Saturday, 5 January 2013

ticking in Kent and a male Hen Harrier steals the show

We made the drive to Kent this morning having decided to start our new years list in Norfolk last week rather than our South East favorite.

We first stopped at Walland Marsh, parking in the Woolpack Inn car park and crossed the road to enter the marsh and walked the raised border for about half a mile. Marsh Harriers were in good numbers and a Ring tail Hen Harrier was seen. Cetti's Warbler called and Bearded Tits pinged. A distant SEO hooted or at least that was what we thought we'd heard but we remained unclear even after seeing what looked like one too.
(Not sure enough we left it to tick another day)

On scanning the fields to my right under the wind turbines I found a Crane feeding in the open and quickly got the Jims on it. We had really good views of it before returning to the car for a warm up.
On the way to Lydd we stopped to scan a field full of Swans to find many of them to be Bewick.
Whilst searching here for any Whoopers we found firstly a Merlin and then the bird of the day arrived in the form of an adult MALE Hen Harrier. The bird hunted the field in front of us for a good half an hour dropping to the floor several times as it hunted. A fabulous encounter which will stay long in the memory.

We moved on to Dungeness where we searched for the Glaucous Gull without luck.
On the sea we found lot's of Gt Crested Grebe including one Leucistic bird. Gannets fished, Guillemots were on the sea in large numbers and a large flock of Common Scoter flew past. Adult and juvenile Kittiwakes were present and a few Red Throated Diver were also seen close in. We encountered several Gt Wh. Egrets one really close in a field by the entrance to the RSPB track. Smew were seen on the reserve and of course Tree Sparrows fed on the feeders at the gate.

The White cliffs of Dover
We debated a drive to Dover Harbour where a Black Throated Diver is still being reported and as we're only 20 miles away it had to happen. On arrival we scanned the harbour from the life boat station and quickly find Red Breasted Merganser and Shag but the Diver gave us the slip.
A walk down to the lighthouse gave us two Purple Sandpipers and despite being told the Diver had just shown we still didn't connect.
Dover Harbour

A cracking day...the year list now sits at 124.   Onwards and upwards!

1 comment:

  1. I am a collaborator of the Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg compiling a worldwide register of grebes Pocicipedidae with aberrant plumages. With respect to the above observation of a leucistic Great Crested Grebe, may I ask you for a more detailed description of the bird to correctly reflect the observation in my register.
    Thank you very much in advance for your assistance.
    Best wishes
    André Konter