7th May 2012 - Dungeness and Rye Harbour

May Bank Holiday Monday was an exciting day, but an exhausting one as we were up at 5am and not back until 8.30pm.  Another trip to Dungeness was on the cards so we headed down through Kent wondering what we’d see. 

Such an awesome caterpillar.
These are pretty cool too.

A quick trip to the beach proved fruitless, so we wandered back up towards the Bird Observatory.  On the way, I spotted a bird that looked familiar but I couldn’t place it – it turned out to be a Black Redstart, the only one I had seen previously was through the haze quite far away so to be so close was wonderful.  These were quickly followed by a magnificent Wheatear and another Wheatear further up, then a low flying Sparrowhawk.  Buoyed by our success so far, we felt slightly let down by the rest of the loop round – a Reed Warbler and a mischievous Great Tit were the highlights.  Having said that, the bushes were crawling with Whitethroat which was lovely – they’re a very sweet little bird.  After admitting defeat, on the way back to the car we saw a Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail and 3 Wheatear.  We drove round to the RSPB reserve and went from hide to hide without realising quite how powerful the Sun was – I’m pretty red today!  We ummed and ahhed about a wader before Stuart clocked onto it bobbing its behind – a Common Sandpiper, the first of the year for us.  There were around 20 Common Tern which made me happy as I love terns and Greylag goslings swimming in a row added to the happiness.  Stuart led us down a dead end path to try to find flycatchers, but none were to be found.  However we got a much better prize – a Garganey and then a swooping falcon overhead.  We stood and watched it for at least 15 minutes – we knew we’d not seen it before but could we dare hope it was the falcon we had wanted to see for a long time?  Suddenly a shout erupted from beside me, ‘He’s got red trousers, look at his red trousers!’ 




It was indeed a Hobby and as we walked to the Denge Marsh hide, we amazingly saw 6 more.  We popped across to the ARC before we headed to Rye Harbour and had a brief chat with a lovely man (unfortunately I forgot to ask his name), who let us know that he’d just had a report on his pager for a bird down at the power station.  It was a Crested Lark and although we didn’t realise this at the time, they are an extremely rare visitor to the UK (as far as I’m aware, 23 recorded sightings) as they are both non-migratory and grumpy about flying over water.  This one must have gotten extremely lost!  We stood for ages with a lovely group of twitchers on the inland side of the Power Station where the bird had last been seen an hour before.  Unfortunately it wasn’t showing itself, so we got ready to leave.  Just then however, a man in the group got a phone call about the bird and gathered us all up and led us to the beach front of the power station – actually a quite long walk as the boundary has to be followed all the way around.  There we were faced with more glum faces as it had disappeared again.  However, 3 minutes later a guy to our left sighted him and we spent a great time watching our first successful twitch!  It was a beautiful bird, the crest was lovely and thank you to the Wheatear that chased it into the open so we could all get a good view!  We weren’t finished there though; a trip to Rye Harbour was calling as the day was so lovely.  This upped our wader count with such birds as Avocet, Grey Plover and Golden Plover, as well as what felt like the world’s largest Ringed Plover community.  There were bunnies galore and on the way out, a lone Whimbrel.




Dungeness NNR
Dungeness RSPB
Rye Harbour
1
Swift
Oystercatcher
Oystercatcher
2
Magpie
Common Sandpiper
Pied Wagtail
3
Swallow
Ringed Plover
Wheatear
4
Mute Swan
Common Tern
Lapwing
5
Whitethroat
Coot
Golden Plover
6
Greylag Goose
Mallard
Grey Plover
7
Linnet
Cormorant
Black-headed Gull
8
Great Crested Grebe
Mute Swan
Dunlin
9
Carrion Crow
Shelduck
Redshank
10
Rook
Tufted Duck
Avocet
11
Herring Gull
Canada Goose
Ringed Plover
12
Collared Dove
Garganey
Bar-tailed Godwit
13
House Sparrow
Reed Bunting
Shelduck
14
Starling
Hobby – NEW FOR LIFE LIST
Meadow Pipit
15
Black Redstart
Redshank
Linnet
16
Wheatear
Bar-tailed Godwit
Sanderling
17
Sparrowhawk
Marsh Harrier
Turnstone
18
Reed Warbler
Buzzard
Lesser Black-backed Gull
19
Chiffchaff
Dunnock
Whimbrel
20
Blackbird
Tree Sparrow
House Sparrow
21
Pied Wagtail

Herring Gull
22
Crested Lark – NEW FOR LIFE LIST!

Carrion Crow

My year list for 2012 comes to 148.

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