After an uneventful morning yesterday along Sandbanks Lane, Graveney to Faversham Creek I needed to see some birds so I headed down to Dungeness. First stop was at the ARC and a walk down to the screen hide as 3 marshes harriers were circling the area. They never approached near enough for the camera so I turned back just after seeing two chiffchaffs in the bushes. I then went to the fishing boats but all was quiet so I indulged in some other photography.....a long way to go I think!
I hoped to see a Caspian Gull but there were no gulls flocks at this time so I moved on down to the lighthouse but it didn't look promising either so I headed over to the RSPB stopping at the roadside to look over the ARC. A huge flock of at least 300 gadwall were all milling around together and in the southern corner plus one redhead smew and half a dozen goldeneye.. At the RSPB reserve I walked the circuit and from the first hide saw two chiffchaffs, one GW Egret, one black-necked grebe plus lots of wigeon, coots, shoveler etc.
Great White Egret
Called in at the other hides but nothing really different but at Denge Marsh hide the 3 marsh harriers were active putting up the ducks and lapwings plus a peregrine went past carrying a small duck. Arriving back at the car I returned to the ARC and the Hanson Hide. Another chiffchaff, a flock of l.t.tits with blue and great tits and the usual duck which were put up by a marsh harrier again.
The weather had perked up a bit so I thought I would give the fishing boats and gull flocks another try. On route to the southern end of ARC I stopped to pick out 3 smew plus a GWE. Upon arrival, I met Martin Casemore leaving the beach car park who told me Mick Southcott and Richard Smith had seen a juvenile Caspian Gull in the flock earlier. With a spring in my step I met up with Mick and Richard who were parked up, Richard in the back covered in loaves of bread etc and Mick in the front. Of coarse, no gulls were present but with a little enticement they returned after 20 -30 minutes and amongst them the juv. Caspian (1st winter) quickly pointed out by Mick. The cameras were busy for a good twenty minutes plus plenty of time to get acquainted with the plumage differences to the herring gulls.
Long neck and bill, flatter forehead, 'anchor' marks on scapulars.
Whitish head and much paler overall
The legs are supposed to be longer but not readily apparent
Underwing and flanks rather pale c/p to herring gull below
Looked bigger than the herring gulls
Darkish scarf/boa around lower neck seen on shot below
Fairly clean rump and tailband
The day ended on a high as it was a bird I needed for my Kent List, many thanks to Mick and Richard.