Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Bossenden & Thornden Woods

Nuthatch at Bossenden Woods.

Over the last week i have been doing some woodland birdwatching and my quest was to try and at least hear and hopefully see a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker , one day last week i went to Bossenden wood , i have heard them there before but no luck this time , however local bird photographers have set up a feeding station which was busy with at least 3 Nuthatch & several Coal Tits coming into feed.

Coal Tit at feeding station.

I know there is alot of mixed opinions on this form of bird feeding 'just to get the photo' but i have to say i don't really see the harm in it myself (at least they are only being shot with a camera and not a gun !!). As always providing the birds are not being hassled or disturbed by over enthusiastic photographers (birds welfare must come first) then i don't see a problem plus the birds are getting fed at a time of year their main food supply is in low supply.

Male Chaffinch.


I spent quite sometime walking around Bossenden and saw plenty of Blue ,Great, Coal & Long tailed Tits but no Marsh Tits , at least 3 Great spotted Woodpeckers and a single Green Woodpecker, i heard Treecreeper and saw at least 2 Goldcrests.

Thornden Wood

Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Yesterday the 20th February i also called into Thornden Wood and took of on one of the side trials , i heard a Redpoll overhead but couldn't see it , i then continued along the trail and also heard both Great Spotted & Green Woodpeckers , i decided to wait around in this area just in case and after about 20 mins nothing else was heard or seen so i decided to head off and just as i started to walk i heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker , it got closer and closer and there it was in the tree right by me , Wow what a bird !!!

Lovely red crown on this bird.

After i had watched this bird for quite sometime i carried on my walk adding various different species as i went until i finally caught up with 3 Redpolls feeding in an Alder tree , a really enjoyable walk through the woods however it's abit of a dog walkers heaven and even though they are mean't to be kept on leads most were not and often came running up barking at you which can be a bit daunting at times.


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Scotney & Dungeness Rspb Reserve

Black Necked Grebe at Scotney.

Yesterday the 13th February i headed off to Scotney and Dungeness Rspb reserve to take advantage of the forecast of sunshine after the very cold & dull last few days.

I called into Scotney first of all hoping to try and find the Black necked Grebe & Scaup that were reported the day before and although the sun was out it was very windy and the water on Scotney was very choppy indeed , however eventually i found the Black necked Grebe quite close in and sheltering from the wind.

Digi scoped photo of Black necked Grebe.

Despite my best efforts i couldn't locate the Scaup which were probably still there but sheltering out of sight somewhere out of the wind.

I decided then to head to Dungeness Rspb reserve and do the full circuit around the reserve , It was fairly quite looking from the Dennis hide so i continued on past the dipping pond (no sign of the Long eared owls) and went to the Firth hide , i quickly scanned the wildfowl and saw 2 'Redhead' Smew , there were lot's of Tufted Duck, Pochard & Shoveler with a scattering of Gadwall, Mallard & Teal, there was also at least 5 Goldeneyes.

'Redhaed' Smew.

There were plenty of Gulls on the islands and after a scan i saw a superb adult Yellow Legged Gull which was a new addition to my year list.

Adult Yellow legged Gull.

I then had a look from the Makepeace hide and i instantly saw something in the water , a look through my bins confirmed a Peregrine Falcon which was quite a surprise !!!

Peregrine Falcon.

My initial thoughts were it has caught something but it hadn't , it was just having a wash , it proceeded washing then had a fly around shaking it's feathers dry.

Shaking it's feathers.

If you enlarge the above photo you can see the droplets of water falling off the Peregrine ,it then did a bit of a fly around before heading off towards the power station.

Peregrine Falcon.

A really great birdwatching moment to witness , i didn't add anything else from here and a look from both the Scott & Christmas dell hides didn't add anything new either.

I didn't go into the Denge marsh hide as i was told that a drake Smew was showing quite well at Hookers pit.

Drake Smew.

These are such stunning looking birds and it's been a good couple of years since i have seen a drake Smew, there was also a Great White Egret nearby.

Having had my fill of this stunning bird i had a mug of coffee on Hookers mound view point in the hope a Bittern would do a fly by but sadly it didn't , i then started my walk back along the trail to the visitor centre and saw 2 Egyptain Geese as they flew past.

Egyptain Geese.

On the way out of the reserve i had a look over Cooks pool and the ♂ Ring necked Duck was still present and there was also another 'Redhead' Smew present , a quick look over the feeders produced Reed Bunting & Tree Sparrow, another really enjoyable days birding.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Local Waxwings

Male Waxwing.

Waxwings have to be high up on most birders must see birds of any winter  and every now and again we in the UK get whats called an 'Eruption' of Waxwings which means a large influx of Waxwings arriving in the Uk due to their main food supply of berries being in poor supply in Scandinavia and /or Northern Russia.

Feeding on berries.

I was delighted to hear that 2 such Waxwings were being seen along Gordon Road Whitstable last week  (there have been 1000's seen all over the UK this winter) , i saw them on both Monday & Tuesday 30th & 31st January.

Lovely plumage on these birds.

They were staying loyal to one berry laden tree in particular and were allowing quite close views whilst they gauged themselves on the delicious berries.

The red wax marking on the wing is stunning.


Friday, 27 January 2017

Pine Bunting at Milton Creek......... 1st for Kent.

 Pine Bunting 1992 at Dagenhem Chase photo by R.Chitenden

News broke on Tuesday 24th January of a Pine Bunting flushed from the sea wall and flew towards the bushes at Milton creek Sittingbourne , it was again relocated on Wednesday afternoon feeding on seed in the field but was elusive and only seen every now and again and was keeping company with several Yellowhammers.

I had a dentist appointment on Wednesday so couldn't get there til Thursday the 26th January, i found a safe place to park and walked along Milton creek (which is about a 25 min walk) towards the sea wall , it was a really great walk with plenty of waders to look at  including 35 Knot .

Mixed wader flock including Knot.

I eventually reached the area where the Pine Bunting has been seen from and joined the already assembled birders looking for it , it had been seen approx 3 times by the time i got there and was told i would have to put in the time to see it , there were plenty of Reed Buntings & Yellowhammers but the Pine Bunting was playing hard to get.

Then someone got onto it briefly before it flew out of sight again and unfortunately i missed it on that occasion , after approx an hour and a half it was once again picked out on top of a bramble bush , i got onto it just as flew off , damn yes i saw it but no way could i tick it on those views !!!!!

Turnstone on the rocks.

Thankfully after another 30 mins it was picked out feeding on a grass bank and i got superb scope views  this time and was adding Pine Bunting to my Kent list  (1st record for Kent).

The Pine Bunting was on view for a good 20 to 30 seconds but unfortunately my phone was playing up so i couldn't get any digi scope photo's .

I did see a ♂ Pine Bunting at Dagenham Chase in 1992 which was alot easier to see and the above photo was taken by R.Chitenden , those were the days when only a handful of birders had cameras and readily sold prints.

If it sticks around i will go back and try and get a photo (hopefully on a warmer day to !!!)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Hen Harriers & Water Pipits....... At Stodmarsh

19th January 2017

Male Hen Harrier.

On Thursday 19th January i went to Stodmarsh  for the Harrier roost , there was a constant overhead movement of Fieldfares which were great to see & hear , there were plenty of ducks out on the main lake which only had a small amount of water that wasn't frozen .

Female Hen Harrier.

At about 3.45pm i saw a superb 'Ringtail' Hen Harrier which circled around before drifting off and out of sight, i eventually saw 2 male & 3 female Hen Harriers and at least 15 Marsh Harriers , i also saw a superb Barn Owl.

Male Hen Harrier.
A really great birding session with superb views of the Hen Harriers.

23rd January 2017

Cetti's Warbler.

I went to Stodmarsh again on Monday 23rd January to hopefully see the wintering Water Pipits that are often out by the Marsh hide , as i was walking through the wooded area from the car park i had stunning views of a Cetti's Warbler which was probably the closest i have ever been to one.

I also bumped into the Stodmarsh legend that is David Feast , i first met David when i was a schoolboy and he was always very helpful with bird advice and always happy to tell you what birds are around.

Male Marsh Harrier.

I then carried on my walk towards the Marsh hide and had great views of both male & female Marsh Harriers , i reached the muddy area before you get to the hide and saw 2 Water Pipits before they flew off towards the hide .

Water Pipit.

I bumped into the two Steve's in the hide and we had quite a discussion on the Pipits as there is some doubt on there identification , it's been suggested that they could be the Scandinavian race of Rock Pipit, however in my opinion i am sure they are Water Pipits , (i am by no means an expert and it is just my opinion) but having read up on them and studying the photographs i am quite happy or at the very least the birds i saw are Water Pipits.


I decided to head back towards the Alder wood and had great views of a Treecreeper by the bridge plus i also saw a female Great Spotted Woodpecker and i heard but didn't see a single Redpoll, there were plenty of Fieldfares beginning to roost in the tree tops and someone very kindly informed me the Little Owl was showing at Undertree farm.


Little Owl.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

White Winged Wonders ..... At Dungeness

Juvenile Iceland Gull.

On the 17th January i headed down to Dungeness in the hope of seeing the 2 juvenile Iceland Gulls that had been seen the previous day at 'The Patch' , i didn't get down there til mid morning and the Iceland Gulls had already been seen , i walked down to the 2nd hide which is quite close to 'The Patch' and there was only one other birder there who informed me he hasn't seen them yet !!!!!

Having a preen.

There were hundreds of gulls over the patch and i started looking through them , i instantly saw a cracking ♂ Eider in the middle of the Gull frenzy which was a new bird for my year list.

I then soon picked out 1 juvenile Iceland Gull which was on the water and flying towards the 'boil' every now & again , i tried to get the other birder onto it but he just could not pick it out , two other birders joined us and i managed to get one of them onto it .

Whilst watching this superb Iceland Gull i also noticed there were a few gulls beginning to roost on the beach and as luck would have it the 2nd juvenile Iceland Gull was with them , wow what  cracking birds to see and fortunately everyone saw this bird.

Iceland Gull.

There was a good selection of gulls on the beach with the Iceland Gull , mainly Herring & Black headed gulls but also a single Kittiwake and a couple of Common Gulls were also present.

Plenty of Guillemots & Razorbills were moving off shore plus Red Throated Diver & Common Scoter were also seen .

I then headed to the fishing boats and saw lots of gulls roosting on the beach and amongst them was a really smart Glaucous Gull.

Having a yawn.

Glaucous Gull.

Looking sleepy. 

Really pleased to see these white winged wonders amongst the regular gulls , i decided to head to the Rspb reserve to try and see the Long Eared Owls but they weren't showing today , however the Ring Necked Duck was still on Cooks pool.

Ring Necked Duck.

There was also several Tree Sparrows around the feeders at the Rspb reserve entrance.

Tree Sparrow.