Trip reports

RSPB Dungeness (Leader Richard Hanman)

RSPB Dungeness (Leader Richard Hanman)
Great-white egret [Richard Hanman]

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Cold and very windy (40mph blasts at times) at Dungeness today leading 13 keen members of RSPB Medway Group on our first field trip of 2018. A few of the group arrived early and had a fleeting glimpse of a bittern flying beyond the screen and Bewick's swan in the approach fields.

The rest met at 9am and first stop was the ARC Hide where we had distant views of a goldeneye, female smew and great-white egret, amidst the hundreds of wigeons, gadwalls, tufted ducks, cormorant and lapwings. Other birds present included marsh harrier, little grebe, little egret, grey heron, dunlins, mute swan, canada goose, shelduck, shoveler, teal, mallard and pochard. Scanning the gulls for something special we only picked up great black-backed gulls and herring gulls.

At 10am we moved on to the reserve itself and had brief views of tree sparrows, house sparrows, blue tits and great tits on the feeders which were blowing hard in the wind. No sign of 'LEO' at the dipping pool so we headed off around the reserve picking up small groups of mergansers and pintails as well as another female smew and a lone avocet from the first hide.

The Makepiece Hide gave us good views of the cormorant colony and hundreds of wigeons, shovelers and coots. Two hours in, half the group were frozen stiff so called it a day, the rest of us soldiered on to complete the loop adding a second great-white egret, greylag geese, golden plovers, great-crested grebes and a pair of marsh harriers from Denge Marsh Hide. At 1.00 pm Karen joined us and had pretty much seen the same birds.

We completed the circuit back at the car park just before 2.00 pm. 42 species seen, not great for photos, very cold, very windy!

Richard Hanman