Sunday, 5 January 2014

Hume's Leaf Warbler at Dungerness

During the week I have stopped off at Connaught Water a couple of times to get my first Smew, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebe and Mandarin Duck of the year along with RN Parakeet as a fly over from the car park at work.

Today though we visited our favoured spot in Kent. We started well with a Great White Egret on ARC pit as we drove towards the beach at Dungeness bagging a Kestrel too further down the road. From the sea watch hide I located a single Fulmar and Razorbill along with good numbers of Gannet, Common Scoter and Great Crested Grebe. Lot's of gulls had gathered to feed on the patch and a few Kittiwakes were picked out here.
The pager bleaped to say that the Hume's Leaf Warbler was showing well in the trapping area so we made the short drive to the bird observatory where we packed up and headed out beyond the moat towards the bushes of the trapping area. The place is flooded and wellington boots are a must if you plan a visit as the water in the trapping area is up to 10 inches deep in places. On arrival we found Dave B. hiding in the bushes and then heard the elusive warbler calling before Dave kindly helped us get on to it for a very brief view. We were to see the bird a couple more times but it never stopped "flitting" along n the bushes so photographic opportunities were zero. I found my first Chiffchaff of 2014 here too.

Back at ARC we scanned the opposite pit (New Diggings) and found two Black-throated Diver a female Goosander and a single Little Gull before parking at Boulderwall Farm to watch the Tree Sparrows for a while where a Peregrine buzzed the large flock of Lapwings present and Marsh Harriers hunted the reeds.
On the reserve we found more Goosander and I watch a Gt Spotted Woodpecker fly across the pit. A Smew briefly appeared but we failed to find the reported Black-necked Grebe.
We then drove through Lydd and found a small group of Bewick's Swan and Stock Doves before making our way to Scotney Gravel Pits in search of a reported Long-tailed Duck. We found a diver on the pit that had been reported as Black-throated but it looks to us like a Great Northern and I think the pictures back that change up so have at this point listed it as GND. back at the Kent end of the pits we were put on the LTD by some locals and then added a final tick of the day when a Buzzard was seen as we drove back up the M20.
Year list boosted by 20 today and now sitting at 107 after five days AND our first lifer of the year also bagged with the Hume's Leaf Warbler.


  1. looking forward to another year of sitting in my warm chair and seeing your great photography,

  2. Thanks again Tilly, have a good year