Dungeness & Scotney GPs, Kent ... Friday 9th October 2010

Fog was a problem on the way to Dungeness today and slowed the journey down somewhat, but I was convinced that it would clear by the time we arrived at Dungeness Point …. I was wrong!
At dawn, Dunge was shrouded in thick mist and it took some time to clear enough to begin seawatching.

At least 5 Black Redstarts were along the wall by the power station, including a stunning male, and there had been a small fall of Robins and Goldcrests plus a tired-looking Song Thrush and a Chiffchaff.


At The Patch there were plenty of birds including at least 9 Sandwich Terns, 5 juvenile Common Terns, an Arctic Tern, 2 BLACK TERNS, 2 juvenile Kittiwakes, a LITTLE GULL and three Mediterranean Gulls. In the distance, a Red-breasted Merganser and an ARCTIC SKUA headed east.
A wander around the scrub between the old lighthouse and the observatory produced a Sparrowhawk, 2 more Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Wheatear and a Swallow, plus a male Black Redstart.


We decided to return later for another seawatch, when the tide would be higher, and so we then headed for the New Diggings where we located the juvenile BLACK-THROATED DIVER that had been present during the past couple of days.



At the ARC Pit, 8 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Little Egrets and a juvenile LITTLE GULL were present.
By now the thick mist had lifted somewhat so we headed back to the beach near the fishing boats. Six Turnstones and an adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL were on the beach and we noted 5 Gannets, a GREAT SKUA, a female Common Scoter, 40+ Brent Geese, a LITTLE GULL , a juvenile Kittiwake and an Avocet that all passed over the sea. We also saw a couple of skuas that we could not ID for certain, but they were probably Pomarines. A Wheatear was on the beach.




As it was obvious that birds were on the move, we headed back to Dungeness Point where there was a Swallow, 3 Gannets and 3 LITTLE GULLS . Back at The Patch we counted 13 LITTLE GULLS and a Gannet and two possible Pomarine Skuas passed by.
Time to try for the Barred Warbler that had been reported at the RSPB reserve – no luck, but we did note 2 Swallows, 2 Stonechats, 2 Kestrels, a Little Egret we heard a Water Rail squealing.
Paul then kindly took me to Scotney Gravel Pits to see the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS that had been present for a few days. He already had one at Dungeness on his year list but it was a species missing from my life list. We parked up in a lay-by on the Kent side of the pit and soon were on to one bird near the water’s edge amongst the hundreds of Golden Plovers. A distant view but I was happy with that. I soon picked out two more birds closer to the road and they provided us with the chance of a few photos. A couple of Ruff were also present.





After having our fill of these superb waders, we headed back to the power station where we saw a couple Black Redstarts and four Goldcrests again.


A last watch at The Patch produced 4 Sandwich Terns and an adult Mediterranean Gull on the beach and there were 2 more adult Mediterranean Gulls over The Patch and a probable Arctic Skua flew east.


A full day’s birding that proved very rewarding.

Graham & Paul


  1. Sounds great. I wished I had gone with you! Wouldn't have been able to make it a whole day though, unfortunately.

  2. Certainly was a good day, Neil.
    A day out with Paul is always a dawn 'til dusk visit but as Paul targets the species he wants to see, we usually manage to add a few species to our year lists.