Monday, 28 September 2015

The pleasures of Dungeness

Well, that's a pretty enjoyable week. A lot has already been said about Dunge's potential first for Britain - which if not already confirmed on features, should be once the analysis of its excrement comes back. I was speaking to the finder Martin Casemore about the gripping discovery yesterday afternoon, and it was great to hear from the horse's mouth how it all unfolded. I'm just eternally grateful the bird decided to pitch up next to him while he was seawatching - just 50 metres on by the next fishing boat, and it probably would never have happened. Here's a couple of photos of the Acadian Flycatcher from later that afternoon: -

Acadian Flycatcher, 1st-winter, Dungeness, Kent September 2015 - note the stocky, slightly decurved bill, greenish tinge to the upperparts, long wings, pale lower mandible and peaked crown
And so it was Sunday came, and with significantly better weather! Breezy and bright - too much wind for the gulls to be able to land on the exposed beach. And so myself, Mick S and Richard S retreated to 'the puddles' in our cars just behind the beach. As usual, Mick S baited the gulls with some fish scraps and the like and despite there being absolutely nothing in the way of Caspian Gulls at Dungeness since April, two appeared in the bright evening light. I picked up this 2nd-winter bird first: -

2nd-winter Caspian Gull, Dungeness, Kent September 2015
And then Dave W and Mick S located a really showy 1st-winter bird that was aggressive, loud and albatross-like i.e. everything you want in a Casp: -

1st-winter Caspian Gull, Dungeness, Kent September 2015
Though there was a paucity of rings, this 1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull was also present: -
1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull, Dungeness, Kent September 2015
Looking forward to next weekend and probably another fun packed time with the gulls at Dunge. Seems like the lack of rain in the forecast will keep passerines to be found pretty thin on the ground. There's always the hope of a mega displacing me too, though with the Acadian Flycatcher, I'd have shaken on just that at the start of this month.

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