Friday, 25 September 2015

A mega at Dungeness, Kent - September 2015

September started off with a bang at Westport, with Spotted Flycatcher, Barnacle Goose, Little Egret and Lesser Whitethroat all seen in the first seven days.

digibinned shot of the Westport Spotted Flycatcher

Our first trip of the month was to Kilnsea on Saturday 5th. We had good views again of the juv Black Stork at Sunk Island and a Red-backed Shrike was by the Blue Bell. The wind was a strong NW and conditions for sea watching weren't ideal. We did manage a few distant Sooty Shearwaters, Manx Shearwaters and Arctic Skua. The MigFest was in full swing, and we were shown a huge Convolvulus Hawk Moth sat in a sandwich box. Finally, we managed a few flight views of a Barred Warbler

Convolvulus Hawk Moth

Black Stork at Sunk Island

juvenile Red-backed Shrike
Saturday 12th September was spent in Staffordshire; the highlight being two Great White Egrets at Branston GP and the Common Crane again at Blithfield, this time in Tad Bay. 

Great White Egret at Branston GP

Common Crane at Blithfield
Saturday 19th September saw a quick dash up to Flamborough Head, where the probable Eastern Subalpine Warbler reappeared for the first time since the 1st. We only just arrived in time to see it before it disappeared for the afternoon. We also saw a Swift (my latest ever in Britain) and a quick sea watching spell saw three Arctic Skua, a Red-throated Diver and a Black Tern past. The following video should sort out any identification issues the bird has.

We then headed across Yorkshire to Nosterfield, where an obliging juvenile Woodchat Shrike showed well.

juv Woodchat Shrike at Nosterfield

And so on to the mega at Dungeness. On Tuesday 22nd, a flycatcher sp at Dungeness was thought to be an Arcadian Fly, obviously a British first. There was no way of going down on Tuesday, but I eventually managed to get Wednesday off. CJW did likewise and we were fairly hopeful that following a day of rain, the bird wouldn't have built its strength up yet and would stay another day (stay now stay now). Unfortunately as we drove through Kent and the sun started to rise there was a deafly silence from Dungeness. We parked up and we were surprised by how few birders were actually on site. We spent about four hours looking around, but eventually at 11:00hrs, and with a count of just six birders left on site, we headed off. On the reserve at Dungeness we saw a Great White Egret and Cattle Egret.

On the way home, we called in at Vange Marshes in Essex. A strange reserve in several ways. Firstly, you walked underneath a road then cross a railway line. The reserve itself had various viewing mounds, but the pools were very distant. We did though have stunning views of the Wilson's Phalarope. The full frame photos below show how close it came to us.

This makes Ham Wall look a picturesque place

These two pictures are actually the way in to Vange Marshes

CJW suggests to Russ one possible direction that the trains could come from

CJW and Russ hastliy walk across the main line to London

The Vange Wilson's Phalarope - crippling views