Sunday, 5 January 2014

Hume's Leaf warbler, Dungeness Kent

It doesn't take much to get us to visit Dungeness, so when the Hume's Leaf Warbler is reported as present for it's third day  on Saturday, plans are made to make the trip early Sunday morning.
Shortly after 7.30am we are driving along Dungeness road, As we pass Arc Pit A Great White Egret is seen close in to the water's edge. Before parking the car a Kestrel sitting on telegraph wires is the second year tick of the day. Parking up we head towards the beach for a brief seawatch.
Good numbers of Common Scoter are seen moving through, with smaller numbers of Guillemots and two Razorbills. Several Kittiwakes are noted close in and also roosting on the beach.
The odd Red-throated Diver is also noted with larger numbers of Cormorants and Great Crested Grebes resting on the water.
While scanning through the gulls at the patch, news comes through that the Hume's Leaf Warbler is showing at the trapping area.
So it's back to the car, a quick drive round to the observatory and on with the wellies.
Reaching the trapping area we are pleased to have been warned beforehand that wellies were essential. The water levels varied from a few inches to nearly covering the top of the wellies in places.
As we approached the few assembled birders already present, I hear the bird call for the first time. It calls several times and then flits from tree to tree giving brief glimpses. Then it goes quiet for several minutes and then would call again in a completely different place.
Eventually we managed to get good views as it dropped to ground level in a channel giving me my first lifer of 2014.

Another brief session by the fishing boats fails to turn up any Yellow-Legged or caspian Gulls, so we return to Dungeness road for another scan of Arc Pit and New Diggings.
The Great White Egret is again showing well on Arc, and a scan of New Diggings produces a Black-throated Diver along the back edge. A second Black-throated Diver and Great White Egret are located at the reserve end of New Diggings as we approach the gate.
Stopping briefly at the reserve gates we watch several Tree Sparrows coming to the feeders.
At the reserve a scan from Dennis's Hide turns up a female Goosander, and on the return to the reserve centre a redhead Smew is found along the back edge of Burrowes Pit for another year tick.
Before heading for Scotney GP's, a short detour bags a good group of Bewick Swans feeding in a field as we drive along Caldecot Lane.
At the East Sussex end of Scotney a Great Northern Diver is found. We watch it as it feeds along the far edge and eventually approaches within camera range.

Great Northern Diver

At the Kent end of Scotney GP's another year tick is added in the form of a Long-tailed Duck, unfortunately it stayed well out of range of the camera.

On the drive home my first Common Buzzard of 2014 is seen.

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