Sunday, 19 January 2014

Soft - Heavy in places

On the levels at dawn this morning for WEBS counting on Down Level.  The comparison between this year and last is really very stark - There are very few duck this year, presumably due to the milder weather, and no SEO that I am aware of compared to at least 5 for the corresponding weekend last year.  Still, the weather was good and there were good overwintering birds to be seen, the best of which was the better marked of the ringtail Hen Harriers quartering the area nearest Rickney soon after dawn being mobbed by one of the local Peregrine (looked like the male). Numbers as follow:
Hen Harrier - 1 ringtail
Peregrine - 2
Buzzard - 1
Herring Gull - 46 (inc 1 argentatus)
LBB Gull - 2
Stock Dove - 1
Fieldfare - 5
Lapwing - 15
Shelduck - 2 (pair displaying)
Little Egret - 2 (1 on Down, 1 on Mappins)
Marsh Harrier - 1 (cream cap quartering Mappins)

Moving on to Norman's Bay produced another Marsh Harrier, this time a male quartering the fields and ditches near the Star Inn.

The afternoon involved an excursion for the girls to go shopping in Rye so I dropped them off and nipped away for a couple of hours looking at gravel pits.  North point was disappointing with nothing of any note and the same was true of Camber Pits which held 2 Great Crested Grebe and a few Coot.  Scotney was much better with the cracking Long-tailed Duck well into Sussex and 2 Tundra Bean Geese which were a bit on the marginal side border wise.
Final stop for the afternoon was the ARC pit at Dungeness.  Bird of the day here in the shape of a Glossy Ibis preening on what was left of one of the islands before flying off in classic prehistoric manner.  In addition 3 Great White Egret & 3 Little Egret helped keep my white heron habit satisfied.  Also here were at least 3 redhead Smew, drake Goosander, 5+ Marsh Harrier, Goldeneye, Shoveler, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal etc all in numbers.

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