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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Dotterel Delight

Saturday 28th - With the sun shining, our plan was to to head to Dungeness to try and see the Dotterel that had been seen earlier in the week at the ARC Pit and along the Dengemarsh Road. On route I caught sight of a Common Buzzard near the Old Romney Church. First port of call was the Lydd Airport road as several groups of Lapwing and Golden Plover have been present in the sheep pastures here. Sure enough there were c30 Lapwing present but the light was tricky as we drove up to the Airport buildings so we decided to turn around in the car park. At this point the Black Redstart once again showed itself on a variety of perches and was joined by a female Stonechat and some calling Meadow Pipits.

Black Redstart
Now in better light, a scan of the distant Lapwing revealed a single brown plover - closer inspection was needed. Parking up near the old fuel compound, the bird appeared much smaller than the Lapwing near it, and after retrieving the telescope from the boot I was shocked to notice a pale supercillium. This was clearly no Golden Plover. The bird then turned to face the car and the faint breast band could been seen... It was the Dotterel, and not a Golden Plover in sight! Panic ensued as both Mum and Dad got on the bird through our two telescopes, as I hastily sent texts to the Dunge locals and others that might be interested. Panic over I then concentrated on staying on the bird until others arrived. Over the next hour, it was nice to catch up with: CT, OL, KP, DW, GH, PT, MC, BB &AB, SB, others whose names escape me, plus birders that had seen the news on the pager.With more eyes on the bird, we noted other birds including, 8 Red-legged Partridges, another Common Buzzard, a flock of Curlew, a female Marsh Harrier, calling Skylarks, and various flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing that came and went. An enjoyable couple of hours.

Moving on to the Fishing Boats at Dungeness, we saw large numbers of Auks (Guillemots and a few Razorbills) and Great-crested Grebes, several Kittiwakes and Gannets, 11 Turnstones on the beach and a group of 14 Brent Geese moving east offshore. None of the unusual Gulls were noted.

Heading back to Ashford via Walland Marsh, we noted a flock of Stock Doves along Caldecott Lane, 53 Bewick's Swans at Midley, a final Common Buzzard, a Grey Heron, several Gadwall and a drake Teal near the Woolpack Inn, and a couple of flocks of Fieldfare near Snave.


  1. An excelent January bird for Kent and a good day.

  2. Darn it, I got there too late for the Dotterel.
    Must get up earlier!

  3. Nice one Neil, the Dotterel was back today apparently. I coudn't find it yesterday.