This morning we had our sights set on a couple of Kent targets. We headed South-East and stopped at Stodmarsh NNR. Upon entering Reedbed Hide there was plenty of Greylag Geese present, but the hoped-for Bean Geese were not among them. A Water Rail close to the hide entertained us and then geese began flying overhead, probably having roosted at nearby Grove Ferry. Several small groups of Greylags flew past and then the two Bean Geese were spotted. They didn't land on the reserve but carried on past us. We left the hide thinking that they may have landed on one of the fields along the entrance track, and sure enough, after a quick scan of the numerous Greylags, we located the Bean Geese among them.
|Bean Goose with Greylags|
Leaving Stodmarsh we headed for Dungeness, with our target here being a juvenile Sabine's Gull. The bird had already been reported earlier in the morning, so we were quite optimistic as we walked along the path bordering the power station. We met a local and were told it was showing well, but as we reached the gathered group outside the hide the bird was nowhere to be seen! Luckily Brian picked it up coming back in from the direction of the fishing boats and I was on it straight away. It made several flights and then settled on the water.
With both target birds seen, we decided to visit Cuckmere Haven in East Sussex in search of a Grey Phalarope. After receiving some directions from a local we parked up in Seven Sisters Country park and headed along the riverside path. After a walk of some three-quarters of a mile, we arrived at the flooded field it had been favouring.
This tiny little wader normally spends the majority of the year out at sea, only coming to land to breed. Breeding in places like Northern Siberia, Canada, and Greenland. Its migration route takes them past Britain but it's normally well out to sea. Heavy storms can sometimes drive the birds off course and they can then get pushed inland allowing us superb close views.