Thursday, 9 January 2014

Dungeness - Bird of the day was a newt

Today (8th Jan) I went to Dungeness. I was full of good intentions but as normal I got distracted and only visited the RSPB sites.
My day started at the ARC in the Hanson hide. From the hide I could see most if not all of the common ducks plus 6 goldeneye (3 males and 3 females) and 4 red headed smew.
In front of the hide, fishing, was the heron and 3 marsh harriers were moving about in the distance - one a really heavily marked female.

On several occasions one of the red heads looked as if it was going to come close so I waited, and waited .....and waited. It didn't. This was the best I managed.

Eventually I gave up and set off to the main site. There were about 20 tree sparrows around the farm and a couple of hundred yards further on a great white egret could be seen (the only one I saw today).

At the Firth hide I was told there was a goosander (female) patrolling between the Firth and Makepeace hides so I sat and waited, and waited.....and waited (there's a pattern here). This time it did get pretty close on several occasions but never actually coming in front of the hide so the views of it were always into the sun.

I did try for it  from the Makepeace hide but it never went down there. I also looked in on the Scott hide but other than a smew at 100 yards everything was miles away.
On the walk back to the Firth hide I found a newt galloping across the gravel path. This is by far the earliest (or latest) newt I have seen. I just hope we don't get a sudden frost. Rampaging newts on a coldish day are a lot easier to photograph than birds though a 400 mm is not the best kit for doing it.

Back at the Firth hide the goosander continued to tantalise but whilst there a goldeneye came within 50-60 yards and 4 chiffchaffs were feeding in the waterside scrub.

I was told by several people that a black necked grebe could be seen (at extreme range) from the Dennis hide but I ccouldn't find it, the only grebes I found were of the great crested variety.

By now it was around 1.30 pm (where had the time gone?) and it was clouding over so I gave up and went home. Not disappointed but not quite as elated as I was driving home on Monday.

1 comment:

  1. Some great photos Steve and still a lovely day out , shame I missed you. I spent ages down on the beach looking for Caspian Gull and photographing Kittiwakes now all in the bin !!