If its Tree Sparrows it must be Dungeness. Although actually the day was about much more than just the Tree Sparrows. We saw fifty two species in all on the day. This included Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Black-necked Grebes, Bearded Tits, and Marsh Harriers together with all the usual Dungeness residents.
We missed the Cattle Egret at the first attempt. It was reported as being behind Boulderwall Farm but we were unable to find it and so headed off to the Visitors Centre to see what else was about. Apparently it walked out of the long grass just as we drove off. My thanks to the birder who recognised us in the car park later and let us know that it was showing again.
One little bonus was this Field Mouse that Dave spotted when he was pee(r)ing into a bramble thicket. It was completely fearless and carried on eating whilst being rocked up and down as we tried to get a clear view of it through the bramble. Those big eyes must have given it a clear view of a couple huge monsters scrabbling about within a few feet of it, but it remained calm, finished off its blackberries, licked its fingers and then wandered off deeper into the thicket.
Field Mouse being a generic term, it should really be called a Long-tailed Field Mouse or Wood Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis)
There were three Black-necked Grebes on the ARC pit but they were too far away for a picture. I had to make do with this female Shoveler that was posing in front of the hide. I also missed out on a couple of Water Rails that raced across a gap in the reeds in front of the hide. Even if I had the camera ready it doesn't focus that fast.
Stonechats were all around the RSPB site and there were a few nice males displaying dark heads. I was a bit suprised by this one. He was gathering food and flying off with it then reappearing a few minutes later looking for more. Either he likes a bit of privacy when he is eating or perhaps the warm weather has resulted in a late breeding attempt.
The Tree Sparrows have been absent from the Boulderwood Farm area on my last few visits to Dungeness and I was beginning to think that the colony was disappearing. It is probably just that the feeders are not being filled and the birds have dispersed over a wider area. These were on the ground under the feeders at the Visitors Centre. The background is a bit busy and distracting but it was nice to be able to record them.