Thursday, 11 January 2018

Sunday at Dungeness

A lot of people seem to have had a day at Dungeness on their New Year's menu. And with a few bits and bobs around, me, Dante, Josh and Niall K headed down there on Sunday. Being honest, it was a nice day with some good stuff seen in cold and extremely windy conditions. With Niall in tow, and a Dublin lad who doesn't see too many Casps, it was predictable that we'd start with the most showy and predictable Caspian Gull of this winter, a lovely 1st-winter that is regular at the fishing boats: -
1st-winter Caspian Gull Dungeness, Kent 7th January 2018
Moving on from there to The Patch, there was a swarm of gulls. Before we'd even got to the seawatching hide the juvenile Glaucous Gull was coasting over the power station before heading back towards the sea. With the conditions, there were a lot of birds about and in addition to the Glauc, the second-winter Iceland Gulls was picked up too. And an interesting adult Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull hybrid too. All nice stuff, but never that close and always looking into the light which is the case with The Patch on morning visits (unless overcast).

Heading onto the reserve, gull numbers were low. Perhaps they were all out feeding, taking advantage of the windy conditions, or it may just have been a bit too exposed. Four figure numbers of Cormorants were about on the island from Makepeace Hide while an assortment of wildfowl was decent enough - two Smew (a redhead and Dante's first white nun), a small flock of Goosander while a female ***** **** provided the young lad with an obligatory lifer.

Back at the fishing boats with Mick and Richard, conditions were a bit vile in the afternoon. Despite there being loads of gulls! Heavy spray due to high tide and strong winds meant there was no way any gulls were able to land on the beach. And so we had to settle for this lovely white-underwinged second-winter Caspian Gull, which admittedly didn't show the classic P10 mirrors: -
2nd-winter Caspian Gull Dungeness, Kent 7th January 2018
Anyway, after a while we settled for that as our lot. Ten species of gull for the day and some pleasant enough wildfowl. Dungeness is always a decent day out, but I do often feel like I should be in London looking at birds that nobody else has looked at.

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