Red-crested pochard – one on Denge Marsh from 19th. Red-breasted merganser – two on Burrowes pit on 26th. Black-necked grebe – one on Denge Marsh on 21st. Bittern – one seen at Denge Marsh on most days. Great white egret – present on Denge Marsh on most days. Merlin – one flew over on 26th. Hobby – seen on most days. Avocet – six at the ARC site on 22nd. Golden plover – 50 on the ARC pit on 21st. Little stint – two at the ARC site on 26h. Pectoral sandpiper – one seen at the eastern end of the ARC pit on 25th and 26th. Ruff – two at the ARC site on 24th. Black-tailed godwit and bar-tailed godwit – several at the ARC site on 24th. Spotted redshank – two at the ARC site on 26th. Greenshank – one at the ARC site on 22nd. Little gull – two at the ARC site on 21st. Black tern – up to four over the ARC pit all week. Kingfisher – one at Hooker’s pits all week. Sand martin – a few through all week. House martin – 50+ over Burrowes pit on 26th. Common redstart – one near the access track on 21st. Whinchat – one on the return trail on 26th. Stonechat – one near Denge Marsh hide on 24th. Wheatear – one near the access track on 23rd. Redwing – one on the return trail on 26th. Willow warbler – one or two around the site all week. Chiffchaff – several all week. Yellowhammer – one on the return trail on 22nd.
I spent a very pleasant hour at the ARC site yesterday evening. On arrival at the hide I just had time to count the 50 golden plovers dotted around the islands before a juvenile marsh harrier flew across and flushed them off towards Lydd. When everything else settled down again I spotted a redshank amongst the numerous lapwings. Four little egrets fed close to the hide and several reed and sedge warblers flitted around in the reeds, some just a few feet away. As the sun set two juvenile little gulls and two juvenile black terns were feeding over the east end of the pit in the last of the golden light and a bunch of rowdy greylag geese dropped in to roost. Lovely.
Elsewhere on the reserve a red-crested pochard and a black-necked grebe were on Denge Marsh, a curlew was on Burrowes pit, a young great-spotted woodpecker was at Boulderwall Farm and a redstart was seen near the access track.
Unfortunately, the glossy ibises have now moved on but there is still plenty to see around the site. The great white egret was seen on New Excavations this morning and a black-necked grebe was on Burrowes pit. Other highlights over the past couple of days have included hen harrier, merlin, little gull and black tern.
We all had a big surprise yesterday when reports came in of a large flock of 18 glossy ibis seen flying over the reserve towards the ARC pits. They remained there for some time before moving on after persistent harrassment from a peregrine falcon. Despite separating a couple of individuals from the main flock, they all managed to regroup later on and remained on site for the rest of the day in the fields near Boulderwall Farm. All 18 birds have been sighted today, having been seen on Denge Marsh, over Hookers and, again, feeding around the fields and pools outside Boulderwall Farm at the reserve entrance.
These birds are the same which have been seen in Devon over the last few days and large flocks of any size in Britain are virtually unheard of, making this quite a remarkable event.
There were masses of birds on the move yesterday - even the great white egret moved from Denge Marsh to the ARC pit! Raptors were most noticeable with 11 common buzzards and eight sparrowhawks drifting over throughout the day. Three hobbies, a merlin and a peregrine added to the excitement and a honey buzzard was seen over Dungeness point.
The pectoral sandpiper was still on the ARC pit along with 30 knot, a little stint, several black-tailed and bar-tailed godwits, a ruff, a little gull and three black terns.
A juvenile pied flycatcher spent the day in the bushes by the main car park and yellow wagtail, redstart, whinchat, wheatear, lesser whitethroat, willow warbler and chiffchaff could be found around the trail.
Waves of swallows and sand martins passed through all day along with a few house martins and swifts.