Tuesday 20 March 2018

Crests & Throats - A brief dally with Dungeness

20th March 2018: 

Having worked the cold and bitter weekend at Rainham it was good to have a couple of days off. Yesterday was spent in the garden with my Dad, re-doing my ridiculously rampant, largely Hazel hedge before the leaf is out. It was bitterly cold and blowing a gale so a break to pop down to Dungeness for two frozen White-spot Bluethroats was filed under 'inadvisable’ with another cup of tea taking a more important role.

So today I played it cool and unusually for me, waited on news as with a biting northerly still blowing, new migrants were unlikely and I suspected it would almost be a one bird trip. Eventually the news came through that the male White-spot was still present in Denge Marsh Gully so I trundled off and arrived in under an hour in sunshine and blue skies and within just a few minutes this stunning little bird was parading out in front along the gully edge picking morsels from the watery edge.

The assembled small gathering had more than their fill over the time I spent there and it sometimes headed up into the gorse only to reappear higher up to hop around on the rabbit cropped mossy turf.

Even I took just over a hundred single shot photos so I have no idea how the assembled big lens carriers cope with the multitude that they were taking at machine gun pace.

The white spot itself typically sporadic in its appearances and would only show if the bird either stretched its neck up or fluffed out and even then it varied in size from a few white feathers to a full kidney shape and sometimes the whole throat looked solid blue.

Having only seen singing birds many moons ago in Belgium, I wonder if they use it a bit like a flash light to catch the attention of the females?

Two or three lime, white and orange Firecrests zipped around in the Gorse out of the wind and always seem even brighter this time of year and are as ever a joy to behold.

Ravens kronked overhead and Cormorants cut across the point but it was otherwise very quiet and even a visit to the Lighthouse produced nothing except the Lighthouse...

A pleasant little jaunt to tide me over...


  1. Brilliant Howard. I particularly love the view of the top of the Firecrest.

  2. Two lovely birds Howard. Great pictures, well worth the visit.