Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Plastic Duck? A Trip to Kent. Saturday 3rd March 2010

We love to go a-wandering ……..

Saturday, March 3rd

An early morning drive down the motorways 6, 1 and 25; over the Dartford Bridge and into Kent.
Arrived at the village of  Whetstead  with it still dark and as it got light on a dry, misty, windless morning we – The Clams – made our way down the bridleway towards the gravel pits.

Having eventually found them, difficult though that was as the land was flat and paths led off in all directions, three Clams scanned the first pit but no bird.

Last Clam, arriving late due to having taken wrong path, scanned same pit. A phone call to Oily Clam – do you want to see a Hooded merganser?

Message to Birdguides :-

Hooded merganser     Whetstead  Gravel Pits, Kent, 7.15am

Now the merits of this bird will no doubt be discussed by the venerable gents of the BBRC but for insurance we saw it. A female with, through bins, a halo effect of a hood, seen to be as far away from people as possible, almost against the far bank. At least no bread required for this bird. On the list? We’ll wait and see. No 3 red exclamation marks. No escaped leg logo.

Nice to see though and one to compare with the Radipole bird. Now wasn’t that thought to be ‘real’ when it arrived?

Off to Dungeness to seawatch but few birds on the sea. 3 red-throated divers swimming east into the glare being the best. Otherwise a few great-crested grebes, guillemot, kittiwakes and gannets. The ‘boil’ was only sparsely attended by a few gulls.
To the RSPB reserve as the drizzle became rain. How quickly the sun from the seawatch changed to such damp, miserable weather.
At least the centre had friendly staff, coffee and comfort.

A walk around the reserve as the rain receded. Marsh harriers, including a superb close male and at least 6 others, seen well and enjoyed by all. Also seen was the female long-tailed duck – good one for the year list. Tree sparrows too.

Oily Clam, Captain Clam, Talkative Clam and Bearded Clam

Off to Emley, yet another RSPB reserve and by now the sun was back but with a strong wind to accompany it. More marsh harriers, a peregrine, kestrels and a young rough-legged buzzard not too far away sitting on a fence post. It occasionally flew down to the ground to pick up a morsel before landing back on the same post.

Sun going down so homeward bound with lively conversation on the way about the merits of a certain duck……..

Clam on!!!

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