Saturday, 26 March 2016

Good Friday delights at Dungeness and Elmley NNR!

The day started with a 7am drive along Dungeness road heading towards the old lighthouse, having already found two newly arrived Black Redstarts perched up on the ruined wooden building near the new lighthouse.
Parking up in the small car park just outside the power station walls, we begin a search of the gorse bushes between the lighthouse and bird observatory and quickly found the bushes to be alive with Goldcrests and Firecrests!

Returning from the moat at the observatory Brian picks up a Woodcock flying along the perimeter fence of the power station, luckily it flies straight along the fence line giving me plenty of  time to follow it.
We return to the old lighthouse garden and find several more Firecrests flitting about on the grass. Also in the garden compound were three newly arrived Chiffchaffs and two continental Coal Tits.
Brian walked the shingle between the lifeboat station and fishing boats and was rewarded with a female Wheatear.  
A drive along the track at the reserve produced views of two male and a single redhead Smew along with a single Great White Egret. A drive along Dengemarsh Road added plenty of Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Stonechats, but we failed to find any Wheatear.

We took a detour on the way home and dropped in a Elmley NNR, arriving quite late in the day we only had time to drive along the entrance track, but that proved very rewarding with great views of several Marsh Harriers, Redshank, Lapwing and Little Egrets and stunning views of a Jack Snipe close to the track.

Jack Snipe

Before leaving for home a Short-eared Owl dropped in close to the track side ditch ending what was a superb days birding. 

Although we only drove the along the entrance track, I've not seen it look this good for a long time! Obviously there has been plenty of hard work taking place behind the scenes and it is definitely paying off. Congratulations to all concerned.

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