Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A Good Day at Dunge, Monday 24th October.

I got up knowing I had the option to take the day off as arranged with my boss last Thursday, my decision being weather dependent. So it was, I headed to Dunge and was there for around 7.40am for a seawatch. With the southerly wind, I was hoping for a lot of movement, it was obvious from the start that it was busy out there, auks were going by continuously sometimes in small flocks and KITTIWAKES were also moving west in large numbers.


I stuck with the seawatch until around 10.40am. The highlights were, GREAT SKUA 5, POMARINE SKUA 4, (originally I thought these were Arctic, lack of experience with juv. Skuas being my downfall, thanks to Bob Price for putting me right), MEDITERRANEAN GULL 50+, COMMON SCOTER 12, SWALLOW 13, BRENT GOOSE 20, ARCTIC TERN 5, DUNLIN 3, AUKS sp. 300+, (including about 20 definite RAZORBILLS), KITTIWAKES 200+, GANNETS 200+, CURLEW 1 and the GLAUCOUS GULL put in an appearance on several occasions, notably when I joined for a while by Bob Bland and Alan Woodcock.
The other highlight was the constant flocks of GOLDFINCHES passing along the shore with a few SISKIN and REDPOLL thrown in probably numbering a few thousand in all.
Great Skua

Pomarine Skua

Mediterranean Gull

Glaucous Gull


Next stop was Hanson hide on the reserve, it started quite well when I picked out a RING OUZEL flying over towards the water tower, the next bird to arrive, in between at least 3 MARSH HARRIERS that were coming and going, was an immature SPOONBILL, it stayed for nearly an hour before leaving with 3 LITTLE EGRETS. There were a couple of PINTAIL on the water and WIGEON were arriving sporadically, as we watched these, a BITTERN flew up from just in front of the hide, it flew directly away and ended up over towards the viewing screen, I was quite enjoying my prolonged stay in the hide!! I think it was getting close to 2pm and I was thinking about moving on when the PENDULINE TIT came into view on the bull rushes in front of the hide!! It's fairly sure that this ringed bird is returning to winter for maybe the third time, let's hope it continues to do so and give great views.



Penduline Tit

There were a few children in the hide, half term I think, but hearing their excitement when they saw the bird was great, we certainly need these youngsters to have an interest for the future of our wildlife. I left the hide with the bird still showing and headed to Dengemarsh, for once my luck was out with the Great White Egret, I took a slow drive back across the marsh adding a couple more SWALLOWS and a fine male HOBBY, surely the last one I'll see this year.
I had a call from Stephen while I was out, and back on the patch he had found a Tree Sparrow, now a rarity at the castle, with maybe one or two records a year, I looked for it this morning with no success.


Rachel J said...

Wow tree sparrow on the patch that must be pretty rare up this way. Sounds like a great day at Dunge, love the penduline, a smart bird. Yes it is half term, two days down only three to go!

Ramón Suárez said...

Muy buena y variada serie. Preciosa la espátula. Saludos!!

alan woodcock said...

Hi,I think Bob and I overlooked the Spoonbill,4 Birds which we took to be Egrets,partly hidden,one may well have been a Spoonbill,nice photos of the Tit and Bittern.

elcamperoinquieto.com said...


Warren Baker said...

lovely photo's again Alan. Your Skua photo's are interesting to me, as I had one flyover my patch today ( a patch Tick!) I put it down to an Artic Skua, but views were brief!

Sorry if this comment comes to you twice!!

Greenie said...

Alan ,
Another very nice set of shots .
Glad the Penduline Tit showed up for you .

Derek Faulkner said...

Refreshing to see your comments re. the children. Other people complain if they get any disturbance on their patches or while in hides, but how are we to get a new generation of wildlife enthusiasts if we don't allow children to get excited about seeing something.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Rach, we don't get many Tree Sparrows now. I used get flocks in double figures 10 or so years ago.

Hi Ramon, Thank you for your comment, I'm pleased you liked the series of pictures.

Hi Alan, Thanks, the Spoonbill might not have been there it flew in from the direction of Boulderwall and eventually went back that way, it was good to see you both.

Hi El Campero Inquiento, Thanks for your comment I hope you find some good birds in Biscay :-)

Hi Warren, thanks, fantastic to get Skua over your patch!! as I say I was struggling a bit with ID and they weren't that far out!!

Hi Greenie, Thanks, I was lucky today and really enjoyed the day.

Hi Derek, Thanks, We certainly need to encourage youngsters and it was great that their parents thought it was a good day out to go to Dunge. I'm hoping my nephews will have an interest, I'll certainly try to make them aware of what's around them at least.

Bob Bushell said...

A great band of birds you have there. I love them all, superb photography.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Bob, Thanks, it was pleasing list of birds at the end of the day :-)