I first visited Dungeness in 1976. Back then there had been but two records of Little Egret, whilst Great White Heron (as it was then referred to) and Cattle Egret (above) were not even on the Dungeness list. Fast forward 39 years and I find myself on the hallowed shingle, overlooking a line of bushes at dusk and counting incoming roosting egrets - not just one or two of them but LOADS of the snowy white beauties. The best totals were on February 17th, when 20 Little, 11 (eleven) Great White and 2 Cattle flew in - simply unfathomable just a few years ago.
My five day stay produced a fine cross-section of species, including Black-necked Grebe, Bittern, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, White-fronted Goose, Tundra Bean Goose, Scaup, Smew, Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, Avocet, Black Redstart, Cetti's Warbler, Firecrest, Raven, Tree Sparrow and Corn Bunting. Most memorable were the wheeling flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the RSPB reserve and Walland Marsh, totalling 8,000 and 2,300 respectively.
My thanks to Mark, Dave, Martin, Chris, Steve, Tony, Pete and Pam for their companionship and local knowledge that made my stay all the more enjoyable.
|This Kingfisher was to be seen outside of the Hanson hide on ARC most mornings, allowing even the most modest of cameras a chance to obtain half-decent images.|
The 2015 patch challenge was not ignored, as a quick scope of Buckland Sandpits from Colley Hill yielded a Great Crested Grebe (species 72).