Saturday, 28 December 2013

December 28th (Sheppey)

Red-legged Partridge (Capel Fleet)
Curlew (Leysdown)
Brent Geese
Brent Geese (Leysdown)
Elmley track as far as the farm produced - Marsh Harrier 2,Common Buzzard 1,Little Egret 2,Lapwing (1000s),Curlew 20,Linnet 15,Peregrine 2,Barn Owl 1 and White-fronted Geese 8.
Barn Owl
Common Buzzard (Elmley)

Monday, 23 December 2013



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

December 17th (Dungeness)


I picked up Bob Bland this morning from Headcorn.The forecast was that today was to be the best of the coming week.It didn`t stop raining until 0900 and then when it did clear it remained dull and dismal,so much for the best day!.

Apart from a sea watch from the fishing boats,we spent all our time on the RSPB reserve (Burrowes Pit).

Shoveler 100s,Pintail 3,Black-necked Grebe 1,G W Egret 1,Wigeon 100+,Gadwall,Teal,Goldeneye 2,Smew (red head 1) and Goosander 1.
We watched the sea from the fishing boats between 08:45 -9:45.

Gannet small numbers E-W.
Kittiwake 4
Red-throated Diver 20 E-W
Guillemot 30 E-W
Razorbill 2 E.
Cormorant  100 fishing frenzy
Great crested Grebe 40+ sitting on the sea.
Turnstone 2 on the beach.
Great White Egret
Goldeneye (female)
A gull sitting on the water way off on Burrowes pit that Bob picked up through his scope looked interesting,we had thoughts of Caspian.When it finally flew I managed to follow it for a while with my camera. Although only record shots,the primary tip pattern we both think looks good for the species,the legs look fleshy,rather than yellow (yellow-legged Gull) and the eye through the scope looked dark,any comments would be welcome.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Caspian Gull ?.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

December 12th (GARDEN)

I now have coming into the garden up to three Reed Buntings (2 males and 1 female).The first to be seen this winter was a single female on the 5th of this month,three weeks later than the first bird last year.

I have noticed a big reduction in the number of Goldfinches coming into the garden this year,(perhaps many more than usual this year have moved south).

House Sparrows continue to do well, with up to thirty birds on the feeders at anyone time.

Starlings are also doing well,with the usual post breeding flock on our estate estimated to be over 1000 birds this year.When I see them all gathered on the roofs of the houses,I often wonder what it is about the estate they find so attractive.Perhaps some of it is to do with the feeding opportunities to be found in the lawns,as I have often seen up to 50 birds swarming all over some quite small ones.If most of the lawns are like mine,(I use no fertilizers etc),this could well account for the numbers present.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

December 10th (Dungeness)

G W Egret (Burrowes)
We left Maidstone this morning at 7:30am in thick fog,which didn`t completely clear until we were almost at Dungeness.The remainder of our visit was in pleasantly bright conditions.

Our first stop was to look at the southern end of the ARC Pit - birds of note - G W Egret 1,Goosander 1(red head),Goldeneye 3,Lapwing 100 and Gadwall 200+.

We then looked at the sea from the fishing boats between 9:30-10:15.Although bird activity was rather quite we did see 40 Red-throated Divers all of which flew west,along with 4 Guillemots,3 Kittiwakes,2 Common Scotor and 1 Oystercatcher.Sitting on the sea was 1 R T Diver and at least 60 Great Crested Grebes.

We had lunch at the northern end of Burrowes Pit,adding to our lists,one more Goldeneye and two more G W Egrets.

Heading back to Maidstone we stopped off  for a while at Scotney,seeing a distant Long-tailed Duck,100s of Wigeon and Pochard and singles of Redshank and Marsh Harrier.From  there we then cut across the marsh and saw the Bewick`s Swan flock which held 39 adult birds,but only 5 young birds.

In all I saw 53 species - Tree Sparrows were seen at the farm feeding station on Walland marsh and on the RSPB reserve,by the track entrance.

Jeff Wynn,Pete Tyler,Bob Bland,Trevor Graves and Trevor Maynard,accompanied me.
Bewick`s Swans
Red-throated Diver

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

December 2nd (Reculver)

Black Redstart
This morning,I went to Reculver with Bob Bland,Trevor Maynard,Jeff Wynn,Trevor Graves and Pete Tyler.We went there with the primary aim of seeing Snow Bunting and Pale-bellied Brent.Trevor Graves in particular wanted to see Snow Bunting,as its one of his bogie birds and only just recently he had missed seeing the birds on Sheppey,at Shellness.

After we had slogged all the way along the beach to Coldharbour and back again,without even a sniff of a Snow Bunting,Trevor was feeling a bit dejected,but it was to get worse.While the rest of us were enjoying our well earned lunch on the benches near the car park,Trevor walked off to spend a penny in the nearby toilets.However,while he was in there,four Snow Buntings suddenly flew up from a bit of rough grass behind the toilets,passed over our heads and then off in the direction to where we had been searching for them all morning.

After lunch we did all agree to walk back along the beach a bit to try and locate them for him,but I`m afraid without any luck.As Trevor said after,`there`s always another day`.

In all I saw about forty species,with birds of note being - Black Redstart 1,Rock Pipit 1,Linnet 60,Stonechat 2,Little Egret 2,Kestral 1,Marsh Harrier 1,Grey Wagtail 1 and Snow Bunting 4.

We did see the Brent flock,but the geese were sitting on the water way off in the distance and there was no chance of us picking out the pale-bellied birds,even with a scope.

I then went to Foreness with Bob and Pete.When we arrived the tide was still out,so we had some difficulty in finding our target species Purple Sandpiper,as they fed in among the rocks and seaweed.All in all though,it proved to be another nice day,spent as usual in good company.
Purple Sandpiper

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

November 26th (Oare marshes)

Water Rail
This morning six of us spent a very pleasant morning at Oare marshes.After finding just over sixty species, including (5) Twite,we enjoyed a very nice lunch at the Castle Inn (Oare village).

Birds of note - Twite 5,which flew up from the salt marsh just south of the hide overlooking the mud flats),Peregrine 2,Marsh Harrier 2,Pintail 18,Rock Pipit 1,Linnet 2,Reed Bunting 50+,Song Thush 2,Cetti`s Warbler 2,Water Rail 3,Bearded Tits,Common Snipe 40+,Avocet 170+,Golden Plover 2,000+,Red-breasted Merganser 1 drake,Dunlin 100+,Knot 30,Grey Plover 2,Turnstone 4,Bar-tailed Godwit 3,Black-tailed Godwits 100s,Curlew 20 and  Brent Geese 100s.

There was a good number of seals hauled out on the sand bank in the Swale,at least thirty +.

No wonder I havn`t had any Reed Buntings in our Garden so far this winter !.
Little Egret

Monday, 25 November 2013

November 25th.

I went out this morning trying to find a HOOPOE that Jeremy Hall had seen yesterday in the Sandy lane area of Snodland.However,despite me spending a good three hours looking,there was no sign of it.

Yesterday,Jeremy last saw the bird flying towards the sand quarry.If its feeding a lot down in there,it could well remain hidden for long periods of time.I walk our dogs in Sandy lane most mornings,so I think Jeremy was a very lucky boy to have seen it.Of course,it may well have been a bird just passing through,but I would have thought at this time of the year its been around in the area for a while.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

November 16th (Sandwich Bay)

Water Rail (3),a young bird)
Clear skies,cold,light NW.(7:am-1300).

Good mixed catch this morning,including a Water Rail caught in the heligoland trap.

Water Rail  (1)                    
Chaffinch  (3) + (1) retrap
Goldfinch   (1)
Great Tit   (1)
Wren   (2)
Blackbird  (1) retrap
Blue Tit   (1)
Chiffchaff   (3)
Lesser Redpoll   (136) + (5) Brit control and one from Norway.
Common Redpoll  (8) + (1) Brit control.
Siskin   (2)
Goldcrest (1)
Greenfinch (2) + (1) Brit control.
Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll
Lesser Redpoll (leucistic,plumage),could be past over for a Common Redpoll,if seen in the field.

Monday, 11 November 2013

November 10th (Sandwich Bay and Oare Marshes)

Great Tit (male) a probable Continental bird,being more towards grey and overall less bright than our birds.
Lesser Redpoll (adult male)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

I went to Sandwich  Bay this morning.I was hoping that I might get to ring a few Redpolls,which over the past week or more have been passing through in quite good numbers.However when I arrived there was a rather strong northerly blowing and it didn`t look that promising,which it proved to be.

Birds ringed -  Lesser Redpoll (2),only
                       Blackbird (2)
                       Robin (1)
                       Chaffinch (1)
                       Great Tit (1)

On the way back home I looked in on Oare Marshes (KTNC)

Oare Marshes.

On the east flood close to the road was a nice Spotted Redshank.

Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank
When I arrived at the marsh,the sun was already quite low in the sky and the light on the birds was fantastic.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


November 8th,cloudy,though with some bright periods,cold.

 New Hythe,Brookland lake -water level,nice and low,birds seen - Water pipit (1),Meadow pipit (9),Pied Wagtail (5),Grey Wagtail (1),Lapwing (20),Green Sandpiper (1),Jack Snipe (2),Common Snipe (3),Dunlin (5), nearby - Stonechat (2,pair),Linnet (20),Goldfinch (50),Greenfinch (40) and a mixed flock of (100),House and Tree Sparrows.

I then went over the railway and walked across the area to the lakes at Leybourne,noting on the way,Pochard (6),Mistle Thrush (5),Song Thrush (6),another Grey Wagtail(Mill stream) and a flock of Fieldfare (20),which passed over quite low going in a westerly direction.

Castle lake - Willow Tit (2),Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (1),Bullfinch (5),Siskin (30)and Canada Goose (2).A road is now being constructed through the area (M20),no Grebes were seen on either lake and only a few Coot were present.

Feeding in the fields to the west of the lakes,were (100s),of Rooks and Jackdaws,with many more in the air as far as the eye could see,I also saw at least (50) Skylark.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Friday, 1 November 2013