Trip reports

Dungeness Sea Shore (Leader Sue Carter)

Dungeness Sea Shore (Leader Sue Carter)
Wryneck [Richard Hanman]

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Sixteen members met up in the car park of the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch light railway station by the old lighthouse. We quickly realised that we were somewhat overdressed as despite a cooling on-shore breeze the sun was out and the temperature was rising rapidly.

We watched a peregrine on one of the nearby pylons in front of the power station and were then tipped off that a couple of wrynecks had been seen in the nearby desert area. So plans went awry and we hot-footed it towards a group of birders intently peering through their optics. It wasn't long before we found one bird feeding on the ground and later either it or another wryneck perched obligingly in the top of a bush. Cameras clicked all round!

Nobody was at home in the Bird Observatory so we set off to do a brief sea watch and ticked off gannet, common, Arctic and Sandwich terns, scoters and various gulls as well as a seal and a porpoise.

We then drove round to the ARC Pit where we saw lapwings, golden plover, black tern, marsh harrier, little egret, teal, pochard, gadwall, tufted duck, sparrowhawk, black-tailed godwit and house martin.

Then on to the main RSPB Reserve where we stopped briefly along the track to search the cattle field for the cattle egrets which Sue and Steve had seen earlier, but they had disappeared from view.

Having booked us all in we set off for the Firth Hide where we saw great-crested grebe, Egyptian goose and whitethroat feeding on berries right in front of the hide.

We then decided to go straight to the Denge Marsh Hide in an attempt to see the pectoral sandpiper reported there. On the way we added yellow wagtail and dunnock to our growing list. From the hide we spotted great white egret, ruff, snipe, grey heron, sand martin, wigeon and greylag goose then, as we were about to leave, a kind gentleman put us onto the pectoral sandpiper lurking behind a log in the mud of a marshy inlet opposite the hide and we all managed to get fairly decent views to confirm identification. As we left the hide we had a fleeting glimpse of a hobby.

Butterflies seen were clouded yellow, comma, large white, red admiral and small copper.

A rewarding day spent in the company of like-minded friends with a respectable bird list of sixty species seen plus Cetti's warbler and bearded tit heard.

Sue Carter