Sunday, 27 April 2014

Black-winged Stilts

On Saturday evening I received an e-mail from Martin asking if I wanted to join him on a birding trip, Sundays are not normally one of my birding days; too many people. However, his proposed list looked ambitious but credible. It included - Kentish Plover at Rye, Black-winged Stilt and Black Tern at Dungeness and if possible the Blue-winged Teal at Sandwich. So bright and early at 0700 we set off east for a long day's birding. On the way we weighed up our expectations 2 ticks - satisfactory, 3 ticks - good and 4 ticks - excellent. The weather wasn't that good and we knew it was a definite birding day and that photographs would be hard to come by.

We arrived at Rye expecting to find the place crawling with birders, in fact we were in the John Gooders hide on our own for some time before we saw another birder. With a brisk wind blowing through the hide windows I diligently searched the flat beach for either a Kentish Plover, Little Stint or Curlew Sandpiper, none of which I could find. However, I did come up with Common and Little Terns and Martin found a nice Whimbrel out on the mud.

We had given up and decided to make our way back to the car park when we met  Barry Yates who had found a Temminck's Stint. We opted to give it a go but to no avail, as when we arrived at the location, the bird had already departed. Out on the pool there were plenty of Avocets and another tick in the guise of a Little Ringed Plover. The walk back to the car gave a great fly by of a very fresh Hobby and a scan from the car park gave views of several House Martins - 5 ticks by 1030 - we were on a roll.

Avocet and Ringed Plover

The short trip to Dunge was pretty uneventful, as usual we stopped at Scotney Pit,  finding some distant Terns but nothing to get the blood flowing. Arriving at Dunge, Martin, thankfully, insisted that we visit the Black-winged Stilts first. Just after we had taken a few record shots of two charming birds the power station vented a massive amount of steam with an accompanying din which spooked the birds, but of course they were relocated just a couple of hundred yards away some time later. Whilst viewing the Stilts we were informed that a Wood Sandpiper was in the neighbourhood and sure enough some kind birders got us on to the bird - well its head that was frequently seen above the short reeds. We decided to hang around in case the bird made a full showing - some one and a half hours later we gave up and we had blown our chance of visiting Sandwich.

The best view of the Wood Sandpiper in one and a half hours!!!
 Finally, in the rain, we ended up at the ARC hide where we were treated to distant views of two Black Terns but precious little else. On the way home we again visited Scotney and the Colonel Body lakes but nothing had moved in during our absence - after a quick look at the sea it was homeward bound with total of  8 ticks - one a lifer - another good day.

Usual suspects:


  1. Not a bad day out i would say Dave, hoping to go down to Dunge for the BWS tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

    1. Hi Mike
      Dunge never dull -always something happening. Stilts were easy to find but always distant.
      Hope you have a great day

  2. Hi Dave,
    Some great shots on your blog here. Wonder if you know what's about at Beeding Brooks at the moment. Thinking of going down there tomorrow. Or if you know of anywhere south of Horsham where I might get some shots of green woodpecker or nightingale would appreciate your advice. Many thanks

    1. Hi Ian

      not sure about Beeding Brooks at the moment but I can tell you that there were plenty of very obliging Nightingales at Pulborough Brooks today. Try Fattingates Courtyard or "adder alley" where they perched in the open most of the day. Normally would recommend PB for Green Woodpeckers too but didn't see a single one today.

      Good Luck


  3. Thanks for the advice Dave I'll give PB a go tomorrow. If I get to Beeding too I'll let you know if there was anything about