Monday, 30 November 2009

Dungeness Trip 30.11.09























A first visit of the year to Dungeness bird observatory and the local RSPB reserve today meant a 4.45am start to pick up local birder Graeme from Stortford before heading off for the joys of the M11, M25 and M20, all in pouring rain. An arrival at Dungeness beach at sunrise, 7.30 was great with a stiff breeze and steady drizzle.Immediately, into good birds with red breasted merganser, gannet and common scoter seen moving west and 35+ sanderling moving east. A solitary brent goose was also recorded along with 100's of gulls.
Before long the breeze etc drove us to the hides on the RSPB reserve where we knew certain unusual birds may be found. We were not disappointed with huge numbers of wildfowl, including 15+ pintails, mostly striking males along with a superb view of a solitary hen harrier over Dengemarsh. Here, as we approached the hide a great egret flew across the lake, my first views of this bird in the UK. Photos shown here of both little egret (with the black beak) and the much larger, if distant, great egret showing its diagnostic yellow beak and long neck. Note the yellow feet on the little egret. Our next target was to track down 2 glossy ibis, a most rare bird for Britain. After a short wait the showed well and are photographed here, if again, somewhat distantly. My second new UK bird for the day! A goshawk then made an entrance heading south and then east over the power station. A rare bird for Kent indeed and one that the bird observatory will require detailed sight records before it is accepted on their list. A tricky job as it was high and really only the size and shape were what gave us the goshawk impression. Much too large to be a sparrow hawk, so unsure what else it could have been. Marsh Harriers were witnessed on several occasions, most notably whilst we waited for a penduline tit that didn't appear. Shelduck, black tailed godwit, more wildfowl and most amazingly, a second bittern of the day. The latter flew in front of the Hanson Hide at the ARC pit. A superb sight.
From here we made our way back to the RSPB office for the car, but not before observing 3 chiffchaffs, a kestrel and a flock of redwings along with a single reed bunting. Off to the Lade Pit for a black necked grebe, of which we got very distant views. A red legged partridge seemed out of place on the shingle whereas a stonechat and skylark did not.
On to Scotney after a unsuccessful search of the trapping area but as we drove along the Lydd road an egret in a horse field caught our attention. A cattle egret! Another first for Graeme. At Scotney pits, the other side of Lydd hundreds of lapwings and golden plovers mingled with a redshank, wigeon and 80 barnacle geese. What a finish to the day as by now the light was fading and time to join the jam that was the M25. A superb day's birding. In all, a most respectful 77 species of bird were recorded, with much quality included.
Photos, from the top;
1. mute swan
2 - 9 the pair of glossy ibis
10. cormorant
11 - 13 great egret
14 Little egret
15 great egret
16 - 18 little egret

Please click on photos to enlarge.




















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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander