Saturday, 19 May 2018

European Bee-eater at Sandwich

European Bee-eater.

Yesterday the 18th May i heard that there was a European Bee-eater being seen on & off at Worth & Sandwich bay , later in the evening it had become loyal to one area opposite the entrance to Restharrow scrape.

I decided to try my luck and headed over there and arrived at approx 7pm , there was only one other birder there who kindly informed me that the Bee-eater was still here but a little bit more distant on the wires and sure enough there it was in all it's glory !!!

Taking off from the wires.

I had decent scope views but really it was to far to get any photos although i was quite pleased i managed a flight shot through my scope (see above photo).

Eventually the European Bee-eater flew closer and alighted in a much closer bush and the views through the scope were simple stunning.

Stunning colour's.

You can just about make out the red eye.

I took lot's of photo's (mainly digi scoping) but also some with my camera.

European Bee-eater.

On checking my notes this European Bee-eater is my personal first at Sandwich and a welcome new bird to my Sandwich Bay bird list.

I had a quick look from the hide over looking Restharrow scrape and added Comm Sandpiper to my year list plus Avocet, Little Grebe & Mute Swan amongst others were all seen.

Mute Swan.

I also had a drive along the Ancient highway and saw & heard lot's of Corn Buntings & Common Whitethroat's plus there was quite a few Swallows , i also had a brief view of a Short eared Owl.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Some Local Birding...... Hard Going at Times

                                     4th May 2018 : Swalecliffe

Grasshopper Warbler.

On Friday the 4th of May i headed to Swalecliffe and run the normal gauntlet of Dogs (including a rather unfriendly looking pit bull type) to try and see the Grasshopper Warbler that had been showing well recently , it didn't take me long to hear this 'Reeling Warbler' and i soon picked it out on top of a bush 'Reeling'.

Nice shaped tail.

I watched this superb bird for a short time as i didn't want to disturb it , it was pretty much on show the whole time i was there only dropping down out of sight when said dogs came running past. Many thanks to Arnie & Chidders for local info.

8th May 2018 : Dungeness Seawatch

07.30am to 10.00am

Arctic Skua    1 DP east

Fulmar  2 east

Whimbrel  4 east

Bar Tailed Godwit  1 east

Black tailed Godwit  90 west 

Sandwich Tern  50+  east & west

Common Tern  50+   east & west

Little Tern  4  east

Common Scoter  60+  east

Shoveler  1 east

Swallow  2 in off

There was also at least 20 Great crested Grebes on the sea plus quite a few Porpoise further out.

Great crested Grebes 

Having a fly past.

I had a break from sea watching as it was quite slow  and the light conditions made it hard going , i called into the Arc pit and saw a couple of  Dragonflies which i was reliably informed are Four-Spotted Chasers, many thanks to all who helped with the id of these.

Four-Spotted Chaser.

I didn't see much at the Arc so went over to the Rspb and saw 3 Little Gulls and 4 Bar Tailed Godwits & 20+ Common Terns.

Little Gull.

Bar Tailed Godwit's.

However once again there just wasn't many birds around so i decided to have another go at sea watching and was pleased i did !!

Seawatch :  14.15pm  to 16.00pm

Arctic Skua  3 LP & 7 DP east

Pomarine Skua   1 DP  (full spoons)  east at 15.55pm

Manx Shearwater  1 east

Common Scoter  25+  east

Whimbrel  1 heard only

Kittiwake  2 west

Plus the usual Gannets , Common & Sandwich Terns moving east & west the same as this morning.

Flock of migrating Whimbrel.

11th  May : Oare Marshes


I called over to Oare marshes in time for high tide today at 10.00am , there wasn't much variation on the East flood , the usual Black tailed Godwits & Dunlin were the only waders on the flood , the water levels are still very high here , 

I bumped into MW & RR who had done the whole circuit and things seemed to be very quite all around , we did see a close Marsh Harrier and a distant Peregrine whilst chatting plus several Common Swifts made an appearance.

After MW & RR said their goodbyes i was lucky enough to be checked out by a Hobby which gave close views before drifting of west.

Close view of a Hobby.

I did also see a distant Turtle Dove  near the weather vane which was a most welcome addition to my year list.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Green Heron in Pembrokeshire

Green Heron .

News of a Green Heron being discovered in Narberth Pembrokeshire over the weekend caught the birding worlds attention , i was invited to go down there on Monday 30th April as my good birding mate had never seen one , i have been lucky enough to see 2 Green Herons before (Kent 2008 & Cornwall 2010) but i hardly ever turn down the opportunity to see great birds.

At full stretch.

We left extremely early and arrived at approx 9am , there had been no news at all on our journey and just as we pulled up news broke that the Green Heron was still present.

Initial views were restricted.

We eventually joined the already assembled birders and the Green Heron was out of view in the iris beds , after a short time my mate RR picked it out as it crepted through the reeds catching Newts & Rudd and was really feeding well.

Although we could see it the views were really restricted as it seemed quite content hiding away catching it's prey just giving very tantalising views every now and again.

A Red Kite drifted over head , which was the 2nd one we had seen this morning plus a Willow Warbler was singing away which was the first one i have heard this year.

In full view.

Eventually our patience paid of when the Green Heron walked through the reeds and out into the open and gave fantastic views.

The Green Heron then had a scratch and a preen.

Having a scratch.

And having a preen.

The Green Heron is an amazing coloured bird , the mantle had superb green feathers.

Green Heron.

Here's a photo of the Cornwall Green Heron i saw back in 2010.

Green Heron in 2010.

The journey home was long but well worth the effort , we added a further 10 Red Kites along the M4 plus several Common Buzzards.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Spring Migrants & Another New Bird for Stour Valley

22nd April at Grove Ferry 

♂ Garganey & Common Tern

I only had a small amount of spare time on Sunday morning the 22nd April and hearing that there was a ♂ Garganey viewable from the Ramp at Grove ferry made up my mind where to go.

I bumped into some of the Stour Valley regulars , Chidders , MW & SM and had decent scope views of the ♂ Garganey which was being kept company by 2 Common Terns , whislt we were chatting Chidders picked out a RED KITE flying over the Feast hide and on checking my records i was very happy to add this to my Stour valley bird list.

23rd  April at Stodmarsh


Yesterday 23rd April i headed to Stodmarsh to look for migrants and hopefully see the Jack Snipe at Marsh hide , whilst parking up i heard a Nightingale and then a Garden Warbler , i had no luck seeing the Nightingale but managed a brief view of the Garden Warbler , there was plenty of Blackcaps on view in the car park & on route to the Marsh hide.

Sedge Warblers were very vocal & often seen doing their parachute flight display , Cetti's Warblers gave brief views whilst Chiffchaff were less shy.

1 of 2 Greenshanks.

I eventually reached the Marsh hide and there was only one other birder in there  who kindly informed me there was no sign of the Jack Snipe so far but there is a Common Sandpiper & 2 Greenshanks ' , i instantly saw one of the Greenshanks more or less in front of the hide , however the Sandpiper was distant on the far pool left of the hide , i had a look and through the heat haze it certainly looked good for Common Sandpiper , later on with less heat haze you could clearly see it was in fact a Green Sandpiper  (light & distance can certainly play tricks on id sometimes).


I had no luck with the Jack Snipe but i really enjoyed the birds that were there, other birders arrived and between us we picked out some good birds including a distant Red Kite , 2 Wheatears (good spot MH) , plus lots of Sand Martins , House Martins & 10+ Common Swifts , there was also several Swallows.


Common Swift.

Sand Martin's

On my way back i also got lucky and saw my first Hobby of the spring and the Little Owl was once again back in it's favoured area on the farm buildings.


Little Owl.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Black Winged Stilt ........ at Stodmarsh

Black Winged Stilt.

On Friday the 13th April i headed out to the Marsh hide at Stodmarsh to try and see the Black winged Stilt that had first been seen the previous afternoon.

On my way past the Alder wood i could hear plenty of Chiffchaffs and as i continued my walk i heard my first Sedge Warblers of the spring.

I eventually reached the Marsh hide after battling through the very muddy path and soon joined several familiar faces and instantly saw the Black winged Stilt in all it's glory in front of the hide, There was also 5 Water Pipits on & off  through out my time here.

Superb long red legs.

This is a new bird for my Stodmarsh (Stour valley) bird list and what a cracker , they bred in Kent last year at another site but i think this bird is just having a brief feed up and rest before continuing it's journey.

Having a feed.

Plunged head straight in.

I really liked how the BWS fed by plunging it's head straight into the water ,which it did several times.

The BWS also spent sometime having a preen, where you can appreciate it's lovely long red legs and delicate bill.

When having long legs come in handy.

Delicate bill gets the job done.

Black Winged Stilt.

I watched the BWS for quite sometime and then decided to try and see the Ring Ouzel that had been seen earlier that morning at the Grove Ferry end of the reserve (Thanks Marc.H. for the info) , i joined up with BR and after checking Middle Drove we located 165+ Fieldfare in some distant trees , we then walked a little way along a track and flushed a ♂ Ring Ouzel which was then followed by a ♀ Ring Ouzel which both alighted on top of a bush.

♀ & ♂ Ring Ouzel.

Then amazingly a 3rd bird joined them , another ♀ Ring Ouzel making 3 Ring Ouzel's all together.

2 ♀ Ring Ouzel's

Digi scoped ♂ Ring Ouzel.

Really enjoyed watching these birds , i saw my first ever Ring Ouzel on this reserve many years ago so a little bit of nostalgia was nice.

On my way back i once again saw the Little Owl in it's favoured area near the Alder wood.

Little Owl.

A walk around the Alder wood produced several Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a Treecreeper collecting nest material .

I also bumped into the friendliest Robin i have ever met.

Friendly Robin.

A brief look from the Reed bed hide didn't produce much other than several Great Crested Grebes , Mute Swans & Cormorants.