Monday, 12 January 2015

Weekend treats in Kent and East Sussex

So Saturday's highlight was this...

Seriously, the local birding was grim on Saturday. Cold and grim. Just a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and 64 Black-tailed Godwits at Crossness, and then in Rotherhithe a decent count of a handful of Great Black-backed Gulls and 49 Tufted Ducks. And with no sign of the Mediterranean Gull, I resigned myself to reading rings on Egyptian Geese. So on that note, I decided that I really needed a change and got out of London on Sunday.
Name that foot... Egyptian Goose
Setting off early on my lonesome in beautiful sunlight, I arrived in coastal East Sussex at just before 9.30am. On arrival, the 1st-winter Lesser Yellowlegs was showing really nicely on pools just inland of the sea embankment at Pett Level; always nice to see, and having not seen one in the autumn, a yank wader fix was needed. A really birdy area too, with loads of Wigeon, Teal and Lapwings - last time I was here was back in 1997 when I was looking for a Spur-winged Plover. Time flies.
1st-winter Lesser Yellowlegs Pett Level, East Sussex 11th January 2015
And heading 20 minutes or so east, and back to familiar territory. Having previously resisted on having a look on previous visits to Dungess, this time I gave in - and the two Cattle Egrets performed nicely. If that's what you like I suppose. But, seriously, they weren't too bad and they did show rather well as they fed in the field of crap amongst some frisky cows.
Cattle Egrets near Dungeness, Kent 11th January 2015
That was that, all the dirty twitching over. And so speeding past the RSPB reserve, neglecting any Smew or Great White Egrets on offer, I met up with Mick S at the point where I spent the afternoon doing what I enjoy most - gulling. It was pretty quiet in all fairness, with little coming down to the bait. The Great Black-backed Gulls loved it, including a regular ringed bird that I still haven't traced its origin.

And then, just as the light was fading, I picked up this Caspian Gull to save the day. One of these a weekend really does ease the burden of going back to work on a Monday morning, particularly when it looks as stonking as this dude.
1st-winter Caspian Gull Dungeness, Kent 11th January 2015

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