Sunday, 5 May 2013

Dungeness & Stodmarsh

On Thursday an early start and Outtenabout and I hit Kent. Dungeness power station outfall 'The Patch' was busy with feeding gulls and Common Terns. Probably around a hundred Common Terns, with double figures of Sandwich and two Little Terns and a single Black Tern flew past. Other birds moving were a group of Common Scoter, a couple of Red-throated Divers and best of all four Arctic Skua, 3 were dark phase birds, but the last and closest was a stunning pale phase which provided a great end to our seawatching. It was a cracking day for cetaceans, with Harbour Porpoise continually on show, so difficult to judge how many, must have been at least 20, although if someone said they counted fifty, I wouldn't be surprised, awesome!

On the power station we found a pair of Black Redstart, the male regularly singing his short squeaky song. While a pair of Raven were high up on the buildings.

Ravens on the power station

The weather, was overcast with a cool north westerly and some drizzle. This never improved until we left south-east Kent early afternoon. While the rest of the country enjoyed warm sunshine, we were oblivious to that fact and caught in Dungeness's own micro-climate! We moved to the RSPB's reserve arriving just before 9 am. Lots of Sedge Warblers, Whitethroats and it appeared good for Linnets (in joke sorry!). Water levels were high and all bodies of water were pretty quite. We had a Bittern booming but surprisingly no Marsh Harrier sightings. Common Terns were using the well made tern rafts. A single Tree Sparrow near the visitor centre was a highlight as was the hot chocolate inside the centre.

Common Tern

Common Tern

Arrived at Stodmarsh early afternoon in warm bright sunshine, lovely. Pulling into the car park a Nightingale sang to welcome us. walking on to the reserve we soon found two Hobbies hunting overhead. Other birds of prey included two Common Buzzard, at least seven Marsh Harrier and both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Three Garden Warblers singing along with lots of Blackcaps allowed us a superb opportunity to compare their similar songs. A Cuckoo was heard and soon seen. A fantastic reserve and well worth visiting.

Blackcap male

Grey Heron at Dagenham Chase