Saturday, 28 April 2012

Wet but no wind

Hoping for the wind to be in our favour we headed down to Dungeness. Jimmy wanted to stop off for a Turtle Dove in Northwood Hill so we took the eight mile detour towards High Halstow and found Northwood Hill RSPB. It was grey and wet and after an hours walking with the dampness creeping up the trouser legs and starting to penetrate through the boots into the socks we had to depart minus the Turtle tick. Good place though with Nigthingale, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat (first of the year) and generally good for woodland birds so I may be back when the weathers better. On leaving the car park I spotted two swifts flying over (another first for 2012) but the boys failed to catch a glimpse. We took to the M2 and cut across to the M20 to complete the 90 mile drive with a quick energy boost from the golden arch drive thru and we're standing on the beach looking at Gannets and Grebes...and more Gannets and more Grebes but not a single Skua. Bumped into a nice local who kindly opened the hide. (They keep it locked to keep the fishing fraternity out and the lovely smell you associate with sea fishing which makes sense but maybe they should consider somewhere local to leave birders a key)
Porpoise are playing close in around the bhoy and we get a few swifts and swallows coming in off the sea which please the Jims as they can now tick Swift. Two Kittiwakes and an Auk fly past but we decide not to wait on the wind changing and head off in optomistic mood towards Rye Harbour.
On route we pull over to view ARC pits and find a group of waders and wagtails on the waters edge. Closer inspection reveals Pied, Yellow, White and Channel Wagtails so a decent stop followed by hundreds of Swift flying low over the water and to think we we're happy with the distant glimpse achieved earlier of one or two birds...there could be over a thousand hunting here...We take the short (15 miles) drive from Dungeness to Rye and make our way around to Ternery Hide which gives up good views of Med Gulls, Common and Sandwich Terns but not the expected Little Terns. After an hour or so it's time ot move on and we're walking around the outside of the reserve to find the fields at the far side that have been home to several Whimbrel lately. A long walk with little interest save Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers until I spot a distant Whimbrel feeding followed by another four close to it. These give good scope views and bring the days total to 79.
Church of the Holy Spirit Rye Harbour
Happy with the find we head back and take in the local chippie before heading back to Essex with my year list now standing at 211. Thity Nine to find but I'm well aware that this 39 are going to be harder than the previous 211. Onwards and Upwards and with a week in Wales coming up followed by a few days in Scotland I'm confident that I'll be well on my way by the end of May.

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