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

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Another unexpected garden tick

Sitting in the garden taking in a few rays enjoying a little bottle of red and totally out of the blue a pair of Mandarin ducks flew over the garden giving me another garden tick. That's four this year and takes the total to a modest 65.

Just goes to show you never can tell with birding what the next day will bring and underlines why we're always birding.

Not the ones that flew over but added for a bit of colour.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Colin returns to Thursley Common

I heard that Colin the Cuckoo had made the epic return journey to Thursley Common so I thought well if he can make it so can I so I jumped in the car drove the 70 miles round the orbital and arrived at the Moat Pond car park for 6.30am this morning. (tiny effort compared to his)

The walk along the boardwalk and round to the paddock took about fifteen minutes and then the waiting game started. Thankfully I was entertained by two male and a female Redstart along with Tree Pipit and Woodlark calling nearby. After about three hours Colin started calling and flew in to feed for a couple of minutes allowing me and the small gathering to fire off a few shots before he flew up and over the trees and that was that. For the next three hours nothing visited the field so I decided to jump back on the orbital and head home trying in vain to avoid the Friday rush.

Year list now 205

Colin the Cuckoo
taking to the skies again
What a star
Common Lizard on the boardwalk at Thursley Common 

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Savi's Warbler at Minsmere

I visited Minsmere today stopping at Alton Waters where the Red-rumped Swallow had disappeared before I arrived but I bagged a single Arctic Tern for a consolation prize. At Minsmere I tried first for the Savi's but after an hour gave in and walked the reserve finding a single LRP before dipping the Garganey in North Hide. I stopped to enjoy the Swallows at the sluice playing with different backgrounds for a while.

Back at Island Mere I settled down to try for the Savi's again and counted at least five Hobby.
Eventually the Savi's started to buzz and showed briefly as it flew from bush to bush along the far bank directly in front of the hide.

Year list now 203

3 different backgrounds by walking around the post.

Little cracker!
Swallow at Minsmere

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Great Grebes

A morning dip on the Red-rumped Swallow at Nazeing was followed by a short trip to Fishers Green in the afternoon where I managed to pick up three firsts for the year with Swift, Hobby and Reed Warbler all being found.

I heard more Nightingales and then spent some time watching a pair of Grebes displaying and defending a nest site from a pair of Coot.

Year list now 200

Coot v Grebe
round two

Taking on the pair

The display
The pair