Monday, 20 February 2017

The Bewick's leave!

I drove to the beach this morning through a blanket of mist without much enthusiasm but hoping the sea would be clear of fog, unfortunately the fog horn was blaring and my walk to the sea watch hide confirmed that sea watching was a non starter.
At Boulderwall I couldn't find the Ring-necked Duck though it was present this afternoon. Behind Cook's Pool 3 Ruff and 7 Curlew among the 100s of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Wigeon.
 Great Black-backed Gulls squabbling over the corpse of a Harbour Porpoise
As the red flags were down and the promise of nice weather and being a glutton for punishment I drove to Jury's Gap and walked to Galloways and back. I didn't see another person in the 3 hours it took me. Along the beach a dead porpoise was feeding a number of Gulls, 22 Sanderling were running along the shoreline and a flock of c150 Brent Geese flew east.
1 of 2 Redwing feeding along the green wall at The Midrips
On the ranges and the pools 2 Redwing feeding along the green wall and 14 singing Skylarks were the highlights, also seen a fly over Little Egret a site tick for me, 3 Stonechats, a Marsh Harrier, a Common Buzzard, 5 Grey Plover, a Dunlin, 18 Redshank, 6 Pintail, 24 Shoveler, 100+ Wigeon, 30+ Teal and 28 Shelduck.
The old ammunition railway on the ranges
I counted 14 semi inflated Happy Meal balloons and numerous other sorts along the beach
He thought no one could see him!
Mid afternoon at the ARC from the causeway I counted 74 Bewick Swans, certainly my highest count of the year at Dungeness. While counting them I noticed a chap clamber down the bank by the screen hide totally oblivious to the fact that he was disturbing the Bewick Swans and that my camera was pointing in his direction. 
2w Iceland Gull at the fishing boats
At the fishing boats there were a few Gulls around  so I threw out some bread, within seconds the gorgeous 2w Iceland Gull appeared, shame the skies had clouded over. 
2w Iceland Gull

The last 14 Bewick Swans heading out to sea
By the time I got back to the ARC Hanson Hide where I joined RW, there were only 14 Bewick Swans left including 3 juveniles, apparently the others had gone out to sea earlier. A Bittern flew from the ARC to the Tower Pits, a Great White Egret appeared in the reeds, a Marsh Harrier flew over and finally at 17.15 the remaining 14 Bewick Swans flew off out to sea, the start of there long and perilous journey to northern Russia, lets hope they have a safe journey and return to Walland Marsh in November with plenty more juveniles.

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