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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Dungeness CRESTED LARK

The CRESTED LARK was present until late evening tonight, although may have been disturbed by those still searching for it after it had flown to roost. The bird is exceptionally difficult to see on the ground and when flushed, moves a long distance (500 yards or more) before re-settling. It is frequenting the vast 'shingle desert area' inland of the coast road (behind all of the beach cottages) and has been present for at least three days.

This is a major rarity and if we are all to see it, a number of ground rules need to be applied. I shall hopefully be on site tomorrow morning at dawn and within the first hour of daylight, a sweep of the area will be made to try and relocate it (if it is still present). It is going to be very difficult to pin it down on the ground, mainly because of the lie of the land and the numerous hollows in the area. Obviously, to keep disturbance to the bare minimum and to minimise any disturbance to any ground-nesting birds that may be in the vicinity (Meadow Pipits, Eurasian Skylarks, etc), organised 'flushing' will have to be implemented. Please adhere to any 'on-site' instructions. The bird flushes at 100 yards distance, and at least 50 birders (mainly Kentish) managed to see it before dark this evening.

The first twitchable Crested Lark was at Dungeness 33 years ago, where it frequented the shingle beach from 28th September to 1st October 1975. That bird attracted some 73 birders over its four day stay !!