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.
|male Small White|
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)|
|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.