A 260 mile round trip yesterday produced two new British birds and a lifer! My youngest son, Nolan and I set off at a fairly civilized time of 07:00 am; en-route to Kent. First on the agenda was a Kentish Plover reported at Swalecliffe. On arrival (09:00 am) we met one of the patch watchers on this site who told us the bird had not been seen. He informed us that birds would start to show soon as the tide was turning, though we were about an hour early for that. With that in mind we headed south to Dover to chase another rarity.
A small group of birders were already gathered at Samphire Hoe Country Park and it was only minutes before we connected with a female WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT! This individual played hide and seek for most of our 40 minute vigil and only afforded me a small window to snap a quick record shot. Cracking bird, my only other was a trapped bird in Russia in 2000.
|Rye Bay Nature Reserve|
As there was no news on the Kentish Plover at Swalecliffe from the RBA, we decided to head west to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve in East Sussex where two Kentish Plovers had been reported. While walking out to the site at Rye we spoke to a few birders who said one of the Kentish Plovers was around but was elusive. It took about 40 minutes to finally connect with this bird, which was hidden in with some Dunlin behind what looked like a railway sleeper. Our only view, initially, was this individual poking its head up for a split second from time to time. After about twenty minutes of wiping my watering eyes in the cold and wind, the group of Dunlin flew to some shingle. Scanning through I finally got my first decent look at my lifer KENTISH PLOVER! The distance was too far for my camera but had good views through my scope.
With two good birds in the bag we decided to chance our luck and have a third attempt at locating the over wintering Glaucous Gull at Dungeness. We made a very quick pit-stop at RSPB Dungeness to see if the reported Garganey and Penduline Tits were still around. No re-sighting of Garganey on Denge Marsh and the Penduline Tits were not showing. Onward's! At Dungeness point I scanned through three roosting groups of gulls with no luck. One bird flying away from the last group caught my attention, especially when it banked and I caught sight of its primary feathers: GLAUCOUS GULL!
I made my way over the shingle bank to the sea where I got great views of this gull flying up and down the beach; finally flying out to an incoming fishing boat.