Trip reports

Dungeness RSPB Reserve (Leader Karen Snow)

Dungeness RSPB Reserve (Leader Karen Snow)
Common sandpiper [Warren Mann]

Sunday, 25 September 2016

There were twelve of us for this visit to Dungeness and it was nice to be joined by a member of the Maidstone group. We managed to see a wheatear before we got into the visitor centre. The lady at the visitor centre informed us that there were a couple of pintails and the cattle egret was still down by the cows.

We didn't manage to see the pintails from the visitor centre so set off to the first hide. There was plenty to see, gadwalls, tufted and mallard ducks, coots, teals, shovelers, pied wagtails, cormorants and little egrets. We were watching a couple of chiffchaffs in the scrub when I shouted "snipe", but when it landed it definitely wasn't a snipe, it looked more like a godwit but with a striped head, we all saw it, before it took off into the grass, no one managed to get a photo unfortunately, but after much debate and looking in the books, we decided it could be a long billed dowitcher. This would be a first for me and I'm sure many in the group. Steve went off to inform the visitor centre and a warden came down to look, but we didn't see it again, and she wasn't convinced. Our only hope is that it was seen again later in the day.

We made our way to the next hide and had a lovely view of a common sandpiper just outside the hide. We also saw a great white egret and a marsh harrier as well as some pochards, ruffs and great crested grebes. There were some more chiffchaffs in the scrub, and possibly a couple of goldfinches and a sedge warbler.

The latest sightings sheet had said that there had been a wryneck seen earlier in the week at the Scott Hide, but it didn't appear to be still about. Steve did manage to see a whitethroat, but otherwise nothing was added.

There were plenty of hirundines overhead all the way round and a good number of marsh harriers.

A lovely stonechat perched up nicely for us along the track. We could hear Cettis warblers but other than a fleeting glimpse they were, as usual, not seen. There were still plenty of dragonflies about and a few butterflies.

We missed out Christmas Dell Hide and made our way to the final hide where some had lunch. There were a couple of Egyptian geese and some greylags. We had lovely views of four great white egrets, more marsh harriers, and some of us managed to see a merlin (not me I hasten to add!). There were also a good number of snipe.

We continued around the loop, but nothing more of note was seen. Back in the car park, some members decided to call it a day - Sue and Steve having been there since 7am!

A few of us went to Dennis Hide where we had two little stints before getting in the cars and heading over to the ARC (stopping along the track to see if we could get the cattle egret, but alas not, although some had seen it when they arrived).

At the ARC, there were a lot of birds, golden plover and sparrowhawk being additions for the day. There was an egret flying across, which could have been the cattle egret, but we couldn't be certain.

A lovely day, a bit chilly, but no rain! 50 birds seen (although I haven't counted those that people saw before the walk started).

Karen Snow