Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Dusky Thrush in Derbyshire

Dusky Thrush at Beeley in Derbyshire.

News broke on twitter on Sunday 4th December of a Dusky Thrush photographed at a private site in Derbyshire by Rachel Jones who was trying to make arrangements with the landowner to get permission to allow access for viewing and details would be confirmed the following morning on the 5th December.

Dusky Thrush in the orchard.


News of the Dusky Thrush both being present & viewing access arranged on the 5th  got my wheels in motion and i was out the door at around 9.30am , i missed the rush hour traffic but encounted the aftermath with traffic hold ups on the M25 and an accident on the M11 making my journey quite horrible and longer than expected , however i arrived at Beeley at 2.15pm and made my way around to the orchard and within minutes i saw the Dusky Thrush in one of the trees.

Cracking bird.

Eventually the Dusky Thrush landed in the grass and was feeding happily but was often spooked by a Blackbird, i also saw it in a tree near the playing fields which showed very well through the scope but the light was awful for photos (that's my excuse anyway) .

Dusky Thrush.

I was so pleased to finally see a Dusky Thrush for the first time , especially after missing the Margate bird in 2014 when i was in Iona looking at Corncrakes.

Many thanks to Rachel Jones for putting the news out and arranging viewing access at the lovely village of Beeley in Derbyshire.









Thursday, 1 December 2016

Brett Pit & Dungeness Rspb


Black Throated Diver.

I spent a very pleasant few hours in the Dungeness area last Monday the 28th November and my first port of call was Brett Pit near Scotney in the hope of seeing the Black Throated Diver which was seen over the previous weekend .

I parked near the entrance and scanned over Brett pit and saw the Black Throated Diver in the distance , i decided to walk along the footpath for a closer look noticing plenty of Eurasian Wigeon , Pochard & Tufted Ducks as i went , the Black Throated Diver never really came close and was busy diving alot of the time .

Note the white thigh patches.

After having decent views of the diver i called into Dungeness Rspb reserve and had some great views of the drake Ring Necked Duck which was showing much closer to the track then my last visit here.

Ring Necked Duck.

Really smart bill pattern.

There were plenty of Lapwings & Golden Plover in the adjacent fields however i didn't see the Cattle Egret this time although it was seen later in the day. I carried on along the track to the visitor center and had superb views of a Kestrel hovering .

Kestrel near the visitor center.

I checked out the trees behind the dipping pond but the Long Eared Owl was not on show , probably keeping out of the cold wind .

From the Firth hide i saw a distant adult Yellow Legged Gull roosting on one of the islands and a 1st winter Caspian Gull which i tried to relocate from the Makepeice hide without success , there were good numbers of ducks including two female Goosanders and several Goldeneye including one really smart male bird , sadly all were to distant for a photo.

I then called into the Dennis hide and saw a smart Great White Egret plus several Grey Herons dotted around Burrows pit.

Great White Egret.








Saturday, 26 November 2016

Two Good Terns....... Deserve a Blog Post

Forster's Tern on the Beach.

I was deciding where to go today when news broke from Folkestone of a 1st winter Forster's Tern showing well along the parade , so without any hesitation i grabbed my birding gear and headed straight there.


When i arrived i joined the already assembled birders and saw the Forster's Tern straight away roosting on the pebble beach amongst the  Black Headed Gulls.

Roosting on the beach.

I really enjoyed watching this cracking looking tern , i have seen one before many years ago in North Wales  on Anglesey however this is the first one i have seen in Kent and i believe it's only the 2nd ever one recorded in Kent.

Forster's Tern in flight.

The Forster's Tern soon had a fly around going far west and then returning east along the parade constantly diving for food .

Cracking looking bird.

I watched the Forster's Tern for a good hour before heading of home , the Tern was roosting on the beach when i left , hopefully it will stick around for a few days so everyone can enjoy this bird.

It's been travelling around the east coast over the last week or so first being seen in Essex and then moving north to Suffolk but had gone missing for a few days and luckily headed to Kent.


24th November 2016

Common Tern.

There has been a Common Tern hanging around Ramsgate Harbour for awhile now so i decided to have a look as i had not seen one this late in the year before. 

Quite long legged.

There has been some discussion on the identification of this bird but i am quite happy it's a Common Tern .


Common Tern.

There is a good chance it will over winter at the harbour so my latest record could still be beaten yet !!!!











Sunday, 13 November 2016

Brief Visit to Oare Marshes ...Plus New Lens workout at Dungeness

                                                         Brief visit to Oare Marshes

7 Velvet Scoters.

After hearing news of 7 Velvet Scoters showing well near the sea watch hide at Oare Marshes yesterday the 12th November i decided to have a look myself as i had never seen Velvet Scoter there before , as pulled into the car park near the slip way the heavens opened and it was also quite windy walking along the sea wall.

Velvet Scoters.

I eventually reached the hide and joined fellows birders sheltering from the elements and was soon looking at the 7 Velvet Scoters , which were just bobbing about on the Swale and after awhile they flew off down the Swale towards Uplees , then i was put onto a Black Necked Grebe which was a bit further out.

Digi scoped Black necked Grebe.

I also saw 3 Common Scoters which was an unexpected bonus and having checked my records all 3 species are new additions to my Oare marsh bird list.


Digi scoped Common Scoter.

Other birds of note were good numbers of Avocet , Black Tailed Godwit , Curlew & Dunlin with smaller numbers of Redshank , Grey Plover & Lapwing.

A Peregrine flew along Faversham creek spooking everything plus a distant Marsh Harrier was seen over Nagden marshes , a close fly by Sparrowhawk and a single Kestrel over the East flood completed the birds of prey seen.


11th November New Lens workout at Dungeness.

Great White Egret.

I have been thinking about upgrading my camera lens for a few months and decided to get the Canon EF  100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM and i took it out for a field test at Dungeneess on Friday , i wanted a lens with image stabilization and also one that would allow close focusing ,  and so far so good with this lens , i did read alot of reviews and spoke to a few birders who have this lens and all gave positive feed back (only one person i spoke to thinks this lens is no good) .

Pied Wagtail.

Marsh Harrier.

I guess only time will tell if i made the right decision with this lens but so far i am very pleased with it .

Female Goosander.

Digi scoped Cattle Egret.












Monday, 7 November 2016

Cliff Swallow ......... At Minsmere

Sand Martin photo taken in August 2016.



I traveled up to Minsmere Rspb reserve on Saturday afternoon the 5th November and had fantastic views of the Cliff Swallow which was flying around the Stone Curlew field behind the Sand martin sand pits.

Having had very poor views of the Cliff Swallow on St.Mary's earlier this autumn (really unsatisfactory for a life tick) i was very relieved to see this stunning bird at Minsmere.

The Cliff Swallow flew right in front of it's admiring crowd several times and all features were superbly seen at close quarters.

It also perched on a small bush at one point and i had good views through the scope but unfortunately it took to the wing again before i could get a digi scope photo of it.

Unfortunately i couldn't take any photo's as i am waiting for my new lens to be  delivered next week however there are some fantastic photos online of this cracking bird.

I also saw a very late Sand Martin which beat my previous late record of this species , also there were several Swallows plus a ringtail Hen Harrier was being mobbed by a Marsh Harrier , a Peregrine was also seen whislt watching the Cliff Swallow .

Many thanks to the staff at Minsmere for a very well organised birding session,  a really top quality birding session and meeting many old & new friends was a real bonus , i went home very , very happy with Cliff Swallow flying onto my life list. 


Friday, 28 October 2016

Local Birding ........ Swale NNR & Oare

Common Crane at Swale NNR.

On the 25th October i headed to the Swale nnr on the Isle of Sheppy in the hope of seeing the Common Crane which has been around for the last  few days , i braved the rough track down towards the cottages and parked up , there were quite a few Linnets & Reed Buntings in the bushes , these bushes used to hold good numbers of Twite in winters gone by , not sure if thats the case anymore though?

I had a pleasant walk along the sea wall scanning the adjacent fields as i went , no sign of the aforementioned Crane , i decided i would go as far as the hide in my search , so i continued my walk then stopped again to search using my scope and sure enough i located the Common Crane which was quite distant but good to see all the same , i thought i would try and digi scope it so set up my phone and when i checked that i had lined it up i was shocked to see another birder / photographer walking up to the crane and flushing it !!!

Common Crane.


 The Common Crane had a fly around always distant from me , he spooked a load of Dark Bellied Brent Geese in the process , it looked like it was going to settle then a Marsh Harrier came through which in turn unsettled the Crane, eventually it landed again but even more distant and out of sight behind a large mound .

Whilst all this was going on i did see the Great White Egret also in flight on a couple of occasions but yet again that landed out of sight in a a dyke , this was a new species for my Sheppy list .

Great White Egret photo taken at Dungeness.

Sadly i never managed a photo of the Great White Egret however the above photo that i took at Dungeness earlier this year is more or less the same view i got of it on Sheppy.

There were several Grey Herons & Little Egrets on the reserve which was good to see plus good numbers of Marsh Harriers and a couple of Common Buzzards.

Little Egret.

A really enjoyable morning spent here .


27th October

Immature Spoonbill on East Flood.

On the 27th October i called into Oare marshes to see what was around , the imm Spoonbill which has been around for a few days was still present and busy feeding at the back of the East flood , i instantly noticed 2 Little Stints near the pull in and i saw approx 5 birds during my time here.

2 Little Stints.

The Water Rail was still feeding by the bridge and was joined by a 2nd bird which gave very good views.

Water Rail.

Lovely markings on this bird.

Water Rail 

Lots of waders present on the East flood including 500+ Dunlin, 300+ Ringed Plover, 200+ Golden Plover, 300+ Black Tailed Godwits plus singles of  Grey Plover , Turnstone & Avocet.

There was also good numbers of Lapwing & Redshank and at least 10 Ruff , a single Dark Bellied Brent Goose on the flood was a bit of a surprise , at least 10 Pintail and the same amount of Wigeon was good to see.

Bearded Tits & Cetti's Warblers were very vocal on my walk around the East flood with the former showing every so often, i had another look at the Spoonbill which was busy feeding on Marsh Frogs .

Spoonbill eating a Marsh Frog.