Wednesday, 19 October 2016

In Search of Migrants at Dungeness

5th October 2016

After two days of easterly winds it seemed a good idea to head to Dungeness in search of some migrants. The main problem was that it was still blowing a Force 5 and therefore most self-respecting birds would be hunkered down  at the base of a bush and not venture out. This certainly appeared to be the case when we first arrived. A quick look round the old lighthouse garden drew a blank on the two Yellow-browed Warblers that had been seen the day before, so we set off for The Moat.

There were three Stonechats present but all flighty and covering a large area of ground. We also saw very briefly one of the pair of Black Redstarts, but this was flushed back to the power station by the ringers beating the bushes leading up to the heligoland trap.

There was one Chiffchaff, however, which was quite obliging and flitted round in a bramble bush by the road to the observatory.

On the way back to the car we checked out the gorse bushes by the cafe and found a number of Goldcrests. They, of course, showed no fear but it was sometimes a long wait before they stuck their head out.

Now on to the RSPB reserve and we were still driving up the track when we came across a female Kestrel hanging on to a tree for dear life. I stopped the car, got out, opened the boot and got my camera out. So far so good. I then started to take some shots, edging forward as I went. The bird was obviously more concerned about being blown away than worrying about my presence so I was able to get some reasonable shots.

But the star of the show today was one of two Wheatears that was feeding on the bank by the Makepeace Hide and absolutely glistening in the sun. What a wonderful way to end the day.

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