Trip reports

Dungeness - Sunday 12th March 2017

Friday, 17 March 2017

Early on most of the Group saw a Black Redstart, a Wheatear and a Goldcrest near the old lighthouse. Some of the Group had walked along to The Patch and a gull flock that flew off from the water and headed off into the mist before the rest arrived included a first winter Iceland Gull that had showed reasonably well. Sea watching was fairly non-descript with just a distant Red-throated Diver and a few Gannets for me, although at least one of the Group had a Black-throated Diver. Back at the lighthouse we had two male and a female Black Redstarts, while another female was found closer to the obs. There was also a Chiffchaff calling in the garden. We drove on and parked by the causeway to view New Diggings. As we pulled up a Marsh Harrier flew over the road and we found at least one Slavonian and two Black-necked Grebes while the bushes held more Chiffchaffs and a few Reed Buntings. Lunch was taken at the ARC pit where our tally increased with Cetti's Warbler, a Great White Egret, an Avocet and various wildfowl. A Water Rail also squealed briefly. After lunch we walked over the road to explore the Boulderwall farm area. Several Tree Sparrows were in the garden and scanning around added Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Little Egret, a single Pintail, a couple of Snipe, Greylag, Canada and Egyptian Geese. After checking in at the visitor centre we made a clockwise circuit of the reserve stopping first at the dipping pool. Searching the bushes behind the pool took ages, as all we could see of the roosting Long-eared Owls were occasional glimpses of their cryptic plumage as they moved slightly deep in the vegetation. The rest of the circuit was generally uneventful although we did find at least three more Great White Egrets and a Grey Heron around Dengemarsh and the hay meadows. The viewing ramp at Hookers allowed us to see four Ruff in a Lapwing flock and a Sparrowhawk perched briefly. A toad was found along the return track. As we were getting ready to leave we could hear (and see) Jackdaws heading over to roost.

At the end of a long day the Group had amassed 75 species between them at Dungeness. Not a bad haul.