Friday, 16 March 2018

Local Birding.....

Barn Owl .

In early March (6th & 9th) i called into Seasalter to do some local birding , i was pleasantly surprised to see 2 Barn Owls on both occasions , they were mainly distant but great birds to see.

This one has a ring .

Barn Owl

Other birds seen on the 6th were  2 Ravens  flying over the sheep fields plus Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon on one of the Pylons.

Peregrine Falcon.

I also had a distant view of a Short eared Owl and closer views of a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a Carrion Crow.


Carrion Crow mobbing a Sparrowhawk.

On the 9th i was pleased to find a Great White Egret here , however it quickly disappeared when it walked out of sight into a dyke only to be seen again later flying around the marsh before once again disappearing into a dyke.

Great White Egret.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Garden Birding........

Garden Feeders.

Since i have lived here i have wanted to put up garden feeders, however i have been very reluctant to because there are so many cats living in the area (at least 6 within my immediate neighbours homes) and i can't stand the thought of them catching & killing the birds.

I have noticed recently (around Christmas time) that there are only now 2 cats living nearby so i decided to go ahead and put feeders up at the start of January 2018 and have been very pleased with the results.

'Rodney' the Wood Pigeon

'Dora' the Collared Dove.

I have even named a couple of the birds (yep finally snapped and gone soft...!!!) Wood Pigeon & Collared Dove are regular visitors to my garden , even before i put up feeders , i also have a couple of Dunnock.


I regularly have at least 4 Blue Tits & 2 Great Tits  visiting the feeders and i am quite hopeful they might breed nearby.

Blue Tits.

There are 2 Robins which are quite possessive of the feeders and are hopefully going to nest in my neighbours shed as they have been regularly checking it out. 

Great Tit , Robin & Goldfinch.

I was especially pleased to attract Goldfinch to my feeders , they just can't get enough of the Nyjer seeds , i get anywhere from 4 to 7 Goldfinch everyday.


I also see 2 Long Tailed Tits on the fat balls most days , plus i was pleasantly surprised to see plenty of House Sparrows and both & Chaffinch , although they don't always tolerate each other.

House Sparrow & Chaffinch not getting on.

Long Tailed Tit.

I see regular Starling's on the feeders and their colours  when the sunshine's on them is quite simply stunning to see.


One of the highlights of visiting birds to my feeders is without doubt a superb Blackcap , i have also seen a Blackcap but that only stays in the foliage (so far).

On suet pie.

♀ Blackcap.

Wren & Goldcrest have both visited my garden , and several Blackbirds made appearances during the recent snow fall.


Blackbird in the snow

Heavy snow on the feeders.

I have seen plenty of birds fly over the garden such as Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk & Ring Necked Parakeet to name but a few, however probably the most unexpected bird i saw sitting on the fence before flying off was a Black Redstart !!!

So to sum it up i have  only had my feeders up since January 2018 and have really enjoyed the experience of what they can attract and of course the main thing is it helps the local population of birds (especially through bad weather) to survive .

I have taken part in the Rspb Big Garden Birdwatch for the last couple of years with very little input , hopefully next year my records will be much better.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Oare Marshes & Conyer

                                February  5th :  Oare Marshes     

Water Pipit.

On the 5th February i called into Oare marshes in the hope of finally seeing the Water Pipits that have been seen on the New Excavations (having dipped on 2 occasions already) , well this time it proved third time lucky with no fewer than 7 Water Pipits seen.

They were not easy to see even then as they fed in the long grass and always quite distant.

Knot & 2 Bar .T. Godwits roosting with Black .T. Godwits.

The wintering Long Billed Dowitcher was feeding on the other side of Faversham Creek and looking over towards Shellness i saw 100+ White Fronted Geese which were added to my Oare Marsh bird list.

Back on the East flood i saw the usual mix of waders plus a single Knot & 2 Bar Tailed Godwits roosting in with Black Tailed Godwits.

February  12th  :  Conyer

4 of the 10 Shorelarks.

On the 12th February i went to Conyer keen to see the 10 Shorelarks that have been spending their time either on Sheppy or Conyer, so with positive news of them being at Conyer and the weather being good i took my chance.


It's quite a walk out to the outflow and if the weather isn't kind to you it's pretty exposed to say the least , luckily today was a good day and i saw all 10 Shorelarks in the grassy field  , they spent most of the time in these fields foraging with 2 Stonechats keeping an eye on them from various fence posts.

Shorelark on sea wall.

Late in the afternoon the Shorelarks all flew towards the sea wall and showed fairly well although with their backs to you they were very well camouflaged , however when they faced you with their incredibly bright yellow faces they were easy to see.


There was also 2 Snow Buntings along the sea wall and to say they were very tame is an understatement. Here are a small selection of photos that i took.

Snow Bunting.

There were lots of waders & ducks out on the Swale plus plenty of Dark Bellied Brent Geese moving back & forth , a really enjoyable birding session.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Godmersham & Dungeness & Scotney


                              1st  February  :   Godmersham

Hawfinch in Yew tree.

On the 1st February i tried a new site (to me anyway) for Hawfinch , i had seen pretty much daily reports of them there and choose this morning to go as this was the best morning weather wise.

Monster sized bill.

I parked up near the church and straight way i could hear Nuthatch & Goldcrest and then saw 2 Nuthatch high up in the nearby tree tops.

Early morning sun on this Nuthatch.

I wasn't 100% sure where to watch from so decided to have a walk around the church seeing lots of  Greenfinch, Goldfinch & Chaffinch.

Heading back towards the entrance i saw 3 Hawfinch flying over and then they landed in the Yew tree in front of me....Wow

Having a feed.

They were happily eating away and although they kept an eye on me (who can blame them) they weren't to bothered i was there.

Eventually another birder pulled up in his car and unfortunately that spooked them and they flew off before he saw them , however whilst chatting they reappeared in another tree.

Superb looking birds.

I took lots of photos and really enjoyed watching them , other birders had a arrived so i left them to it , great site and one i will revisit in the future.


29th  February  :  Dungeness & Scotney

Male Kingfisher from Hansen hide.

On 29th January i went to Dungeness & Scotney in the hope of seeing the Tundra Bean Geese at Scotney , they are quite scarce in Kent (or at least for me), i arrived at Scotney quite early and apart from the feral Barnacle Geese there were no geese in sight , so after awhile i headed to the Arc pits , i more or less saw the Black Throated Diver straight away plus there were really large numbers of Gadwall (possibly the most i have ever seen here ?!).


A Kingfisher flew past the hide and landed in the reeds and on closer inspection i could see it was a male bird and shortly after a second Kingfisher flew into a tree right in front of the hide.

Female Kingfisher with a fish.

Really superb views of this female Kingfisher , i tried to get a photo of it fishing but it was just to quick for me, whilst watching the Kingfisher a Chiffchaff was busy flicking through the reeds and then a brief but brilliant view of a Firecrest was much appreciated.

From here i went on to the Christmas Dell hide and had superb views of a drake Smew and 2 'Redheads'.

Drake Smew with 'Redhead' Smew.

I really enjoy watching these superb birds , the female was presenting herself to the male who showed some signs of interest but was more interested in feeding at this point.

Female presenting to the male.

Mr & Mrs Smew

I also saw the Slavonian Grebe from here but that was quite elusive keeping to the right handside of the pool behind the trees mostly, plenty of Goldeneye were seen and then i decided to try and see if the Tundra Bean Geese had returned to Scotney.

Tundra Bean Goose.

I soon located the Tundra Bean Geese sleeping among the Greylag Geese , one stood up briefly had a wing stretch and went back to sleep again, there was also 3 Egyptian Geese on the far bank.