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Entries by Patrick Bonham (50)


Dungeness today

In a valiant effort to include some Kent news on this forum, we had a great morning at Dungeness RSPB today, with lovely views of a Black-throated Diver, a Slavonian Grebe, a Bittern (on the ARC) and the long-staying drake Smew. We missed a Kingfisher on the ARC earlier, and couldn't spot the juvenile Glaucous Gull that's been turning up on Burrowes, or the regular Long-eared Owl which has become rather elusive lately.


Beans still at Scotney

This afternoon among the Greylags we found the 2 Tundra Bean Geese reported in mid-January, but no sign of any White-fronts.


Seven Spoonbills

I arrived at the Halpin hide at Castle Water at 4.30 today. At 4.45 I noticed a colour-ringed Spoonbill far off to the left, walking out from behind a reedy promontory. While I was scoping it, 6 more unringed Spoonbills emerged one by one!  The first bird had a yellow ring on the left leg above the "knee" (actually the ankle) and what looked like 2 yellow rings on the right leg, though it might have been one ring patterned yellow-black-yellow. All were preening and moving about when at 4.55 a small, noisy low-flying plane came over Castle Water. The birds flew up, circled around and headed east into the distance, possibly beyond the factories though I couldn't be sure whether they left the Castle Water area. Worth looking out for them or reports of them as they're likely to stay together in a flock.


Waders on Union Channel

My Wetland Bird Survey on Union Channel (East Guldeford) on today's very high tide produced c.100 Redshanks, one very tame Spotted Redshank, 7 Greenshanks, just one Curlew, 4 Oystercatchers, 4 Common Sands and c.70 Dunlin; also a Kingfisher.


More Marbled Whites

Following from my previous posting about Marbled Whites at Northpoint and on the Rye Love Lane allotments, there was one in a garden at the top of Valley Park, Rye, on Friday, two on the Rye Harbour allotments and a pair mating at the Martello Tower, and today there were at least 20 scattered all along the Military Canal NE from Appledore where I've never seen them before, evidence of a continuing spread away from coastal shingle, sand and lime into non-specialised habitats inland as foreseen by the new book The Butterflies of Sussex: "colonies are increasingly encountered away from the chalk, in unimproved meadows, woodland rides and clearings, along road verges, disused railway lines and railway embankments, with these linear features probably acting as distribution arteries" - to which one may now add canal and river banks. Luckily they're very obvious, so it's worth looking out for them wherever you are.