Sunday, 25 September 2016

A trio of egrets!

RSPB Havering Local Group's first coach trip of the new event's season yesterday Dungeness. Twenty two of us were on the outing and our first stop was the power station at Dungeness.

 After checking out the power station for the regular Black Redstarts without success, a female was seen later by some nearer to Dungeness Observatory, we climbed the shingle bank for some sea watching. The wind was stiff and coming in off the sea making viewing tricky, masses of gulls were moving to and from the power station outfall along with Common Terns and a few Sandwich Terns. Three Arctic Skuas drifted by low to the water and quite distant stopping occasionally to harry the gulls. Gannets adults and juveniles some spectacularly diving for food were moving by. While back inland a couple of Wheatears and one Whinchat were spotted.

Wheatear - Russ Sherriff

Back on the coach and we travelled the short distance back to the RSPB reserve. Stopping at the main entrance allowed some to alight and start their walk at the ARC Pits. Where they spotted possibly the bird of the day as it flew over and away from them. An orangy looking Harrier and either a Montague's or a Pallid the jury is still out!

A very interesting Harrier - Tom Bell
From the main hide 200+ Golden Plover were on the islands along with Lapwing and two Ruff.

Near to the main entrance and doing exactly what it's name suggests a Cattle Egret was feeding alongside the cows. Unfortunately it would often disappear out of site in to one of the ditches and was missed by a few.

Around the reserve lots of mainly Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers were seen.

 Female Common Darter

Male Common Darter

another male Common Darter

Our second Egret species was soon found with an amazing seven Great White Egrets on show at once. We actually saw more Great Whites than Little with eight or nine Great Whites around the reserve!
5 of the 7 Great White Egrets

This Great White showed better in the afternoon - Tom Bell

and a Little Egret - Russ Sherriff

 Common Sandpiper

Ruff - Russ Sherriff

Ruff - Russ Sherriff

Small Copper butterfly

 All in all we had a cracking day in glorious sunshine, some other highlights were Kingfisher, lots of Chiffchaffs, Marsh Harriers and Kestrels. Over seventy species of bird were recorded by our group and I hope to see you on the next trip which is to RSPB Titchwell in north Norfolk at the end of October.

Reed Bunting - Russ Sherriff