Sunday, 26 August 2012

Plodding Around and Water Rail first for me

The Midrips
Thinking that Dungeness would be swamped with visitors this morning I decided to go to The Midrips for a quiet morning. The pools held a few waders 156 Dunlin, 72 Ringed Plover, 4 Common Sandpipers, 3 Curlew, 1 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 40+ Golden Plover over, 4 Wheatears and a steady westerly passage of Sand Martins. Last Thursday evening CT had rung me about a Ring Tail Harrier he had seen there, but as we had seen a Ring Tail Hen Harrier close by that afternoon left it at that.

Hen Harrier
 As I made my way along the sea wall I had to brief distant views of a Harrier which looked to me like Hen Harrier. Shortly after CT caught up with me and we sat on the sea wall by the third pool. After while a Harrier was seen distantly being chased by a Sparrowhawk towards Galloways where it disappeared. Shortly another Harrier was seen coming from that direction and eventually flew quite close and was definitely a Hen Harrier. As we watched it hunting round the back of the pools another very gingery Harrier came in a juvenile Montagu's Harrier. The bird appeared to be catching what we assume were Dragonflys and taking them back to the bank to consume them, which it did on at least a dozen occasions. While watching the Harrier we also saw a Hobby, Merlin, Kestrel and a Marsh Harrier. Nearby at Scotney GP 100+ Golden Plover and 60+ Yellow Wagtails.
A very poor distant record of Juvenile Montagu's Harrier
 A visit to the ARC Pit found 1 Ruff and 1 Common Sandpiper at the south end. From Hanson 26 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Black Tailed Godwit and 3+ Garganey.
Water Rail Chick
 A text from SB about some Water Rail chicks at Scott hide was irresistable as I have never seen the chicks before. Fortunately as soon as I arrived on site 2 chicks were showing through the reeds. A brilliant first for me.


  1. Fantastic Martin, such a priviledge to see a Water rail let alone chicks of this secretive bird. Is this a second brood or do they breed this late?

    1. Hi Mike, I have to be honest, I have no idea about the breeding habits of Water rails.