The weather forecast was for sun so it was down to Dungeness.
I had just got out of the car when Steve A turned up so I waited for him. On the edge of the car park a dunnock was perched in the sun so it was out with the cameras - it would have been rude not to have taken his picture.
The Hanson hide was pretty busy ( Steve Raynaert occupying the prime seat!) with the main attention being given to a distant bittern. All the expected ducks were present including goldeneye and smew (red heads) plus there was a male ruddy duck that has, thus far, avoided the cull but they all stayed firmly out of camera range as did the marsh harriers.
The main photographic interest was provided by a chiffchaff which flitted about the reed mace for half hour or so – it was only a chiff but it doesn’t need much to keep one occupied if the sun is out and you have a camera in your hands.
Around 9.30 we moved onto the main RSPB site. Nothing much on the Burrows pit and the slavonian grebe was no where to be seen but from the Dengemarsh hide we had black-necked, red-necked, great crested and little grebe – shame we couldn’t find a slavonian!
|Gt Crested Grebe|
We sat in the hide for quite some time hoping that the grebes (or anything else for that matter) would come close but no such luck. Our cause was not helped by the number of people who came in most of which just wanted to talk and not quietly either! - it was noisier than my local on a Friday night.
Steve R gave up first and departed to walk the circuit but he didn’t miss anything.
The red-necked grebe spent most of his time west (left) of the hide going into the bay so we went along to see it we could get closer and get a better angle. We did find the bird in the bay but as we waited behind some reeds hoping it would swim in front of us most of the hide decided they wanted to come down and join us. Us hiding behind reeds is of little use when a rowdy mob is standing in full view a few feet away! We gave up at that point.
As we made our way back to the car park we found a small group of people staring at a bush near the Christmas Dell hide. They had found a firecrest. This little gem flitted around the scrub often only a few feet away giving brilliant if fleeting views but both Steve and I managed a few decent shots.
After a coffee and a chinwag we eventually decided to give the northern long-tailed tits a go and I’m glad we did.
At Dymchurch we split up to look for the LTTs and Steve found them in the church yard. When I arrived they had just flown to the trees surrounding a playing field behind the school but they were soon relocated. At one point we had 3 of them in the same tree and with no common ones making the photography marginally easier.
As normal they were at the top of the trees most of the time and obscured by twigs however I managed to get a few decent shots and I assume Steve did too.
|Northern Long-tailed Tit|
So all in all it was quite a good day both with the camera and the birds seen. I wonder how long we will have to wait for the next sunny day