskins flew over calling but we were already sensing that the area was hardly alive with birds today.
We then drove to the ARC Pit (on the way noting two Little Egrets on the New Diggings) and installed ourselves in the Hanson-ARC hide, which was already pretty full of birders looking for the Penduline Tit that had been seen yesterday but nobody had seen it so far today.
A female MARSH HARRIER was present and also a Little Egret, a GOLDENEYE (probably a first-winter male) and a female Pintail. There were plenty of Wigeon and Pochard and a few Teal and a Water Rail was squealing from somewhere to the right of the hide. A wander round the Willow Trail to look for yesterday’s Pallas’s Warbler proved fruitless so we headed for the reserve. At least 6 Cetti’s Warblers were heard and another female MARSH HARRIER was seen. A Kingfisher skimmed over Hookers Pit and a Little Egret was perched in the bushes. Another Water Rail was squealing and a Little Egret was seen from the Dengemarsh Hide. Around 80 Golden Plovers were over Burrowes Pit but it was pretty quiet in general.

GOLDENEYE at the ARC Pit (Graham)

LITTLE EGRET at Hookers Pit (Graham)

About an hour before high tide we headed back to the beach, this time to the fishing boats, where six Turnstones and a Sandwich Tern were the best birds present.
We had heard that a Grey Phalarope had been seen close in during the morning but there was no sign of it now.
We spent about an hour there before returning to the Point and then to The Patch where we saw another first-winter Kittiwake and the two LITTLE GULLS again. As we headed back by the power station wall, we spotted two more Black Redstarts.


Distant BLACK REDSTART (Graham)

We decided to spend the last hour or so of daylight back at the ARC Pit, where the GOLDENEYE was still present and a female MARSH HARRIER gave us good views.

MARSH HARRIER at the ARC Pit (Graham)

MARSH HARRIER at the ARC Pit (Paul)

The last half hour before the darkness closed in was spent by the entrance to the reserve at Boulderwall Farm where we watched large skeins of Greylag Geese heading in from the north and dropping into to roost somewhere on the reserve.


It turned out that neither the Penduline Tit or the Pallas’s Warbler were seen during the day and we only really missed out on the Grey Phalarope.

Paul & Graham

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