Sunday, 30 August 2015

Destination Dunge

Merlin at Elmley NNR
Another trip to Dunge this morning delivered a fabulous days birding with the Jims.
First we bagged a Honey Buzzard at the point followed by a pair of Peregrine Falcons and an Arctic Skua.
Then behind the hide we picked out Wheatear, Spot Fly and Black Redstart. A couple of Yellow Wagtails flew over and another two Arctic Skua came in close to harass the Common Terns. Sandwich Terns flew south and a couple of Black Terns visited the patch briefly which was alive with Herring and Black-headed Gulls. Three Common Scoter flew up and Kittiwakes visited the patch too. Porpoise and Seals revealed themselves and Gannets flew north continuously. Another birder kindly put us on the only Balearic of the morning to wrap up a cracking little sea watch.

Herring Gull
Black Redstart
Back around the moat and things were much quieter with just a couple of Common Whitethroat to show for our efforts. Back on the shingle from the entrance road and we found a group of Wheatears and Whinchats both in double figures. The camera came out but the birds were mobile and never really came within reach of the space I'd plotted up in so I left them to their business.


At ARC pit we spotted a Merlin flying along the back edge and it sat nicely on the fence line to give scope views. We quickly found five Black Terns and then the White-winged Black Tern came in to play and we watched it for a while before moving on o Gallaways in search of more migrants. At first things were slow but then Wheatear and Common Redstart were picked out before a party of around ten Whinchats were spotted with two dropping in to bath in a puddle on the road. 

White-winged Black Tern
White winged Black Tern
On the way home we headed down to Elmley which is now completely dry and devoid of birds. I really don't understand the managment plan here but let's hope smarter people than me are in charge and know what they're doing with the place because it'd be a shame to see what was a great reserve failing in the future. Only three birds seen as first a Marsh Harrier then a Peregrine and finally a cracking little Merlin that sat on the fence allowing close views from the car.

Magical Merlin at Elmley NNR

Another fabulous visit to Kent with migration in full swing and the year list moved to 254 too.


  1. Interesting write up for the Dunge visit, spotted you were the Anderson's from our conversation and the BUBO site. Went to 192 for Dunge with the Redstarts and WWB Tern. good day apart from Tim seeing two Balearics and I dipped them in the haze that was frankly terrible ! Made up with 3 Arctics and a Great Skua. Not too bad.

    Gutted at the Icterine turning up Dunge by the visitor centre on the monday and still there today, very annoying as would be Kent and lifer.

    Dungeness picking up nicely now and the Galloways were very lively, until you guys showed ironically !

    Simon Hudson

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  4. Nice to meet you too Simon. We had another ten Whinchat after we left you further round the road and hit the jackpot with the Merlin down at Elmley too. All in a cracking day. (Then again Dunge usually delivers!) see you around.