Trip reports

Reserve Visit: RSPB Dungeness

Great tit perched in small tree

Saturday, 7 January 2017

It is the tradition of the Eastbourne and Local District Group to start the year's birding at RSPB Dungeness Reserve. The Reserve never disappoints and so it was on this visit. The weather was kind; mild, no rain or wind, though rather cloudy with a slight fog. Still, the assembled group of 19 plus Peter and Mark were just happy to be there and start the day's birding.

There were two excellent guides for the day, Sedley Underdown and Peter Denyer. The list below is Peter Denyer's and without his birding knowledge and tremendous sighting abilities, the compilation of birds seen would have been a lot less.

So how best to describe Saturday's splendid day of birding. The best way I can think of, is comparing it to having a fine three course meal at a very upmarket restaurant.

The First Course sets the scene; excellent views of the Long Eared Owl who hadn't been seen since Wednesday (4th). There it sat among the branches of its chosen tree and looked at us mere mortals as we gazed upon it in awe and wonder. What a start.

The Main Course was made up of a variety of species at the Hides we visited. Like every element on a plate, the birds seen came together blending in elegance, beauty and style. Broad smiles and uttering of "just wonderful" could be heard around the Hides.

We had to leave RSPB Dungeness for Dessert, but without Peter's knowledge, the amazing Dessert that rounded off our meal would not have happened.

Our coach followed Peter's car to a small lake in Camber and there, never having been seen by anyone of us before, was a Red Necked Grebe. Not in the distance, not a speck in the water, but up close and personal. One could almost reach out and touch it ...... okay perhaps a slight exaggeration, but for those who were there, I think that they too would attest to the fact of its proximity to us. What a way to round off an excellent day. The only thing missing to this excellent Three Course Meal was the accompanying wine.

Other birds seen at the reserve were great crested grebe, little egret, mute swan, shelduck, teal, pochard, smew, buzzard, snipe, great black backed gull, wood pigeon, green woodpecker, dunnock, song thrush, great tit (pictured), rook, house sparrow, greenfinch, little grebe, great white egret, Canada goose, wigeon, shoveler, ring necked duck, marsh harrier, moorhen, lapwing, kestrel, lesser black backed gull, pied wagtail, robin, chiffchaff, blue tit, jackdaw, tree sparrow, cormorant, grey heron, greylag goose, gadwall, goldeneye, sparrowhawk, coot, dunlin, herring gull, stock dove, kingfisher, wren, blackbird, long tailed tit, magpie, crow, chaffinch, water rail, which was sighted by Sedley, and black headed gull.

Thank you Peter, Sedley and Mark for a really good day.