Saturday, 14 September 2013

Semipalmated Sandpiper, No show at Dungeness

Late start this morning and with the weather forecasts checked before leaving we decided on a trip down to Kent.
With a sometimes showy Spotted Crake still being present yesterday, this was going to be our first stop before making our way down towards Dungeness.
This changed when I turned the pager on and the first report was of the Semipalmated still present on Arc pit seen from viewing screen at 7.15am.
Before reaching the car park the pager bleeps into action to announce that the bird had not been seen since. On arrival we headed round to the viewing screen to find a few locals present. Scoping the area in front of the hide quickly located a group of four Little Stints (1 adult + 3 Juvs). The locals were debating weather the earlier report was right or not. Shortly afterwards the pager announced that the earlier report was indeed erroneous.
Another scan produced another two Juvenile Little Stints on a smaller island, we watched them for a while until a Spitfire aircraft came flying low across the pools and put all the birds up.

Moving round to Hanson hide we again scoped the shingle islands and the immediate area in front of us.
The stints had re-located onto these islands and were giving closer views. There were plenty of other birds present with Ruff, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, and single Dunlin and Sedge Warbler. A late Swift was found among the masses of  hirundines zipping across the water's surface.

A short seawatch at the boardwalk produced a couple of Bonxie's and two relatively close Arctic Skuas on the water.
At the "patch" at least four Black Terns were seen along with double figures of Arctic Skuas and another 2-3 Bonxies. Sandwich and Common Terns were a regular sight either flying across the patch or resting on the beach.
There was talk from a couple of birders present of two groups of Balearic Shearwaters earlier, and after scanning for another hour we were rewarded with four Balearic's going through. A good end to a relaxing and chilled days birding. 

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