Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunshine weekend at Dungeness

October the 3rd and 4th. I've seen a few good birds this time of year; but not when you can sit on the beach and bask in the sunshine...

1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull Dungeness 3rd October 2015
High pressure and forgetting what rain looks like were the main reasons for this. Nevertheless, you make of things what you can. And so after an open morning at school yesterday, I managed to get to Dungeness early afternoon and join Mick S and Richard S. Deckchairs at the ready, we sat out in the sunshine and enjoyed a few bits - namely a showy 1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull and a handful of rings (including Great Black-backed Gulls from Norway and Guernsey).
Great Black-backed Gull (JP281) Dungenes 3rd October 2015 - born in Vest-Agder, Norway in 2011, and seen again there this summer. It has been a regular at Dungeness each winter since 2012.
And today the weather was as equally nice, if not a bit brighter and with less wind. John A and I arrived at Dungeness mid morning, and flogged Dengemarsh first - quite a few Wheatears as well as a load of Meadow Pipits and Swallows passing through. A walk around near the observatory produced a good number of Goldcrests while the real highlight of the day was a 'continental' Coal Tit, part of the influx this week (which included one with a Belgian ring). Stonechats were pretty active, and there were also a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Otherwise, quiet but nice to be out in what could be one of the last warm, sunny days of the year.

'continental' Coal Tit Dungeness 4th October 2015 - cold grey upperparts and relatively concolourous flanks and underparts
And then it was on predictably to the gulls. I only stuck it out a couple of hours, but in that time a 2nd-winter Yellow-legged Gull turned up in the melee briefly. But unlike last weekend, no Caspian Gulls seemed to be about.
2nd-winter Yellow-legged Gull Dungeness 4th October 2015
On the way back to the car, five Wheatears seemed intent on enjoying the late afternoon rays by the fishing boats; potentially the last that they'll get here in Britain as they seemed intent on sniffing out La Manche...
Northern Wheatear Dungeness 4th October 2015
I'd be hopeful there may be more October quality for next weekend, but let's wait and see.

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