Monday, 11 June 2018

Bonny gull returns to Oare for a sixth year

A Sunday morning trip down to Oare Marsh in Kent had us picking up a nice year tick when we lucked on the summering Bonaparte's Gull just as we reached the mud above the car park. The bird showed well but at 7.45am took flight and flew right across the Swale and settled in pools by Harty Ferry Inn. With the target bird sorted we headed off to pick up good views of Turtle Dove and Little Owl before bumping into Harry, Stuart and Neville who had also decided to visit Napoleon.  After a good catch up we headed off to leave them waiting for the gull to return.

We stopped at Sittingbourne where we eventually found a Spotted Flycatcher for another year tick before heading off to finish the birding at Elmley where the usual suspects gave themselves up for the camera.

Year list now 219

Bonaparte's Gull (distant and in the gloom)
Blackbird (guess she has hungry youngsters back at the next)
Corn Bunting at Elmley
Hare at Elmley
Grey Heron
Marsh Harrier at Elmley
Redshank at Elmley
Song Thrush in Sittingbourne
Squirrel at Sittingbourne eating flowers
Yellow Wag at Elmley
Song Thrush 

Monday, 4 June 2018


Yesterday saw a quick trip down to Oare Marsh in Kent. Arriving early we enjoyed a quartering Barn Owl and a Little Owl with a pair of Marsh Harrier along with the usual waders, Egrets and ducks.

We heard a Turtle Dove calling in the distance and eventually picked it up sitting in the trees by the farm where it continued to call throughout our visit. Reed and Sedge Warblers were very noisy along with a calling Cuckoo to round off a decent trip. We then decided to try North Foreland in the hope we might jam on yesterdays Rose Starling or find one of our own but failed on that front but did get some nice views of the breeding Fulmars here. On the way home a Pink Starling was reported at Cliffe so we took the short diversion only to dip again but here's hoping we jam on one soon as this mini invasion continues.

Year list now 217

Reed Warbler
Singing in the Reeds
Reed Warbler
A Reed Warbler warbling
Reed Warbler at Oare Marsh
Reed Warbler

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Kentish Plover at Dungeness

After a two hour search of Rye Harbour for the Terek Sandpiper we gave up and headed over to Dunge.

Our reward for this 10 mile diversion was to connect with a smart little Kentish Plover from Dennis's hide as it walked about on the shingle scrape in the company of Sanderling and Dunlin. I added Greenshank to the year list here too before we moved on to Denge Road and found the Hoopoe a little hard to connect with but eventually enjoyed good flight views.

A brief trip to Elmley on the way home delivered good views of Corn Bunting and Yellow Wagtails to add a fourth year tick for the day.

Kentish Plover (top left)
Corn Bunting

Yellow Wagtail

Year list now 216

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Lakenheath haven for the Bittern

At Lakenheath today we had three flight views of the Bitterns along with several views of the constantly calling Cuckoo. No Cranes today but we did find a smart drake Garganey on the scrape. A single Hobby was seen flying in and then sitting in a tree to give good scope views and the reserve was alive the sound of Bearded Tit, Cetti's, Sedge and Reed Warbler along with Whitethroats.

The biggest surprise came when the warden opened the loo door only for a Mole to come running out which I think is the first time I've actually seen a live one and not where I'd have expected to see it.

Year list now 212

Reed Bunting
Sedge Warbler

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Monday, 7 May 2018

More of Colin the Cuckoo

5000 miles from the uk to central Africa and he's done it for the last three years at least that's 30,000 miles on his migration route. They reckon he makes the 3000km crossing of the med / Sahara in one flight. Now that makes my 75 mile drive to see him seem well worth it.

Wish him all the best for this years journey.

ps. Visited Bowers Marsh this morning for the two Black-winged Stilts and Wood Sandpiper taking the years list to 211 but I failed to find a Green Sandpiper which is proving to be my 2018 bogey bird.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Purple Heron at Cley and Dotterel at Docking

We travelled up the A11 this morning arriving at Cley for 7am parking in a layby under the westbank we walked up the steps to find a few birders already in place and luckily they were on the Purple Heron. No sooner had we got on it the Lapwings started to give it a hard time so it took flight and flew away dropping out of sight but we'd achieved our first tick of the day so we left to travel across to Docking were we again parked up on the side of the road to scan the stony fields. We found a pair of Grey Partridge, a pair of Wheatear, a pair of Osyercatchers and a single Golden Plover before eventually finding two female and a male Dotterel in the distance. Throw in a couple of Barn Owls and the day was of to a good start and with the pressure off we headed into Titchwell for a bit of general birding.

Purple Heron (a bit dark shooting into direct sun from Westbank)
A Red-crested Pochard gave us another year tick before we connected with two Little Gills, a couple of Common Sands and a Spoonbill on Freshmarsh. At the sea we found another year tick with three Little Terns fishing on the shore line and a Grey Seal had beached giving a quick photo op using the 400mm so as to keep a good distance. I sat and watched the Sanderlings for a while grabbing a few images as they marched along the shore line.

Year list now 209 

Grey Seal
Grey Seal
Little Tern

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern