Sunday, 18 March 2012

Garganey, Glossies & Geese


First of I just want to mention I had my first Wheatear of the year yesterday (Friday) on my way to work along the Ancient Highway between Deal and Sandwich at 5.30 by the Clay Pigeon Shoot. Today I met Alan at the gate at Grove Ferry and we made our way to the Ramp in hope of connecting with the pair of Garganey that Chiddy found earlier in the week. Apart from Cetti’s and Water Rail singing, one of the first birds seen was a Bittern flying from the Feat hide pool over the main reed bed and out towards Seaton. Other birds noted whilst on the ramp included 8 Marsh Harriers, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck, 4 Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and a drake Wigeon but, no sign of any Garganey. 
male Tufted Duck
Just as we were leaving the Ramp a small gaggle of Geese flew in and soon revealed themselves to be 7 Pink-footed Geese that came over our heads and headed towards Stodmarsh/Collard’s. A quick look in Feast hide added a further 8 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochards and 3 Little Grebes. Not a lot else to add until Marsh Hide, just a few Skylark in song and a Kestrel over then at Marsh Hide we added 7 Ruff, 4 Redshank, 2 Little Egrets, 14 Snipe, 1 drake Pintail, 3 Garganey including 2 drakes, 30 Water Pipits and a distant view of the two Glossy Ibises dropping on to the Water Meadows.

drake Shoveler showing it's true colours

drake Shoveler showing it's true colours
Sue Morton joined Alan and I in the hide  having just seen the two Garganey from the Ramp confirming that 5 birds are present. The walk round through the Alder Wood and along the Lampen Wall was very quiet with just another 4 Pochard and 21 Tufted Duck on the lake alongside 4 Great-crested Grebes. At the Water Meadows we soon located the 2 adult Glossy Ibises close to the path near to the Oxbow obscured partially by trees and passing 3 singing Chiffchaffs en-route. Six Grey Herons were noted throughout the morning as well as 3 Green Sandpipers, 3 Sparrowhawks and 4 Green Woodpeckers. Back on the Ramp Alan spotted the 2nd calendar male Hen Harrier out towards the Boat House while Grey Wagtails seemed to be on the move with two south over the ramp followed by a further 3 west 10 minutes later. A single Curlew flying west was last to make the note book before we departed. On the way through Sandwich I had 2 male Wheatears on Dickson's Corner along the Ancient Highway but they didn't allow a photo.

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