Birding London

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Birding London trip report, 16 September

Faggs Wood and the Dungeness peninsula, Kent with Emil Bacik and Brenda Kovalsky – led by Gary Elton


Gary collected Emil and Brenda from the Ibis hotel, Heathrow at 6.30am and headed around the M25 towards Kent. An accident involving a van and car meant that sheets of plate glass were spread across junction six of the motorway, delaying our journey by 3/4 hour. Our first stop was Faggs Wood then on to Dungeness, visiting the ARC pits, the ‘Patch', the bird observatory grounds, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ reserve and Scotney gravel pits.

71 species were seen well by all of us and two more seen briefly by Gary.

Species list

Little Grebe – Several were seen in both winter and summer plumages; two very young birds were also noted.

Great Crested Grebe – Seen on all large expanses of water.

Red-necked Grebe – One, in almost full summer plumage, was seen at the RSPB reserve.

Black-necked (Eared) Grebe – Two birds in winter plumage at the RSPB reserve.

Great Cormorant – Large numbers on the ARC pits and RSPB reserve.

Grey Heron – Two were seen at the RSPB reserve.

Little Egret – One seen in flight as we walked along the nature trail at the RSPB reserve (we could have missed this one!).

Mute Swan – Several noted.

Greylag Goose – Seemingly everywhere in noisy groups.

Canada Goose – Seen in smaller groups.

Common Shelduck – A single bird was seen on the ARC pits.

Eurasian Wigeon – Reasonable numbers present on the RSPB reserve.

Gadwall – Seen on both the ARC pits and RSPB reserve.

Common Teal – Seen on both the ARC pits and RSPB reserve.

Mallard – Seen on both the ARC pits and RSPB reserve.

Northern Pintail – Around 10 were seen feeding at the far corner of the ARC pits.

Northern Shoveler – Seen on the ARC and RSPB pits.

Common Pochard – Large numbers noted on the ARC pits.

Tufted Duck – Noted on the ARC and RSPB pits.

Ruddy Duck – A familiar face! Seen on the ARC and RSPB pits.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk – We had good views of a female over the track from the Patch to the trapping area.

Common Kestrel – Good numbers seen throughout the day, with up to four seen together around the trapping area.

Peregrine – Excellent views were had of a bird as it harassed Feral Pigeons around the power station.

Red-legged Partridge – A family party were eventually located in a roadside field as we left Dungeness.

Common Pheasant – A splendid male, impersonating a Roadrunner, was seen crossing a roadside field.

Common Moorhen – Seen in good numbers in suitable habitat.

Eurasian Coot – Seen in good numbers in suitable habitat.

Eurasian Oystercatcher – A single bird was present in front of the third hide at the RSPB reserve.

Northern Lapwing – Once again stealing the show with its crazy hairstyle! Seen at the ARC, RSPB and Scotney gravel pits.

Eurasian Curlew – Two were seen feeding on the grass bank at Scotney gravel pits.

Little Gull – Two adult birds feeding at the Patch quickly departed.

Black-headed Gull – Seen in good numbers throughout the day.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Noted around the Patch and various gravel pits.

Herring Gull – Noted around the Patch and various gravel pits.

Great Black-backed Gull – Noted around the Patch and various gravel pits.

Sandwich Tern – One in flight over the Patch and one sitting with gulls on the beach.

Common Tern – Several dozen were feeding around the Patch and resting on the beach.

Arctic Tern – A juvenile bird was seen amongst the Common Terns on the Patch, its white secondaries clearly visible.

Feral Pigeon – Several dozen were being harassed by the Peregrine around the power station.

Woodpigeon – Noted throughout the day.

Eurasian Collared Dove – Several seen around farm buildings on our journey.

Green Woodpecker – One was heard at Faggs Wood, with another seen in flight over the Observatory trapping area.

Sand Martin (Bank Swallow)– Present in large numbers.

Barn Swallow – Present in large numbers.

House Martin – Present in large numbers.

Meadow Pipit – Constantly flying over calling, with six seen well on the ground in the trapping area.

Yellow Wagtail – A single over-flying bird was heard then seen briefly by Gary but quickly disappeared from view.

Grey Wagtail – A calling bird flew over us at Faggs Wood.

Pied Wagtail – Several seen feeding in a sheep paddock, with other over flying birds noted.

Eurasian Wren – Only heard deep in the undergrowth at Faggs Wood.

Dunnock – Common around the trapping area, also seen on the RSPB reserve.

European Robin – Several seen and heard.

Northern Wheatear – Seen well in and around the trapping area.

Common Blackbird – Only one seen! On the RSPB reserve by the visitor centre.

Song Thrush – A single bird glimpsed and heard several times at Faggs Wood.

Lesser Whitethroat – An obliging bird gave good views in the trapping area.

Chiffchaff – Calling all around us in the trapping area, but only brief views were had.

Goldcrest – We had good views of a bird in Faggs Wood.

Coal Tit – Heard, and briefly seen, at Faggs Wood.

Blue Tit – Seen well at Faggs Wood.

Great Tit – Seen well at Faggs Wood.

Eurasian Nuthatch – A single bird was seen well by Brenda at Faggs Wood but Emil and Gary only heard it.

Eurasian Jay – Heard and seen at Faggs Wood and the RSPB reserve.

Common Magpie – Many were seen around the Observatory trapping area.

Western Jackdaw – Several seen in a roadside field with Rooks and Carrion Crows.

Rook – Seen in roadside fields with Jackdaws.

Carrion Crow – Common.

Common Starling – Noted throughout the day.

House Sparrow – Small flocks were noted at the RSPB reserve and surrounding countryside.

Common Chaffinch – Seen well at Faggs Wood with several others noted at the RSPB reserve.

European Goldfinch – An adult and juvenile bird were seen in a roadside tree.

Yellowhammer – Good views were had of a male by the Long Pits in the observatory area.

Reed Bunting – Heard and seen briefly as it flew into cover on the RSPB reserve.