Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dungeness - Buff-breasted Sandpiper

I'll have to remind myself about the fortuitousness nature of this one and how it went some way to banishing the disappointments of recent failed missions.  A little late starting out after Friday drinks yesterday evening, the head was feeling a little tender, but the plan was to get out and see something new.

A Buff-breasted Sandpiper had arrived at Dungeness yesterday afternoon and was still present this morning.  The weather wasn't great in London but was agreeably pleasant on the promontory of Dungeness, warm sunshine coupled with a keen but warm southerly breeze.

I decided to head for the Makepeace Hide where the neartic wader had been reliably observed during the length of its short stay.  It was picked up distantly on one of the islands half way out on Burrowes Pit where it was evident that the bird was extremely mobile.  I decided to stay put while the other birders made for the Firth hide.

It was only after a couple of minutes or so when I picked up the sandpiper right in front of the hide.  Bizarrely, there was no one else with me to share the moment.  Predictably, it took flight and headed further along the pit where it fed voraciously along the edge of the shingle, had a quick wash, and then headed off high to the west.  It was not seen again!

Also on the shingle islands were a scattering of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, and at least one Little Stint.  Four Black Tern were present in front of the hide.

The walk round the reserve was a soporific one, no passerines of note, but three Great White Egret were present on Denge Marsh along with a Ruff, four Marsh Harrier, and 12 Common Snipe.

At Boulderwell Farm, the Cattle Egret finally showed itself as it perched up on a gate before flying across to the ARC Pit.  Three Little Egret completed the hat-trick.

Five Bar-tailed Godwit were roosting on islands from the Hanson ARC hide.

The NNR down the road was particularly quiet apart from two Northern Wheatear and two Arctic Skua past the seawatching hides.

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