Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dungeness, Kent - 29th January 2009

Adult Glaucous Gull

A mid-winter day's birding with Laurence (Pitcher), on a clear, sunny day with blue skies and a fresh, gusty and biting easterly wind. Despite the light being difficult, we spent a good while at The Patch (the bubbling whirlpool of outflow from the nuclear power station), a magnet for thousands of gulls.

As well as all the common species (Black-headed, Lesser and Great Black-backed, Common, Herring and Kittiwake), a couple of Mediterannean Gulls were present, as were four Little Gulls, paddling delicately on the surface of the water like Storm-petrels.

redhead Smew

A scan of the shingle beach, practically bereft of people (but for a few fishermen) and birds, immediately revealed a ghostly, immaculate and very accomodating adult Glaucous Gull. Offshore, good numbers of auks were on the sea and moving, as well as about a dozen Red-throated Divers, many more Great Crested Grebes, as well as Gannets, Common Scoters, and a variety of gulls.

Slavonian Grebe

male Stonechat

The RSPB reserve was surprisingly quiet re: quantity, with the commoner wildfowl species present in relatively small numbers. There was, however, a Slavonian Grebe, a Black-necked Grebe, three Red-crested Pochards, several Cetti's Warblers, a couple of redhead Smew, a Goldeneye and an abberantly-plumaged Lapwing in with hundreds of more typical birds on the ARC pit.

abberant Lapwing

Little Gulls

The last half-hour or so of light was spent on the marsh, where mixed flocks of Corn Buntings, Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers were in the hedgerows, and a close-up Barn Owl drifted past us before quartering the field nearby.

Harbour Porpoise, on the beach