Saturday, 7 April 2012

Garganey's save the day

A text from Brian Friday night saying meet at the usual spot at six, and the planning for the following day is over.
We meet at six and head for Dungeness. The reserve gates are still closed when we arrive, So we pull over further along the road, and scan Arc Pit where Brian quickly locates the Spoonbill which has been present since the 31st March. It takes to the air and flies directly over our heads, circles round and lands back on the pit and starts to feed.
From here we drive on to the beach, We find a few Wheatears on the shingle around the old lighthouse, but apart from these the area proves to be really quiet with only a couple of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and a single Black Redstart of note.
We move on to the reserve where again it's quiet, We hear 3-4 Sedge Warblers on the walk round to Denge Marsh, But there's no sign of the Garganey that was last reported from here on the 5th.
News of a Garganey comes through on the pager, So we head off to Rye Harbour in search of it. After a walk of about a mile we reach the hide. A couple are already in the hide and they ask Brian "What's the strange duck called in front of the hide" This proves to be a drake Garganey and with it a female.
Scanning the lake we find another pair of Garganey along the back edge, and among the Black-headed Gulls there are nine adult Med Gulls and a 1st winter. Then Brian picks out two Yellow Wagtails on the grass bank, and high in the sky are 10+ House Martins and five Swallows. A final scan of the lake reveals a fifth Garganey another drake and we have all five Garganeys in the same view through the scope.
The walk back to the car is not as hard as the walk out, even so it doesn't stop dad trying to get a lift back in the farmers trailer.
A quiet start to the day ends with seven year ticks. 

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