Thursday, 1 December 2011


An 05:00 start  yesterday for a great day at RSPB Dungeness. The previous evening I had been dithering over where to go, east or west. Finally the forecast of SW winds and clear skies made my mind up for me - a day in the Hanson hide at Dungeness. Thinking that with the wind behind the hide and a early morning sunshine would give good conditions for photography. As always the target species proved elusive, but there were bonuses in other areas. I needed a tick for the Penduline Tit and would have loved to get photographs, the other target was the Long-tailed Duck which had been present for several days. In the end the Penduline didn't show and the duck was visible at about 400 yards.

However, there were three Bewick's Swans present, gently warbling to each other as they fed about 50 yds from the hide. THere was tremendous Water Rail activity as two birds were constantly squealing and running back and forth just in front of the hide. Loads of ducks throughout the area, Mallard, Tufted, Pintail, Teal, Wigeon, Goldeneye and some very nice looking Gadwall.

Bewick's Swan

Nice day for Gadwall!


Two great fly bys of Marsh Harriers, one of which flew to the far side of the lake and perched in a tree for over an hour. Another nearly encounter with a Cetti's Warbler, one day I will get a clear shot of one of theses elusive birds. About midday I was suffering from hide bum, caused by those very hard wooden benches, so I returned to the car park for lunch. Just before I left I was treated to the view of 5 Avocets, again just out of range of the camera.

Cetti's Warbler (almost)
At lunch I was "serenaded"??? by a large flock (40) of Tree Sparrows in the trees and on the feeders at Boulderwall Farm at the entrance to the reserve. As conditions were perfect for photography I spent a happy half hour with these charming birds that are becoming scarce.

Tree Sparrows

On to the visitor centre and a quick look at the "Birds seen today" board confirmed that with a rising and very cooling breeze it was time to head for home.

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