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RSPB Dungeness (1 Viewer)

Ev4dawin

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hey birders, hope you are doing well and nothing bad has happened. Today I visited RSPB Dungeness and let's say it wasn't amazing. As we entered the drive up to the visitor centre, there was a large flock of about 70 gulls, consisting of Lesser and Greater black backed gulls, along with a few black headed gulls. We entered into the reserve and to our right was a small lake which had a moorhen, a few coots and a duck that was hard to identify because it had its head turned away from us and was deep in the reeds. We (me and my grandpa) had a look to our left at the large pit adjacent to the power station. Most of the birds were quite far away, although I was able to pick out some cormorants, a lot of coots, and what I suspected to be a redshank which flew past exceptionally fast in the very fast winds. We then reached a lookout point, which I spotted a great white egret, which then got chased away by a grey heron. Out in front, there was a decent flock of coots, along with a tufted duck or 2 intermingled within the coots. We then reached one of the only 2 hides open, in which ironically there was nothing there at all. As we proceeded onwards, we spooked a redwing feeding on berries and it vanished into the thick of the bush. The next hide we visited overlooked a large body of water although I forget the name of it. It started off pretty bleak although a few coots bobbed up and down in the rough water. About 10 minutes later, a marsh harrier swooped over the lake, very quickly, and then a resident crow decided to chase it off and they engaged in an interesting aerial battle. Afterwards, a great crested grebe appeared from around the bend, and dived repeatedly for food. Just as we turned our heads, 2 mute swans flew in very close to the hide, and we missed a good photo opportunity. We left 25 minutes or so later, and then the heavens opened as a quick but heavy shower opened above us. As we rounded a bend, I noticed 2 gadwall sheltering under some branches, however the rain made it difficult to photo. As we continued onwards another pair of gadwall became apparent, along with a tufted duck and I paused to get some photos of the new bird species. Then, a kingfisher shot past like a blue bullet and disappeared so fast my grandpa didn't even see it and even though I followed in quiet, hasty pursuit, I couldn't locate the kingfisher. After that disappointment, the heavens opened for the second time and unfortunately we were caught out in the middle of it and couldn't escape. I then went to the small area where the feeders were and tried for some pictures of the blue and great tits that frequented the feeder. However, my auto focus just wasn't working and would constantly focus on the wrong subject even though I was pointed directly at the bird. I managed a few pictures, and then we went to the visitor centre to have a look outside the windows that are there. Some birds that were there more coots- the things were everywhere- and as well a great crested grebe there was a female bird of some duck; it had a kind of marbly look on its back but I believe this to be a female gadwall. 2 female shoveler also did a fast flyby. Some lapwings swooped overhead and we later left 10 minutes later.

Species that were sited by me and my grandpa:
Redshank
Lapwing
Great White Egret
Grey heron
Cormorant
Kingfisher
Coot
Tufted duck
Gadwall
Mallard
Shoveler
Mute swan
Greylag goose
Redwing
Blackbird
Starling
Blue tit
Great tit
Robin
Wren
Kestrel
Marsh harrier

Quick question for you all out there, do you use manual or automatic focus for both birds in flight and birds sat still?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Original PaulE

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hey birders, hope you are doing well and nothing bad has happened. Today I visited RSPB Dungeness and let's say it wasn't amazing. As we entered the drive up to the visitor centre, there was a large flock of about 70 gulls, consisting of Lesser and Greater black backed gulls, along with a few black headed gulls. We entered into the reserve and to our right was a small lake which had a moorhen, a few coots and a duck that was hard to identify because it had its head turned away from us and was deep in the reeds. We (me and my grandpa) had a look to our left at the large pit adjacent to the power station. Most of the birds were quite far away, although I was able to pick out some cormorants, a lot of coots, and what I suspected to be a redshank which flew past exceptionally fast in the very fast winds. We then reached a lookout point, which I spotted a great white egret, which then got chased away by a grey heron. Out in front, there was a decent flock of coots, along with a tufted duck or 2 intermingled within the coots. We then reached one of the only 2 hides open, in which ironically there was nothing there at all. As we proceeded onwards, we spooked a redwing feeding on berries and it vanished into the thick of the bush. The next hide we visited overlooked a large body of water although I forget the name of it. It started off pretty bleak although a few coots bobbed up and down in the rough water. About 10 minutes later, a marsh harrier swooped over the lake, very quickly, and then a resident crow decided to chase it off and they engaged in an interesting aerial battle. Afterwards, a great crested grebe appeared from around the bend, and dived repeatedly for food. Just as we turned our heads, 2 mute swans flew in very close to the hide, and we missed a good photo opportunity. We left 25 minutes or so later, and then the heavens opened as a quick but heavy shower opened above us. As we rounded a bend, I noticed 2 gadwall sheltering under some branches, however the rain made it difficult to photo. As we continued onwards another pair of gadwall became apparent, along with a ruddy duck (looked a bit like a tufted duck but had a blue beak which I believe is a ruddy duck) and I paused to get some photos of the new bird species. Then, a kingfisher shot past like a blue bullet and disappeared so fast my grandpa didn't even see it and even though I followed in quiet, hasty pursuit, I couldn't locate the kingfisher. After that disappointment, the heavens opened for the second time and unfortunately we were caught out in the middle of it and couldn't escape. I then went to the small area where the feeders were and tried for some pictures of the blue and great tits that frequented the feeder. However, my auto focus just wasn't working and would constantly focus on the wrong subject even though I was pointed directly at the bird. I managed a few pictures, and then we went to the visitor centre to have a look outside the windows that are there. Some birds that were there more coots- the things were everywhere- and as well a great crested grebe there was a female bird of some duck; it had a kind of marbly look on its back but I believe this to be a female gadwall. 2 female shoveler also did a fast flyby. Some lapwings swooped overhead and we later left 10 minutes later.

Species that were sited by me and my grandpa:
Redshank
Lapwing
Great White Egret
Grey heron
Cormorant
Kingfisher
Coot
Tufted duck
Gadwall
Mallard
Shoveler
Ruddy duck
Mute swan
Greylag goose
Redwing
Blackbird
Starling
Blue tit
Great tit
Robin
Wren
Kestrel
Marsh harrier

Quick question for you all out there, do you use manual or automatic focus for both birds in flight and birds sat still?
Excellent report, I always use auto focus for birds unless they are buried in a Bush!!
Dungeness is usually good,but can be challenging especially when the weather is a bit dodge, I remember seeing my first black-winged Stilt there a few years ago, the wind was horrendous,could hardly stand up in it, but in general it is a brilliant place and I've seen great birds , including Penduline Tit,Bluethroat, Gull Billed Tern to name just a few. The whole area is excellent but can be hard work, I find as with most places an early start is best!
 

Ev4dawin

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Very notable update: The ruddy duck, is not in fact a ruddy duck, rather unsurprisingly not going to lie. I believe it was likely to be a tufted duck, but when I first saw it, the bill looked a very pale blue, so I immediately went to the rare ruddy duck as my answer instead of the more appropriate tufted duck. I would change the list but unfortunately this thread is over a month old so no changing can be done. But this is an important note, it was NOT a ruddy duck, it was just a tufted duck.
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
I would change the list but unfortunately this thread is over a month old so no changing can be done.
Hi Evan - you can edit posts for only 24 hours, after that time a Moderator can make any changes.

Do you want me to do it for you?
 

Ev4dawin

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hi Evan - you can edit posts for only 24 hours, after that time a Moderator can make any changes.

Do you want me to do it for you?
If you would like to, the only thing I would ask is for you to remove the ruddy duck from the list and the section where I talked about it. Thank you very much Delia!

Edit: Can you delete this bit for me? along with a ruddy duck (looked a bit like a tufted duck but had a blue beak which I believe is a ruddy duck) and I paused to get some photos of the new bird species
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
To help you out next time, yes, Tufted do have a bluish bill, but nothing like the bright blue of a Ruddy Duck and they don't have the white face either. See here: Ruddy Duck - BirdForum Opus. Also have a look at the tail end.

Ruddy Ducks are in a group known as "stiff tails". Their tails are much longer than a Tufted's and they're inclined to have it sticking up (something a Tuftie can't do).

HTH
 

Ev4dawin

Well-known member
United Kingdom
To help you out next time, yes, Tufted do have a bluish bill, but nothing like the bright blue of a Ruddy Duck and they don't have the white face either. See here: Ruddy Duck - BirdForum Opus. Also have a look at the tail end.

Ruddy Ducks are in a group known as "stiff tails". Their tails are much longer than a Tufted's and they're inclined to have it sticking up (something a Tuftie can't do).

HTH
Yes I realised that when going through a website about a place in Philadelphia, and only noticed that mistake I made now. Much appreciated.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
The other thing about Ruddy Ducks is that they were in Britain as introduced birds and have been pretty much shot out by an organised government campaign because of concerns about interbreeding on the Continent with White-headed Ducks (another stifftail, native to Europe though not Britain and somewhat endangered). There is precedent for bird species being hybridised out of existence.

Anyway this means that the world divides into those trying to eliminate Ruddy Ducks and those who won't have their favourite ducks shot at so try to keep them quiet.... if you do see one the safest thing is not to report it though the public-spirited thing is to do so. The solution (if you recognise the conservation argument) is only to mention it verbally to reserve staff and not to put it on the web.

John
 

Ev4dawin

Well-known member
United Kingdom
The other thing about Ruddy Ducks is that they were in Britain as introduced birds and have been pretty much shot out by an organised government campaign because of concerns about interbreeding on the Continent with White-headed Ducks (another stifftail, native to Europe though not Britain and somewhat endangered). There is precedent for bird species being hybridised out of existence.

Anyway this means that the world divides into those trying to eliminate Ruddy Ducks and those who won't have their favourite ducks shot at so try to keep them quiet.... if you do see one the safest thing is not to report it though the public-spirited thing is to do so. The solution (if you recognise the conservation argument) is only to mention it verbally to reserve staff and not to put it on the web.

John
Ah ok, good thing I didn't put it out on eBird or anything then. I never knew that people shot them, kinda sad but what can you do.
 

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