Saturday, 7 October 2017

Great Whites !!!

 'Great White Egret' or the 'Great White Heron', or is it the 'Common Egret', or maybe the 'Large Egret', or as some of the Bird recording sites refer to it now as the 'Great Egret'.

 I think I prefer the title of Great White Egret, whatever the current name is for this spectacular Egret, Dungeness is usually a good bet to see at least one, here in Kent.

Like its smaller cousin the Little Egret, sightings of the Great White Egret are becoming more regular as it expands its range, probably from the Netherlands and France, once considered a rare occurrence in this country they now appear to be breeding in places such as Somerset and now Norfolk.

At Dungeness they come in to roost with Grey Herons and Little Egrets, flying in from various localities around Dungeness RSPB late in the afternoon, their chosen spot appears to be the sheltered bay of Burrowes pit where they can be viewed, albeit distantly from 'Denis's Hide'.
I was fortunate in seeing at least nine of these beauties at the roost by the time I had moved on.

I would love to see one of these in its full breeding plumage displaying their ornamental breeding plumes for which they was once persecuted for, maybe sooner than I think.

While watching the Egrets come in to roost, I was entertained by several Chiffchaffs in the surrounding trees, there seemed to be  good numbers all around the reserve, as well as Common Whitethroat, Stonechat, Robins, Starlings, a few Swallows flying over the waters.



Great Crested Grebe
Quite a few Great Crested Grebes on the inland waters, most molting into their winter plumage.

Most of the day was spent on the reserve in some lovely warm sunshine, unusally I thought still a few Butterflies being seen, including, Red Admiral, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small White, Meadow Brown, Common Blue and two Clouded Yellows, my first and probably last for the year.

Common Blue

Meadow Brown

male Small White

Clouded Yellow
Nearly every time I see these Clouded Yellow Butterflies they are always nectaring on a yellow flower. Probably an obvious observation.

A small patch of Honeysuckle was attracting a few Bumblebee's, as well as some Common Darters.

Garden Bumblebee (Queen ?)

Ruddy Darter ( correction should be Common)
Still a few Migrant Hawkers around enjoying the last of the summer warmth I suspect.

Common Fleabane seed heads
No Tree Sparrows on show today at the entrance, probably because the feeders were all empty.

A few Hours spent in Hansons Hide on the other side of the reserve revealed some nice birds.
Lots of these bright Yellow flowers growing along the entrance track to the hide,  I think they are possibly  Evening Primrose but not definite.

Evening Primrose ?
 A flyby Kingfisher was a good start as I settled down in the hide, unfortunately not interested in the stick perch placed outside the viewing windows on this occasion.

A couple of  Marsh Harriers put in an appearance scattering the roosting waders, all female birds,  one seen carrying off a Lapwing from one of the shingle islands.

female Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier with Lapwing
On the water in front of the hide two juvenile Black Terns were picking insects from the water surface. Not an easy bird to photograph.

Juvenile Black Tern

Waders on show before they were disturbed by the Harriers included,  Black Tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Redshank, Lapwing, Spotted Redshank(2) and a few Knot.

Black Tailed Godwits & Knot

As always, an interesting reserve to visit, looks like a winter visit will be on the cards.


  1. Nice photos. Your darters are Common not Ruddy though- you can see yellow leg stripes (all black on Ruddy).

    Hopefully Great White Egrets will breed in Kent soon.

    1. Thanks for the correction, pinched in body had me fooled must look closer in future.

  2. Starting to be more commonly seen up here in Notts. Gosh they are so much bigger than the little egrets!