Trip reports

Car Trip - Dungeness RSPB Reserve 15 March 2014.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The weather forecast was good and armed with the advice gleaned from the speaker at our indoor meeting the previous evening, Heather Chantler, the Dungeness Education Officer, we stopped at the reserve entrance to look for tree sparrows. These little chaps are notable by their absence almost everywhere else but we soon had some good views of them on the feeders by the warden's house, with chaffinch and reed bunting.
The track to the visitor-centre produced only magpies, coot and a few distant gulls so we were soon parked and enjoying a quick coffee from the machine while our group assembled and membership cards were checked.
Water levels seemed high, I assume due to the plentiful recent rains, and this may explain the lack of waders we encountered, though we did manage redshank, lapwing, oystercatcher and curlew. Ducks were colorful in fresh plumage and we found plenty of shoveler, tufted duck, some gadwall, mallard and teal. A distant female smew gave poor views and some of the group managed to spot a slavonian grebe. Grey herons lurked here and there and egrets both great white and little were ticked. Marsh harrier and kestrel were the only raptors evident and though we tried we failed to spot the bittern that had been showing itself earlier.
I had to leave promptly without visiting the ARC pit and other local spots but still managed forty plus species. Not a red letter day but still very enjoyable.
TB