Saturday, 1 September 2012

Skua hat trick at Dungeness

Kestrel at Dungeness
With a slight south westerly forecast for this morning I thought a trip to Dungeness might bring reward so after collecting the Jims we headed off down the M20 and arrived at the point for 7.30am.

We climbed the ridge onto the shingle bank behind the power station to find the hide locked and no birders present. The good news is that the hide by the patch has been re built and is nearly finished.
The old hide was lost to strong winds last winter and the power station have sponsored a new one.

As we reached the patch a couple of birders approached but had little news of note from their trip further round the shore so we all got to work on the patch.
The tide was a long way out after last nights full moon and the water outfall from the power station was very evident in the patch as it pumped out several feet high.

We picked up a small group of Arctic Terns and Common Terns working the patch.
Then Jimmy picked out a nice Little Gull amongst them and I found a young Kittiwake.
Sandwich Terns passed through and a group of about thirty scoters flew past with a smaller group settling on the sea. A couple of GC Grebes were seen and several Porpoise also came close enough to give us good sightings. An unidentified duck flew through and a Yellow Wagtail flew over head too.

By 9am we were a group of ten as more birders joined us.
Gannets dived in the distance and then the Skua activity began. A couple of Arctics danced acrobatically along as they engaged with the terns at times. A Great Skua then flew through followed by a single Pomarine. More Arctics came through quite close giving good scope views.

As activity here slowed and we had no sign of Black or Roseatte tern we moved on.
After a coffee at the local cafe we spent some time at the fishing boats where we had two more Arctic Skua really close in and a very distant Bonxie. Sandwich Terns and more Porpoise showed here and several small (unidentified) waders came in off the sea.

259 birds now seen this year.

A quick stop at the reserve for the Jims to find Tree Sparrow followed by a trip to Denge Marsh where we failed to connect with the Gt White Egret despite it being posted a couple of minutes after we left by another birder. Hundreds of Sand Martin flew over the water here as they feed up ready for the big flight ahead of them.
I didn't really give the camera much time today save the three pics posted of Heron and Kestrel.

Heron over Denge Marsh

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