Sunday 30 June 2024

Thirty Years Ago - June 1994

4th June:

After some frantic arrangements down the bar last night, I met Steve Bacon outside the front door at 5am for a trundle south to try and see the Thrush Nightingale at Dungeness. I had previously dipped one at Salthouse in September ’92 and he had already dipped this bird once and with it being a bitterly cold, wet June morning neither of us were hopeful.  Only fifteen people had turned up but thankfully it only took me ten minutes to find this singing bird and over the next two hours superb views of this notoriously elusive species sometimes down to only a few feet as it moved around the trapping area Willows.  A distinctive bird and more obviously ‘different’ than I expected.  The song was loud and powerful but lacked the overlapping note effect achieved by Nightingale.  With the weather deteriorating we came home.

Thrush Nightingale #403

19th June:

St Margaret’s was the first stop for Pete, Ted and I [Eds: Ted was one of Pete’s cycling friends and I remember he had proper milk bottle think glasses] and although several Marsh Warblers were in fine song in their usual valley, they were quite tricky to see in the windy conditions but with patience some good views were had. We wanted to see the Peregrines and a leisurely walk along the cliff top gave great views as a juvenile male cruised past the onlookers at head height. Absolutely magnificent. [Eds: Peregrines were only just getting a toe hold back in the south east at this point and it was a real treat to see them so well]. Over the next hour the adult male and a juvenile were seen and we watched the latter plucking a Pigeon.  The Kittiwakes did not seem too disturbed by their presence. [Eds: not sure that they are there anymore?]

After lunch we headed up to Elmley where Montagu’s Harriers and Great Reed Warbler were the targets. The pair of Harriers were viewable from about half way to the farm and quite a crowd were parked along the entrance road. At least one female showed very well along with several Marsh Harriers.

The real bonus was not a bird but an amphibian and it was not until someone told me what the weird grouse-like noises were that I started to look for Marsh Frogs in the ditches.  I crept up on them and got one in the scope and watched this impressive beast inflating its cheek pouches like two HubbaBubba bubbles!

On to the end a brisk stroll to the patch of Reedmace inhabited by the Great Reed Warbler. Could it be the same bird that we saw here last year? It could be heard a long way before we reached the spot but we only got a couple of glimpses but it was just great to hear that wonderful voice.  It was otherwise quiet with a pair of alarming Black-tailed Godwits and a Lapwing that got up off four eggs being the highlights.

On the way out the male Montagu’s Harrier decided to choose that moment to cruise across the road.  What a way to end the day.

Montagu’s Harrier 

1 comment:

  1. I would get another opinion on your bumblebee. To me it looks like a male B. lapidarius rather than B. monticola? The red should be more extensive I think,