Thursday, 5 March 2009
Dungeness 27 February - 2 March
Returning David to Dungeness for his second season as Assistant warden at the Observatory gave me the chance for another visit to the Kent Coast. Though photographically not particularly productive, the birdwatching did not dissappoint. Black Redstarts were around the Power station. The Iceland Gull performed on a daily basis, and after such a quiet winter on the sea in Norfolk the numbers of Guillemots, Divers, Kittiwakes and Gannets among the Guills and Grebes offshore was very welcome. A passage of Brents on the 1st March also produced at least 10 Velvets among the Scoters. Smew, Goosanders, and both Slavonian and Black Necked Grebe were present on the RSPB Reserve, as well as 2 Firecrests, and a delightful Water Vole - posing in front of 1 of the hides until spooked by a low flying Magpie !!! The biggest surprise of the trip was a flock of 25 Snow Geese and 1 Empereor Goose on the 1st. These had been reported in Sussex earlier in the day but had sneaked through to dungeness unnoticed!! A flock of this size was an impressive sight in flight, and enough to cause a bit of local excitement - at least until a walker on the footpath passed within feet of them, failing to flush them in the process and excitement levels plumetted !! Still an impressive flock whatever its origins.
Above and Below Iceland Gull - showed well on all 4 days, but a difficult bird to photograph as the sun was never in the right place ! Aptly likened to a Barn Owl in its flight and pale colouration as it wheeled over the patch among the mass of Gulls.