Sunday, 17 February 2008

'Old' friends reunited. White wingers win again

The Dunge Gulls minus White wingers !!
Saturday 16th Feb 'should' have been a lovely day out in South Wales enjoying the delights of Welsh resevoirs though with the Pacific Diver doing a bunk, a day in Kent with Gull boy and friends was order of the day.

First stop Boughton Monchelsea Deer Park and a brief look/listen for Lesser spotted Woodpeckers. The early morning frost was still very much evident with the muddy path frozen though unfortunately not frozen enough for one of us weighed down by savoury snacks!!

A few Siskins were seen and Lesser spots were heard though not close enough to see them. Leaving the area with fresh muddy boots our driver James drove down to Dungeness seeing a Common Buzzard not long after setting off and made a bee line for Walland marshes to look for Swans. A couple of Little Owl sites were checked though drew a blank whilst 12 Tree Sparrows showed well in a roadside field and hedge and the Whooper Swan was located amongst the Mute Swans near Midley.
The main purpose of the day was to look for Glaucous Gulls but we failed abysmally to locate any at the beach, fishing boats or on the reserve. There were plenty of Gulls on the patch and sitting on the beach at roost but no white wingers. A couple of spots were checked for Dartford Warbler but again no luck so off to the reserve to get a Slav fix. The 2 Slav Grebes were easily located as well as 5 Goosander and 7 Smew including a stunning drake. 27 Bewick's Swans reside near Cockles bridge and at Lydd 'spicy' sausage was very conspicuous by it's odour both at the time of consumption and later. It certainly brought back memories of my twitches with the lads and the atmosphere!!
A female Goldeneye on the RSPB reserve
The Bewick's Swans at Cockles bridge
At Scotney the Long-tailed Duck put on a great show together with 77 Barnacle Geese (part of an influx in Kent at present) and a flock of White fronts that departed to the fields before being counted.

The Long tailed Duck at Scotney seen in flight between county borders

Last stop was the Woolpack Harrier roost where 15 Marsh Harrier, 2 Hen Harrier and Barn Owl were seen with Cetti's, Bearded Tit and Water Rail being heard. A great day out with touch of spice to savour, shame about the Glaucs !
Marsh Harriers coming into roost at near darkness (1600 ISO)
The moon showed well late on always a good time to see it !!