Friday, 20 September 2013

Great Black Backed Gull
Today, I had a day out to Dungeness RSPB reserve! Yes another off patch visit  :-)

Blue sky and warm sunny conditions greeted us on arrival at the reserve, but we noted the cloud out on the horizon to the NW,  which did eventually spoil the sunshine around 11:00hrs, however it soon cleared, and the sun was back by 13:00hrs  :-)

There was a notable lack of Passerines around the reserve, my garden feeding station back home would have given the place a run for its money, and it was indeed the feeding station by the visitors center and the surrounding bushes that provided a good percentage of the few passerine species seen today, with GREENFINCH, GREAT TIT, and BLUE TIT using the feeders, plus CHIFFCHAFF, ROBIN, WREN and LINNET in the scrub and bushes. Scores of HOUSE MARTINS and SAND MARTINS fed over the reserve all morning, but very few SWALLOWS were seen.

A drawback of the sunshine was finding that the views from the hides were too dazzling to see much, such was the suns reflection from the water, but a few bits and pieces were found, CORMORANT, HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, LITTLE EGRET, LAPWING COOT, MOORHEN, TUFTED DUCK, SHOVELER DUCK, TEAL, GOLDEN PLOVER and RUFF all featured.

Walking the reserve footpaths we heard YELLOW WAGTAIL, MEADOW PIPIT, and CETTIS WARBLER all calling, then scanning the lakes and ponds 4 BLACK NECKED GREBES were seen, along with the likes of RINGED PLOVER, GREAT CRESTED GREBE, WIGEON, POCHARD, MUTE SWAN, GADWALL.

A WHITETHROAT was found in the large Bramble patch outside the last hide on the trail, and as the hide was facing away from the sun, we had a sit down and a scan over the water, finding at least 8 PINTAIL, plus loads of GREYLAG and CANADA GEESE, but best of all was a GREAT WHITE EGRET that was seen well, albeit a bit distant. MARSH HARRIER hunted quite close by, and a KESTREL was also seen.

Making our way back to the car park, a LITTLE GREBE was found on one of the small ponds, and at least 9 BEARDED TITS were seen in the large phragmites bed.

After purcahsing a quantity of bird food at the visitors center, we headed off over to the Arc pits on the adjacent part of the reserve, then on to the Observatory and finally onto the beach for a look over the sea. Few species were seen that we hadn't already recorded earlier, a BLACK TAILED GODWIT was one such species though, also a PECTORAL SANDPIPER was seen, but I managed to miss that  :-(  HOBBY, HOUSE SPARROW, WHEATEAR, COMMON TERN, and a far off unidentified Skua, probably an ARCTIC SKUA brought the day list up to 58 species, which was a tiny bit disappointing for 6 hours out, but there was a real paucity of passerine species today.

The birds were mostly well too far away for any photo's, the only bird photo I took today was the poor quality GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL at the top of the page, which sat against a dazzling sea, I only decided to keep as it was the only bird image I had got!

However, a real feature of the walk around the reserve was the amount of Migrant Hawker Dragonflies that were about - scores of 'em! Also lots of Common Darter and the odd Ruddy Darter, all of which got their photo taken - and quite a few times too!
Common Darter
Common Darter
Common Darter
Ruddy Darter
Ruddy Darter
Ruddy Darter
Migrant Hawker, as you can see they were lining up for a photo!
Migrant Hawker
Migrant Hawker
This Migrant Hawker had caught a Cranefly
It began munching as I snapped away
Within a minute, the Cranefly was devoured, that was one hungry Hawker!


David Turner said...

Superb pics Warren, especially all the lovely dragonflies, it sounds like you had a nice enough day out at Dungeness despite the lack of bird pics :-)

Warren Baker said...

It was indeed a good day David, I could only relay some of the highlights in my post :-) i'll have to do it again soon :-)

Marc Heath said...

A great day Warren and a nice read. Some good off patch birds.

Dean Stables said...

Cracking shots as always, Warren.