Wednesday, 23 September 2015

East Coast on South Coast - a touch of autumn glory - 22nd September 2015

A quiet start to a wet day at work was punctuated by the news of an Empidonax flycatcher sitting on the beach by the fishing boats at Dungeness. All these little New World flycatchers are very tricky to identify but the fact that there was one within 90 minutes was sorely tempting. 

I had been fortunate enough to see both the previous Alder Flycatchers. The first in Nanjizel in 2008 was my 500th UK bird and the 2010 bird up Blakeney Point was one of the most memorable twitches I have ever done with the slog up the point in the near dark in truly horrendous conditions...  The walk back with smiles was no less interesting...

The pictures looked interesting but with rain setting in the bird did what I expected and moved inland and was lost. Paul Hawkins joined me in the visitors centre and we slumped in the comfy chairs and looked out the window wondering what to do. Bingly-bong... the bird had been refound in the garden of South View and Acadian Flycatcher was now looking a good bet so I abandoned work (legitimately!) and we dashed down to Dungeness in appalling driving conditions to look for a little American Flycatcher whose identity was still in the balance. 

We were soon parked up and traipsing off to join the throng watching the enclosed little garden and within a short while we had both seen it well in the cold persistent rain as it sallied forth from the various items of garden furniture. 

Acadian Flycatcher is looking the likely candidate...

A combination of photographed wing formula, bill shape, wing length and plumage colour should win the day

And one from James Lowen...
And another garden furniture one from James...
If not it may all be down to collected poo and the magical mysteries of DNA...






I am in the top left of this shot from Trevor Hardaker...  the hat is just visible...
After taking my fill (and palming Paul off on James Lowen for a lift home!) I decided to head for home as the rain had increased but then my car locked my keys inside it... I have to blame someone else other than me being an idiot...

Me with some .... characters.... thanks to Mark Thomas for the pic!



There are worse places than Dungeness to spend the evening especially when in the company of birding friends from across the decades and a potentially new bird to add to my list. 









I may have been without my bins now but still managed to grab some better views through Monkey's scope and even snuck in a bit of seawatching as the weather improved. Pom and Arctic Skuas were seen along with many Great Crested Grebes, Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns and a couple of young Med Gulls. The Porpoises was easily visible on the now becalmed sea and I spent the remaining time taking arty shots of the boats, sea and bruised sky.




Thomas and Andrea arrived at just after seven with the spare keys and dinner at the Pilot beckoned....

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