Saturday, 26 May 2018
Dungeness mid-May birds
A bit late, but here is a brief account of my recent week at Dungeness (May 15th - 23rd).
Passerine migrants were really hard to come by. Most species numbers were lower than to be expected, especially hirundines and Sedge Warbler. Frequent searches of the scrub were largely disappointing. A modest, but varied passage of waders was experienced, with Whimbrel, Knot, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Avocet all enjoyable components, along with the star billing, a Kentish Plover (below). This bird was the first to be recorded at Dungeness for 13 years - I would see KPs on an annual basis here back in the 1970s and 1980s. My resolve not to twitch was tested on May 19th when a Terek Sandpiper turned up at Rye - I cracked. It was more than agreeable (above)!
Sea watching was surprisingly good for so late in the season, with 'Commic' terns on the move in their thousands (both Common and Arctic seen), and with them were good numbers of Black. I even managed to jam into a latish Pomarine Skua, while the DBO unprecedented run on Manx Shearwaters continued. Little Gulls were also present throughout, although most were to be found on the RSPB reserve (below).
A brief flighty Hoopoe (18th), a close encounter with a Bee-eater (19th) and a slow-moving Honey-buzzard (23rd) were the cherries on the top of another fascinating late-spring stay.