Thursday, 31 July 2014

Pas de Calais and Dungeness!

On Wednesday we had a trip to the Pas de Calais going there with absolutely no expectations. With a light NW wind blowing we went straight to Cap Gris Nez but tourists outnumbered the birds. We moved onto Tardinghen to check out the pools and reed bed for future visits spring and autumn.
Blanc Nez was also very busy with tourists though several Common Buzzards were observed there. 
Next stop was Guines Forest, which due to time of day and year was fairly quiet, but 2 Honey Buzzards gave us great views as did many butterflys. 
From the forest we drove the short distance to the boardwalk, Where Kingfisher, Great White Egret, juvenile Icterine Warbler, Spotted flycatchers and 6 Marsh Harriers were the highlights.
Our last stop was Oye Plage where at least 8 each of Common and Green Sandpipers, several Avocets, Little Egrets and a flock of 20 Spoonbills. On the beach Little Terns were feeding young, we also found at least 4 Kentish Plovers with at least 2 fluff balls, which was a great finish to a great day out recording 95 species  for the day.
Honey Buzzards Guines Forest

20 Spoonbills Oye Plagae
Clouded Yellow Guines Boardwalk
Silver-washed Fritillary Guines

First thing this morning I walked up to the pines, recording 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Willow Warblers, 10+ Common Whitethroats, 4 Sedge Warblers 2 Marsh Harriers, c100 Sand Martins. From the Screen 2 Garganey, 3 Common Snipe, a Ruff and c150 Lapwing of note.
The Patch was disappointing with only c50 Common Terns among the usual commoner Gulls, also a Grey Seal there.
I joined The Joker (he had just found the newly arrived Great White Egret from the ramp) for a drive down to Dengemarsh Gully and Galloways. The Gully was very disappointing with just a handful of Linnets seen. Galloways was no better with just a Wheatear and Linnets. 
This afternoon a walk along The Midrips which looks excellent for waders was also disappointing, seeing 1 Common Sandpiper, 14 Redshank, 12 Dunlin and 19 Avocet. It seems that 2 pairs of Avocet successfully bred there, along the green wall there many Small Tortoiseshells. 
At Pigwell which looks good not a single wader not even a Lapwing!
Late afternoon on the reserve 2 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Garganey, a Black-necked Grebe and a Black tern were noted.
This evening at the ARC the only change was the addition of 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Green Sandpiper flew over.
 Garganey from Firth
 Little Ringed Plover from Firth
 Wood Sandpipers from Firth

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