Sunday 18 November 2012

Kent winger and wheatear

I headed out of London today with John A, under crisp blue skies. After a good old Sausage and Egg McMuffin stop on the outskirts of Ashford, it was inevitable that the lighthouse garden at Dunge was void of the Pallas' Warbler. We realised that within a few minutes, and left the crowd who perhaps didn't realise the obvious. And then we located the longstaying Glaucous Gull on the beach by the fishing boats; in tow were two of those pesky photographers, namely Mick S and Jono. So, instead of taking a photo of them and complaining to Birdforum, I employed the usual field skills and got amongst it too. Look at this bad boy, back for its 3rd winter: -

3rd winter Glaucous Gull, Dungeness
There was a stonking male Black Redstart by the fishing huts too, and a visit to Lade produced a rather distant but still smart looking juvenile Long-tailed Duck. With plans to do the RSPB reserve and a load of GWEs saved for next time, we headed off east rather casually on news of an Asian Desert Warbler near Dover. As John and I had both seen the species before, with continued negative news, we chalked it and went north to Sheppey, where we thought we'd get blinding views of a stonking Desert Wheatear in the crisp late a'noon light.

Instead, we were accompanied on our walk down from Harty church by a couple of chumps that loved telling us about how they'd seen the Abberton Desert Wheatear, and then delivered blows of identifying a flock of Woodpigeons as Golden Plovers, and a close group of Reed Buntings as Redwings. As the bloke who called all us birders @r$eholes earlier this week would say 'some people never learn'...
Desert Wheatear, Shell Ness
Right, now the Desert Wheatear. For sure a stonking 1st-winter male, but with a rather large dyke in the way it was only going to be scope views and poor record shots. So, that's the end of the autumn for sure - this species is notorious for delivering the final nail in autumn's coffin and the harbinger of another long, dark and larid-filled winter.

Nice to get out of London for a bit, though rather a lot of driving so looking forward to next weekend where - unless the proverbial hits the fan (everyone's talking Grosbeaks apart from me) - I'll be on the tip and staying local.
shingle ridge at Dungeness early morning


  1. It's never been easier to twitch rarities - i do'nt think you should until you have seen most of the resident breeding species that way you would be a bit more familiar and not make the mistakes those 'chumps' did! I wonder whether they took any notes of their DW......

    Nice shingle shot. brings back memories...

    ATB Laurie -

  2. Aaaah so you also saw your fair share of chomps over the weekend; can't go anywhere on the mainland without them these days!!

  3. Could you tell me the name of the two birds on the RHS of your blog at Cape Verde and Malaysia. Thanks Allan