Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Snow Buntings at Reculver

Snow Bunting.

Yesterday the 13th November i went to Reculver in the hope of seeing the Snow Buntings that have been seen recently there .

 I was a bit surprised with how much it now costs to use the car park by the Towers , 80p per hour , last time i went it was only approx £1.00 for 24 hours !!!!

I walked along the sea wall towards Cold Harbour Lagoon keeping my eye out for the Snow Buntings , i met 2 other birders on their way back and they kindly informed me they were near groyne 6 , so of i headed , i couldn't locate them and then i saw a familiar face further along the sea wall near groyne 8 .

I eventually joined Johnathan who was busy photographing the 3 Snow Buntings which were very tame indeed , they came to close to photograph at one point, i love the colour's on these birds , they blend in so well with all the shingle and foliage.

Great Camouflage. 

After spending some quality time with these birds i headed back towards the towers when i met another birder busy looking at a ..... Snow Bunting !?!? i thought the ones i had been watching further back must of flown past me without me noticing or at least one of them had.

But then the 3 Snow Buntings joined this bird making 4 Snow Buntings in total .

Fantastic markings on this male bird.

Snow Bunting.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Long Billed Dowitcher at Oare Marshes

Long Billed Dowitcher.

I called into Oare Marshes on Monday the 6th November in time for the high tide , i saw the long staying Long Billed Dowitcher (first seen in August) on the East flood showing quite well from the road.

Showing well.

Eventually the Long Billed Dowitcher made its way over to one of the island's where it had a snooze, i also saw 2 Little Stints out in the middle of the flood near the reedy island.

Landing on one of the islands.

There was at least  1000 Golden Plover on the flood and despite several scans through i couldn't find anything unusual amongst them .

Golden Plover.

There was large numbers of  Black Tailed Godwits , Dunlin & Avocets with approx 15 Bar Tailed Godwits, 10 Grey Plover & 10 Knot.

Black Tailed Godwit.

I also saw 20+ Ruff and several Lapwing.


There was a distant Peregrine Falcon on one of the pylons plus i saw an Apache Helicopter fly over the reserve flushing thousands of birds.

Apache helicopter.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Two Barred Greenish Warbler in Dorset

Two Barred Greenish Warbler Photo by Chris Craig.

Yesterday the 18th October i teamed up with RR and headed to St. Aldhelm's Head in Dorset and the target bird was a 1st w Two Barred Greenish Warbler which had been present for 3 days & counting , it was first thought to have been an Arctic Warbler until Dorset birder  Brett Spencer expertly re-identified it as a Two Barred Greenish Warbler  on the 17th. 

A straight forward journey got us on site at approx 9am and the news was positive the TBGW was still present , we made our way down to the quarry and joined the mass of birders already present , we more or less saw the TBGW straight away but the view was very brief and certainly not good enough to be certain of id , then the shout went up it was showing on the other side of the trees, we dashed round there but had no luck.

I decided the best course of action was to stay in one place which paid of as i had several brief views and a couple of really good views seeing all the id features that make this a Two Barred Greenish Warbler.

Sadly i never managed a photo , i was just not quick enough with my camera plus i was really trying to see all the key id features and of course just enjoying watching the bird.

Many thanks to Chris Craig who did manage a photo and very kindly has allowed me to use his photo on my blog.

There were several Firecrest amongst the trees which showed really well.


Two Barred Greenish Warbler is currently a sub species of Greenish Warbler but will soon be made a full species in it's own right when the BOU adopt the IOC listing system in January.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Wilson's Phalarope Re-visited at Oare Marshes

                                                     6th October 2017

Wilson's Phalarope

I paid another visit to Oare Marshes last Friday the 6th October to try and get better views of the Wilson's Phalarope and was pleasantly surprised that it was quite close to the road.

Here are a selection of photos i took:

Following a Teal.

The Wilson's Phalarope spent alot of time following various different Teal picking off small insects in their wake , a really clever feeding behaviour.

Often flushed.

Having a real good poke around.

Coming into land.

Having a preen.

In flight alongside a Golden Plover.

Wilson's Phalarope & Long Billed Dowitcher.

I tried to get an in focus photo of the Wilson's Phalarope & Long Billed Dowitcher together but one or the over was always just out of focus.

Wilson's Phalarope.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Wilson's Phalarope 1st for Oare Plus Lapland at Bishopstone

3rd October   2017  Oare Marshes

1st winter Wilsons Phalarope.

News reached me yesterday the 3rd October that a possible Wilson's Phalarope had been seen on the East flood at Oare Marshes , so without haste i grabbed by birding gear and headed straight there and sure enough in the middle of the flood near the reedy island was a cracking 1st winter Wilson's Phalarope !!!!

Such smart looking waders.

I was reliably informed this was a 1st record for Oare Marshes , i have been lucky enough to have seen 3 previous Wilson's Phalaropes  (2 in Kent) but this was by far the best views i have had of one in Kent.

I had really great views through the scope to be able to age this bird but it never really came close enough to get decent photos, all my photos are Digi scoped.

Wilson's Phalarope.

There was a great selection of waders on the East flood including 1 ad & 2 juv Little Stints and 3 juv Curlew Sandpipers, the Long Billed Dowitcher was also showing well close to the road.

Long Billed Dowitcher.

There was also a Black Necked Grebe in Faversham Creek plus i saw 2 Clouded Yellows on route to look at the Grebe.

Black Necked Grebe.

Clouded Yellow.

30th September 2017  Bishopstone

Lapland Bunting.

On the 30th September i called into Bishopstone near Reculver to see the Lapland Bunting which was very confiding to say the least.

Here are a selection of photos i took :

Lapland Bunting.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Eurasian Scops Owl at Ryhope in Durham plus trip to Dorset.

28th September 2017  Ryhope in Durham

Eurasian Scops Owl.

Whilst sitting in a hide on the 27th in Dorset news broke of a Eurasian Scops Owl being found in Ryhope village in Durham !!!!

There was no way i could get there on the 27th, and the news & photos just kept on coming on twitter & Rba that it was still present and showing well.

So today the 28th i travelled up to Durham in the hope of seeing the Scops Owl .

Cracking bird.

A very early start ensued and unfortunately the first early reports were negative , me & my birding mate decided to stop on route for a coffee and make a decision whether to carry on heading  north or go for other targets that were on offer , decisions, decisions !?!?

Keeping an eye on us all.

We decided to try for other targets as we were still quite a  distance from Durham , however as we were heading off for new targets the news came through the Eurasian Scops Owl had been relocated , so we reverted back to original plans and 3 hours later we were on site and having great views of the Scops Owl which was a new addition to my British list !!!

Congrats to the original birder who found this cracking bird , and for the guys who relocated it today, some great field craft and persistence.

Eurasian Scops Owl.

27th September  Middlebere Farm  Dorset

Record shot of the Stilt Sandpiper.

I had a really great time birding at Middlebere Farm near Arne Rspb reserve on the 27th September , i was invited by my mate to go down there in the hope of seeing the Stilt Sandpiper and thankfully we eventually managed to see it as the tide came in.

It never came really close but great scope views were obtained of this delightful wader , this was a lifer for my mate and a very welcome year tick for me.


There were large numbers of Spoonbills here and i recorded my personal largest ever total in the UK with 47 birds seen together , although there have been more seen here.


Other birds seen of note were Osprey , Marsh Harrier, Raven & Kingfisher which showed well at times.


We saw the Stilt Sandpiper 3 times in total , one quite close view plus again roosting with the Black Tailed Godwits, other waders seen were Knot, Avocet, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank (2) & Grey Plover (2).

Numerous Little Egrets & 1 Great White Egret were also seen, we also encountered several Sika Deer.

Sika Deer.