Sunday, 20 October 2019

A late hat trick

At this time of year the ticks are a little harder to find so we hatched a plan today to chase a couple down in Kent. First we stopped at Stodmarsh and made our way to Reed bed hide. We happily watched a Water Rail as we checked out the flock of Greylag Geese hoping to find the reported Tundra Bean Geese. The Tundra's weren't in with the Greys but before long another flock of Greys flew over from the Grove Ferry direction and behind them two smaller geese that I quickly called as the Tundra Geese but they didn't stop instead passing over the hide to the fields behind us. On the drive out we stopped to check the Greylags feeding in the muddy field and found both the Tundra Geese among them.

The Tundra Beans with the Greylags at Stodmarsh
Tundra Geese
From Stodmarsh we headed across Kent to Dunge and for the second day running bumped into Graham J. The Sabines Gull was our target but although reported this morning it wasn't at the patch as we arrived. We started to scan with the gathered group with some needing the bird for a life tick and after about fifteen minutes I picked up the bird coming into the patch where it flew for a couple of minutes before landing in the surf. I managed to get the group on it and put out the news quickly so those that had left could return. A successful start and middle to our trip now we just needed a good ending.

All looking for the Sab.
Distant record shot of the Sabines Gull
We pressed on to our final stop moving across the county line and into East Sussex. We parked at Seven Sisters country park and walked along the river bank to the flooded field where we very quickly found a small group watching the Grey Phalarope. We joined them and managed a few images as the bird waded around the field quite close to the fence. I'd started to think I could miss this bird in 2019 so it was both a joy and a relief to finally see one. Cuckmere Haven was alive with tourists and dog walkers many of whom showed great interest in this little visitor and why wouldn't you.

The flooded fields
The Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope 
Year list now stands at 290 and the target of 300 now looks achievable but the list of possibles is getting smaller by the day.

I still have a couple of probables to find before the years out but will need a few surprises too if I'm going to break the 300 this year.

The Water Rail at Stodmarsh

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