Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dungeness, Kent - 24th February 2008

A fine Sunday out of the city and onto the coast with Paul C, with bright, often sunny skies and a brisk westerly wind.

Highlights on or over the sea included a Black-throated Diver, double figures of Red-throated Divers, several hundred auks moving east (the majority of those positively IDed being Guillemots, but Razorbill also recorded), c250 dark-bellied Brent Geese moving east often close in, plenty of Gannets, Great Crested Grebes, Kittiwakes and the commoner gulls, and small numbers of Eider, Common Scoter and Goldeneye at sea.

On the land (and freshwater), highlights included a very smart adult winter Slavonian Grebe, about a dozen pristeen Smew giving great views on the RSPB reserve (including at least four drakes), six Goosander and c35 Goldeneye amongst the impressive numbers of the commoner ducks (especially Wigeon and Shoveler), the Peregrines kindly indulging in pair-bonding directly overhead, four singing Cetti's Warblers and a single singing Chiffy, a cream-crown Marsh Harrier and a very tolerant female Merlin.

(from the top: ad. winter Guillemot with abnormally-shaped bill, a group of Smew, a male Goldeneye feeling the effects of a warm spring day, a female Marsh Harrier panicking a Lapwing flock, female Goosander with male Smew, adult Kittiwake, and Slavonian Grebe)