A new species for Kent - Alan Cooke (finder), this account by Nigel L Jarman and Heather E Chantler

21 Nov - 4 Dec 2020

On the afternoon of Saturday 21 November 2020, Heather Chantler and I were standing outside Kingsdown Post Office waiting to post a parcel, when I received a call from John Cantelo, who had just spoken with a friend of his Alan Cooke. Alan had been walking on the old Rifle Butts at the base of the chalk cliffs at the bottom of the village about an hour before and had seen a hirundine that he described as dark brown above, paler below, but without the breast band of a Sand Martin. He wasn’t absolutely positive but wondered if it could be a Crag Martin and wanted someone to check it out. John rang me as we live in the village.

We quickly made our way to The Rifle Butts, or undercliffe as we generally call it, and walked south along the 700 metresof the old shooting range, all the time checking for anything amongst the returning Fulmars. We got to the end of the wall and continued further along the beach as far as the incoming tide would allow. Nothing.

A first for Kent - Stephen Message

On Tuesday 21 August 2018 I spent the whole day birding in the Dungeness area, and after successfully connecting with the Wryneck at Galloways, decided to return to the RSPB reserve to enjoy the late afternoon sunlight. Earlier in the day I'd counted a dozen Black Terns from Firth Hide, viewed in less than ideal light. Now, on scanning Burrowes Pit from the RSPB visitor centre, it was soon apparent that the majority of them would be best viewed from Makepeace Hide.

Sitting in the hide with binoculars I scanned through the terns flying over the water, which were now bathed in perfect light. At some distance I focused on two typical juvenile Black Terns, displaying their gleaming white underparts with small dark breast sides and white underwing coverts. As they twisted and turned a third bird made the same twist, and to my surprise I noted a distinctive soft grey-coloured flank panel and duskier underwings.

New Bird for Kent - James Massey and Barry Wright

View the submitted description and photos here.

A New Bird for Kent - Martin Casemore

September 22nd 2015, a day I’ll never forget, started with me sea watching from the shelter of the fishing boats at The Point at Dungeness.

After about an hour sea-watching, dodging the frequent heavy showers by sheltering under one of the boats, a Red-throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater and few Skuas passing were all that I had had to keep me interested.

When yet another heavy shower came through, I reluctantly took shelter again under and between the twin-hull of the same boat, which formed a wind tunnel making it nearly as uncomfortable as outside in the rain. The continuous drizzle over the sea reduced the visibility to virtually zero, but as I sat staring out into the gloom, a greenish grey passerine flew very low up the beach passing within a few feet of me and then disappeared around the side of the boat.

A New Bird for Kent - David Walker

After days of appalling weather and mainly strong to gale-force south-westerly winds, the wind eventually changed to the south-east on 12th which resulted in a large southerly movement of seabirds off the Point at Dungeness. I was away over the weekend so missed the movement, but the following day I spent the morning of 13th January 2014 in my usual position - sheltering behind a fishing boat.

There was still quite a bit moving, although nothing of note, but enough for me to return for another session in the afternoon.

A New Bird for Kent - Ian Roberts et al.

On Tuesday, 21st January 2014 Michael Dawson, a non-birdwatcher, noticed an unusual bird on the lily pads on the pond within the shared grounds of his block of flats. The flats are set in large wooded grounds with a pond with a surface area of some 100+ square metres and a depth at maximum of about 1.8m. It contains a large area of water lilies covering about 20% of its surface area and has a significant area of reeds in one corner. It also contains many small fish and had recently had the water level reduced for cleaning purposes.

Part 1: A new species for Kent - Gary Howard

For over 20 years a group of my birding mates and I have booked the bird observatory at Dungeness for the first Bank Holiday weekend in May. Over the years the cast has changed a bit but Marcus Lawson, Mike Buckland and I have done the majority of them, and Dave Walker the DBO warden has usually been there too. A lot of good birds have been found over those weekends by those present, including several firsts for Kent including Black-throated Thrush, Black-browed Albatross and Audouin’s Gull – the latter a first for Britain. I’ve not seen them all, and it’s not always been great birding, but it’s always been a laugh. It’s a chance to relax, catch up, and enjoy a few beers, a curry, and hopefully a few good birds.

A new species for Kent - Andy Appleton

It was 19th November 2011, and I had spent a few hours birding at Haysden in the morning. My wife had gone to London and I had dropped my son to a party and so had a few hours to myself. I popped back to Haysden but was thinking about that list of jobs.

Whether it was because it was a long list or I was feeling a bit guilty I don't know but I went home. I took a look at all I had to get sorted and decided the outside job of mending the gate would be as good a place as any to start.

A new species for Kent - David Walker

On 11th July 2010 Geraldine Carpenter, and Malcolm and Carolyn Hawkes were visiting Dungeness for a day’s birding when at around mid-day they found a stunning adult White-tailed Plover in front of the screen hide at the ARC Pit. They watched the bird for a short time and took some video footage before it flew off. They then went to the RSPB Visitors Centre to report their find and eventually news filtered out from there to locals and then to the wider public.

A new species for Kent - Richard Heading

Read the account published in Kent Bird Report 2006 here.

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