Friday, 2 June 2017

Dungeness RSPB, 1st June - Surprise!

This morning we set off to Dungeness, which is another reserve which I'd never visited before. After stopping briefly in Ashford, we continued on and accidentally missed a turn. From the trees ahead, I saw a white bird appear. I sat up, as I was wary of Cattle Egrets, but I thought it was a Little Egret. Suddenly, as it went in front of the car, 10m or so up, I realised. BARN OWL!!!!
And it was gone. Although it was slightly odd as it was 11:07 in the morning, it is a day flying owl, so it wasn't ridiculous.
When we arrived at midday, we started to drive down the mile road leading to the visitor centre when a bird caught the corner of my eye. I turned hurriedly to glimpse it plunge into the high grass. When I had been allowed to leave the car after asking to get out, it came out.
After none in my life, 2 in one hour! It was an amazing sight, as several birders got out to watch it hunting over the road and fields, then disappear into the distance. A few awful but precious pictures as it flew around.

Barn Owl- it's not smoking but it seems to be the tail of a
vole/mouse which it had caught!

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl
While watching it, I was amazed to hear a Dartford Warbler behind - when I eventually tried to find it again it wasn't there, so no proof meaning no addition to my life list. What a cracking start to the day!
From the Firth Hide, there was unfortunately no sign of yesterday's Ortolan Bunting so I missed that rarity. 2 Avocet were there however, and there were lots of Shelduck.



Further around, a few insects were seen.

Green tiger Beetle
Silver-studded Blue

Silver Studded Blue
Small Tortoiseshell

Moth sp. - would be grateful for help on ID
Raptors began to flow, with 2 Marsh Harriers patrolling distantly. 

Marsh Harrier
There seemed to be countless Sedge and Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and Chaffinch everywhere. 

m Chaffinch

Sedge Warbler

 Around 30 Whitethroat were also seen.

Another Marsh Harrier soared distantly. 

Marsh Harrier
A few more things seen at the Denge marsh hide. 

Great Crested Grebe

Painted Lady

Little Egret

Lackey Moth butterfly
Further on, it started with 1 Hobby, then turned to 3 to 5 to 6. They never stop darting about, so I couldn't get a great picture. 


Hobby feeding
After watching Springwatch, we weren't surprised to see this covering a few bushes. 

A Sedge Warbler did a display flight in front of us, then sang in a tree. 

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler
A fair number of Cetti's Warbler were noticed, and 2+ Cuckoo sang infrequently. A pair of Linet were added to the list, and a Hobby perched on a dead tree around 200m away. (How a helpful old woman spotted this I don't know!) 


Hobby preening
We had heard that the 'rarer' birds included an Ortolan Bunting, 2 Great White Egrets - one of which did a fly-by but seemed to go towards Rye Harbour - and a Rose-Coloured Starling. When I spoke to a few birders, they had lost the Starling. On the way back, I spotted a small group of Starlings, with a few young birds and a pinkish bird, which I thought was this bird. Just as I focused on it, it went to the ground and then flew off 10 minutes later. Very frustrating. I can't add that to my life list yet. 

juv Starling


Silver-studded Blue
A great day, and a great place. I can only hope to come here more often. 
With exams coming up, I probably won't be posting often at all now, as I probably won't be heading to parks in spare time.


  1. Great pictures Arjun!!Thank you for sharing it with me...Sorry for the late comments.


    1. Hi Annuar!
      Thanks for commenting; missing Malaysia very much.
      I will definitely continue to keep in contact!