Sunday 7 January 2018

Good birding at Dungeness

Had a nice day at Dungeness with Rich, Dante and Niall. En route we stopped at Crayford, where a Mediterranean Gull was seen among the good numbers of congregated birds at Jolly Farmers.

Then it was down to a rather breezy Dungeness fishing boats, where the regular Caspian Gull was still performing well - this bird is easily the most photographed Casp in Britain this winter and has probably been seen by hundreds of birders since it turned up in September. Still, it's a very elegant individual and always worth photographing.

2cy Caspian Gull, Dungeness, 7 January 2018

Moving down to The Patch revealed thousands of gulls feeding around the outflow, although the light was challenging to say the least. Thankfully the regular juvenile Glaucous Gull performed well overhead, although the 3cy Iceland Gull was a little more difficult to pick out among the throng. An adult hybrid Black-headed x Mediterranean Gull was the first I've seen of this cross in Britain (I'd previously seen a couple in Ireland, both on the same weekend trip).

2cy Glaucous Gull, Dungeness, 7 January 2018

The RSPB reserve was somewhat devoid of gulls, yet the presence of a drake and redhead Smew, a female Ruddy Duck (my first in the UK for some years) and a bunch of Goosander were pleasant.

After a quick trip to Lade for some stodge from the local store it was back to the fishing boats, where Mick, Richard et al were photographing a very smart 3cy Caspian Gull on arrival. No hint of a p10 mirror, it was otherwise a very contrasted and crisp bird that was easily picked out from among the Herrings with the naked eye. It was blowing an absolute gale from the ENE, which made photography a real challenge given the position of the sun.

3cy Caspian Gull, Dungeness, 7 January 2018

With nothing else on show, I took some photographs of the gulls floating in the gale. There was evidently quite a lot of food washing up on the beach as the gulls were actively feeding ... and ignoring the less appetising loaves we were chucking out!

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