Thursday 17 November 2022

Bittern hide Lee Valley

With a spare couple of hours on Wednesday morning I popped over to the Lee Valley and enjoyed a few brief views of the Bittern from the discovery centre hide along with a few flight views of Kingfisher. The Grebes were busy catching perch and a Cormorant and Heron watched on from a safe distance. Water rails were heard and seen quite often, and a Cetti's showed quite well in the reeds.

Bittern at Lee Valley

The view from the Bittern hide



Great crested Grebe with Perch 

Perch for lunch

After leaving the hide I walked down to the farm watching a Red Kite as I walked. The finch flock feeding on the set aside numbers well over a hundred now and I managed to find a couple of Brambling amongst the Chaffinch and Goldfinch. On the walk back a pair of Stonechat sat up asking for their picture to be taken.



All in all, a very enjoyable couple of hours to clear the head and set me up for the afternoons tasks.

Sunday 13 November 2022

Sabines gulls in Kent

I haven't managed a day out birding for over a fortnight now but have had an eye on the Sab gull at Lympne in Kent all week. A combination of caring duties for Suzanne, the grandchildren and my father in law all prevented me travelling and of course the protests on the M25 wouldn't have made the journey very enjoyable this week so with a free day Saturday I did make the journey with the Jims.

I started the day at Dunge where I walked far too many miles up and down the shingle in search of the Grey Phalarope that was seen by others but never allowed me a glimpse. The sea was calm and therefore quiet. We had two drake Eider to give the Jims a late year tick but otherwise the usual sea birds although we did spot what looked like a distant Sabines Gull. 

We decided to shoot off and check out Appledore as the Osprey had been reported and we hadn't yet seen one in 2022. Pulling up at the bridge we walked down the track and found the Osprey sat in a field, after a while it flew and landed close to us on a telegraph pole before flying to its favoured dead tree.


Back at Dunge and we had another go for the Phalarope but missed it again by a few minutes so we set off up the road for the Sabines gull at Lympne. As we drove down the entrance track we saw the gull feeding alone infront of a small gathering of admirers and were told to park on the grass close to the gates. From the safety of the fenced pull in we enjoyed the bird hanging out on its newly found territory as it pulled worms and called along with chasing any Black-heads that got too close. It was only 1pm and we had a descision to make, do we go down to Foreland and look for the Pallas's Warbler or do we go back to Dunge and give the Phalarope another go.

Back at Dunge we set up at the Sea watch hide and sat it out for a couple of hours. We failed to see the Phalarope which had flown from the sea watch hide just before we got there. The Sabines gull that I'd seen at distance this morning was now flying along the tide line constantly giving great views. An Arctic Tern was at the patch and later flew along the tide line too. Lots of Med gulls flew up and a few Sandwich Terns but little else of note.

Enjoyed being out and clearing the old cobwebs even if we did miss the Phal but we did add three very late year ticks.

Year list now 246 (nothing new for Kent|)