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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

What a day in south Kent!!

This Adult GLOSSY IBIS at Dungeness was a British tick for me!
  At 7.30 I picked up Johnny Bushnell from Dartford Railway Station and an hour later we arrived at Dungeness. This was my first visit here and even before I got out of the car, a Marsh Harrier flew nearby. A two minute walk from the car at the entrance of the RSPB reserve at Boulderwall Farm, found the adult GLOSSY IBIS feeding in a field next to the track. This was a British tick for me and it showed very well in the dull light. Ten minutes later the sun came out, but it was bitterly cold wind. The ibis continued to perform well before flying off towards the ARC Pits. At the latter sight at the Willow Tree hide, we heard 2 Cetti's Warblers and Chiffchaffs. On the pit there were 10 redhead Smews with 2 cracking drakes! It was over fithteen years ago since I've seen a drake Smew and that was on Crosemere, Shropshire when there 3 birds with 3 redheads. Drakes were annual on the Shropshire meres in the early nineties Also on the pit were 2 Slavonian Grebes, 2 fem Goosanders, 3 Ruddy Ducks, lots of Wigeons, Pochards, Shoveler, Gadwalls and Mallards, 3 Little Egrets and an imm Marsh Harrier showing well on a post.
  We only walked half way around the reserve and on one of the smaller pits was a Slavonian Grebe catching fish in the shallows a few meters in front of us! There was also 42 Pintail on another pit and the GLOSSY IBIS flew overhead. More of the same wildfowl as the ARC pit were also in the area

Adult GLOSSY IBIS at Dungeness

Immature Marsh Harrier in front of the hide at ARC Pit

There were 12 Smews on the ARC Pit included 10 redheads


Two different 'white nuns' on the ARC pits. All 12 Smews were in the center of the pit.

This Slavonian Grebe, on one of the smaller pits, fished in the reeds at very close range!

The GLOSSY IBIS put in a second apperance. This time over the pits 

Adult GLOSSY IBIS showing very well at the entrance track near Boulderwall Farm, Dungeness.

This Slavonian Grebe was showing down to a few meters in front of Johnny Bushnell and I on one of the pits at Dungeness

There were 2 drake Smews on the ARC Pit with 10 redheads.

Next we made our way off to see the 1st winter Glaucous Gull on the beach near the obs. After twenty minutes we found it on a shingle ridge with others gulls before it moved down the ridge where it continued to show well

1st winter Glaucous Gull at Dungeness 

The old lighthouse and one of the heligoland traps at Dungeness near the obs

  We cleared up moreless everything at Dung, so it was a drive to Dymchurch, the second time for me, to try see the Northern Long-tailed Tits. We parked at the church and split up. Half an hour later a voicemail came through on my phone. It was a frantic Johnny Bushnell 'Conrad, em, get back here quick? Err F*****g phone! I was not too far away and ran like the devil to find Johnny telling me off about my phone going to voicemail. 'They were here, but they've gone now' It was me who was now frantic. I started looking in the churchyard when Johnny relocated them. I ran up to where he was and looked into the sun to see one high up in the trees, five gardens away! I ran round the corner and found them straight away feeding in the ivy. 2 stunning NORTHERN LONG-TAILED TITS with 3 Long-tailed Tits!! All birds showed at close range for a good five minutes before flying off towards the school. Here I relocated them again but they soon moved off. Pure Magic!
  John wanted to see the nearby Great White Egret at nearby West Hythe that I saw on Saturday just gone. We had a good drive around the area, looking in fields and dykes, but all we got was a Green Sandpiper. A walk along the canal produced nothing either

One of the 2 NORTHERN LONG-TAILED TITS at Dymchurch. Both birds showed supurbly, but not for the camera.

This Great spotted Woodpecker was also in the area

Spotted this Green Sandpiper from the car as drove close to the River at West Hythe.

Another Great spotted Woodpecker. This time along the canal at West Hythe
  We had an hour of light left and we quickly made our way through Folkestone to get to the Warren. The light was fading fast but I started to count the Med Gulls roosting below the cliffs on the rocks. Altogether I counted a staggering, 200+ MEDITTERRIAN GULLS!! Before this, six was the most I've ever seen together, both on Scilly and many time on the Shropshire Meres. Except for a few 1st and 2nd winters all the rest were adults included 2 splended summer plumage birds. One of the first winters had a Belgium or French ring on it. I love Med Gulls and I think I will be making another visit to The Warren just to come and see them again.
  Altogether I had a British tick, a new sub-species and lots of birds I haven't seen for a very long time. I had a great day with Johnny and look foward to visiting the Isles of Sheppy tomorrow with him and hopefully, 925 will be joining us.

How many Mediterranean Gulls can you see? This is part of a flock of over 200 roosting on the rocks just below the Flokestone Warren cliffs! I took this shot at the top of the cliffs just before dark. This by far was of the highlights of the day.

The White Cliffs of Dover

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