As of 10 November 2015, a total of 430 species have been recorded this year

Total Pageviews

Monday, 12 July 2010

An afternoon spent in East Kent - LGRE


A belt of showery rain moved west from the continent overnight and reached as far west as Buckinghamshire before petering out. It barely wet the ground and after the front had moved through, the heat returned and afternoon temperatures quickly climbed once more to 25 degrees C. I had reserved the afternoon for a visit to east Kent, where the wide-ranging WHITE-TAILED PLOVER of late had chosen Dungeness ARC Pit as its latest reside.........

Whilst driving SE along the M20, an adult summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL flew south over the motorway about 5 miles east of Ashford.


I arrived on site early afternoon and was very pleased to see the WHITE-TAILED PLOVER showing very well in shallow water in a marshy area of the reserve at the north end of the ARC Pit. It was feeding on Medicinal Leeches which it was retrieving from the mud and these were huge and an ample meal - the plover looked as though it was really enjoying them and eventually swallowed them whole.

After one such meal and a hasty drink, it was chased by two of three Oystercatchers and flew out over the pool and went further south. Its flight at times was somewhat reminiscent of the delayed flapping of Common Sandpiper and as it flew away and across the hide view, superb views were obtained of its very distinctive upperwing profile and white tail. Both Dave Walker and Mike McKee were taking photographs, DW obtaining some excellent flight shots. It eventually landed on the well vegetated islands some 3-400 yards out and then remained there for the next couple of hours or more, often out of view for long periods of time.

The ARC Pit also yielded Little Egret, 82 Mute Swans, 28 Northern Pochard, 2 Gadwall, Little Ringed Plover, 7 Oystercatchers, Green Sandpiper and singing Sedge Warbler.

I then spent from 1500-1800 hours at Denge Marsh, where in quite strong SW winds, 1-2 HOBBIES were showing well (mainly flycatching over the marsh but also perching on fenceposts), a male Sparrowhawk flew by, Yellow Wagtails and Reed Buntings were on view continuously and Marsh Harriers included at least one recently fledged juvenile. The Great White Egret was extremely elusive but the newsbreaking PURPLE HERONS put on a reasonably good display. In all, I saw the two adults on six occasions, one bird still in relatively good plumage condition and the other heavily worn with flight feathers missing. The behaviour though suggested to me that the nesting attempt had failed as there was no active feeding going on at the nest (unless of course the young have fledged). On at least one occasion, both adults were put up by a female Marsh Harrier quartering low over the reedbed.

No comments:

Post a Comment