Sunday, 20 November 2016

Birding Dungeness with Storm Angus

We drove along the M20 on route to Dungeness this morning not really knowing what sort of weather conditions we were heading into. Storm Angus was predicted to hit much of the East coast overnight and into the following morning.
We encountered very little in the way of storm damage on route, but you could feel the car being buffeted around by the strong winds and after parking up along the entrance track at Dungeness RSPB Reserve we couldn't even open the car doors, the winds were that strong.
Luckily we were parked up close enough to scan the pools by Boulderwall Farm. The drake Ring-necked Duck was found almost immediately as was the Cattle Egret. The Ring-necked Duck must have thought it was on the sea! 

Ring-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck

Cattle Egret

We decided on a brief seawatch at the fishing boats, and soon found out just how strong the winds were. Forcing the car doors open we tried to make our way to one of the boats, but the winds were hitting us from every direction. It was impossible to walk in a straight line and you just had to walk in the direction the wind took you! While I hung on to my scope, Brian ran off along the beach front trying to recover his hat before it reached the sea. We tried to take shelter in front of one of the fishing boats, but the winds were whistling through the double hulled boat intensifying the strength of the winds! There wasn't much movement out to sea, with several flocks of Common Scoter along with Gannets, Great Crested Grebes, Kittiwakes and a couple of Red-throated Divers being the highlights! A couple of Turnstones and a single Sanderling were noted along the shoreline.
There were plenty of large gulls roosting on the shingle and a few scraps of food bought them in closer. Unfortunately there was no sign of anything rare today.

Before heading home a Buzzard was watched feeding on worms and perched up in nearby trees and fence posts and four Bewick's Swans were found among a group of Mute Swans.

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