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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Dungeness and Rye Harbour

April 20th
Dungeness Beach

I started pretty early at Dungeness, around 7.00am, the idea being a sea watch and then move onto the reserve, the weather was very bright right from the start, not ideal for sea watching. Positioning myself near the patch, there were hordes of Common Terns feeding, I was hopeful of a Skua coming in closer or perhaps some passage.
After an hour I realised there was not much movement, in total 26 Gannets, 10 Common Scoter, a Harbour Porpoise and a single distant Fulmar was the pick of the bunch. Great Crested Grebes seemed to be everywhere; certainly 60+ but the real numbers were the Commic Tern flocks. There was a constant number at the patch(40ish) with the same number resting up on the beach, further out to sea, large flocks were moving west sometimes 70 strong.

Moving on to the scrub produced 2 Black Redstarts, 2 singing Wheatears and a male Stonechat, given the weather I would have expected more migrants on show, Linnet as usual were common. It was still pretty early so likely many hadn’t found their voices yet.

From here I moved on to the….


From the start there were good numbers of Sedge Warblers, it was still pretty early, hardly anyone present so I walked a circular walk.

Distant Raven

Highlights included a Ring Ouzel initially chucking away under a bush, then seen briefly flying to cover, also a flyover Raven.
Others seen included

Swallow – perhaps 20 birds went through
Yellow Wagtail – 2 over
Ringed Plover – 2
Mediterranean Gull – pair
Wheatear – 2
Cetti’s Warbler – 5

No sign of the Bittern although I understood it was heard.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
I popped into the Reserve as it is pretty close; I also wanted to try some different settings on the camera. My arrival coincided with a high tide, the newly created habitat flooded nicely and looks very good, once vegetation takes a hold it should be an ideal habitat for waders.
2 Wheatears were seen as I walked out to the hides, overhead and on the islands the noise was incredible, mainly Black Headed Gulls but backed up by Common and Sandwich Tern.
The far hide produced a group of 8 Bar Tailed Godwits resting up on one of the islands, no doubt migrant birds on their way to their breeding grounds.

Bar Tailed Godwit

No luck with any Raptors or such like despite the blue skies, a strong westerly wind put paid to anything coming over the Channel.


  1. Great report Dave with some nice birds as well seen. Love the shots, especially the Wheatear, great colours.

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    2. Marc, thanks slowly getting there, I dont think I'll ever match your Ring Ouzel header shot, stunning.