Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Just another day...

They started shortly after dawn, jostling flocks, compact, noisy with chiming calls like bubbling cowbells. Low, morphing in shape and urgent in nature. By mid-morning they had fizzled out and our morning count of Goldfinches had reached 1265, the vast majority heading into the easterly wind. They were joined by smaller numbers of Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Siskins, Linnets and Redpolls. Nearby a male Dartford Warbler was accompanied by a Wren (giving the Stonechats a day off), a late Willow Warbler pitched down into the lighthouse garden where three Firecrest entertained all comers.

Whereas the Goldfinches had largely packed it in for the day, the Chaffinches had just started. Flocks of spaced out sedateness flowing overhead - again eastwards - with groups strung out in parallel or linear order. They defied easy counting, being lost against an opaque pearly-white sky. When visual contact was made it soon became obvious that others were higher, or lower, or further away. After two hours the tap was turned off and over 3,000 had been counted. The odd Brambling was involved, including flocks of 10 and 6. The afternoon was further enlivened by the arrival of three continental Coal Tits, all bright individuals that gathered admirers as if they were of rarer fare.

The day ended under a gloomy sky with Martin C, at a viewpoint overlooking the egret roost. As the light bled from the day they started to arrive - urgent Littles and leisurely Greats, with a bonus Cattle. It was a record breaking count. 26 Little Egrets and 20 Great White Egrets were record counts for the site. A Merlin sped through and 2 Marsh Harriers disturbed the early roosters.

Just another day at Dungeness...

4 comments:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I don't know how you folk can pick these small birds up as they fly overhead

Arjun Dutta said...

I started by thinking you were talking about just another day skywatching from your garden; that left me amazed at first until I got to the Dartford Warbler!
Really nicely written!

Derek Faulkner said...

Blimey, 20 Great Whites must of been amazing.

Steve Gale said...

Thank you for your comments. Hopefully the next few days will produce more wonders to share.