Saturday, 7 January 2017

Good Start to the New Year

                                                              2nd January 2017  

Bewick's Swan at Horse Bones farm.

I started of 2017 in the Dungeness area , my first port of call was Horse bones farm and i saw 27 adult Bewick's Swans plus 3 juvs , also present was a Common Buzzard sat in the field behind them , plenty of  Fieldfares were in the hedge rows which are always great to see.

From here i had a look at the 1st winter Caspian Gull near the fishing hut which showed well , also adding plenty of the regular gulls to my year list .

I decided to call into the reserve and saw the roosting Long Eared Owl which was partially obscured but great to see all the same.

Long Eared Owl.

I called into the Dennis Hide and saw Shoveler,  Gadwall, Pintail, Teal, Wigoen , Goldeneye and a 'Redhead' Smew.

Ring Necked Duck.

On the way out of the reserve i had decent views of the male Ring Necked Duck which seems really settled on Cooks pool , plenty of Lapwings & Golden Plovers were in the adjacent fields , a really enjoyable days birding with most target birds seen .

5th January 2017

Red Necked Grebe.

I started off at Pett Level in East Sussex today hoping to see some wild geese that are in the area , luckily i was able to find them more or less straight away , in total i saw 5 Taiga Beaan Geese , 4 Pink Footed Geese , 10 White Fronted Geese , 5+ Barnacle Geese plus good numbers of both Canada & Greylag Geese.

I then headed to Camber to see the Red Necked Grebe and what a cracking bird it is to , i haven't seen one for a good couple of years so was very pleased to see this one.

Great White Egret.

I decided to head along Denge marsh road and i was pleased i did as i saw a superb Great White Egret standing near a herd of Mute Swans , there was also 4 Egyptain Geese nearby.

1 of 4 Egyptain Geese.

I also added a Slavonian Grebe looking across towards Denge marsh hide from Springfield bridge which was probably out of sight from the hide as it was tucked in close to the reeds , i also added a Little Grebe here to , lot's of Linnets & Chaffinches were added to my year list from here .

6th January 2017

Great Northern Diver.

I called into Tankerton slopes in the morning for an hour or so to look for the Divers that had been seen that morning , i saw the Great Northern Diver which was a fair way out hence the digi scope photo above.

There were several Dark bellied Brent Geese on the foreshore plus a few Curlew made it onto my year list , a distant male Goosander flying west was an added bonus plus 2 Red Throated Divers were also seen.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Final Totals for 2016

My final bird list totals for 2016 are ;




I went on some amazing birding trips in 2016 and saw a total of  9 new species and a further 3 pending new species , here are photos of all new birds seen in 2016 plus the 3 pending acceptance or rejection species.

1. First new bird in 2016 was a Mourning Dove seen on Shetland in January.

Mourning Dove.

2. My 2nd new bird of the year didn't come until April and that was seen on North Uist and is up there as one of the best birds i have ever seen

Gyr Falcon.

3.  My 3rd new species was one bird i never thought i would see as they don't normally survive long once they reach our shores and it was another trip to North Uist in May to see this remarkable bird Black Billed Cuckoo.

Black Billed Cuckoo.

4. My 4th new species of the year was an American White Winged Scoter which i saw in June of the coast of Murcar GC near Aberdeen , sadly i didn't manage any photo's of this bird.

5. My 5th new species of 2016 was a very mixed affair , i once again traveled up to Shetland in October and dipped the Siberian Accentor which was a major disappointment , however i did have some compensation in seeing a Black Faced Bunting , once again sadly i didn't manage any photos.

6. To my absolute delight and surprise my 6th new species in 2016 was the UK's 2nd ever Siberian Accentor at Easington in Yorkshire , after dipping the one on Shetland i couldn't believe my luck.

Siberian Accentor.

7.   My 7th new species was in November at Minsmere Rspb reserve in Suffolk and it was a fantastic Cliff Swallow , having had very poor views of one on Scilly earlier in the year (not satisfactory for a lifer) i was very pleased to see this one, sadly i didn't get a photo.

8.   December produced 2 new species for me the first one and my 8th new bird of 2016 was a quite brilliant Dusky Thrush , having missed the Margate bird i was so very pleased to see this one.

Dusky Thrush.

9.   My 9th and final new bird of 2016 was another long trip up to Shetland to see the Killdeer which had been tempting me since it first appeared .


My 3 pending acceptance or rejection from the Bourc are :

1.   A trip to Cornwall for the 1st of these 3 birds was  in May to see the Dalmatian Pelican, i am not sure if the Bourc will accept this a wild bird or not however it was a magnificent bird to see all the same.

Dalmatian Pelican.

2.   The 2nd of the pending birds was a superb Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere Rspb reserve in August , i think this has a great chance of acceptance onto the British list.

Western Purple Swamphen.

3.   My final bird pending acceptance was seen in December and is a male Blue Rock Thrush seen in Gloucestershire at Stow-on-the-Wold , yet again this is one i can see being rejected but you never know (i thought the same about the Chinese Pond Heron) .

Blue Rock Thrush.

Well that concludes my look back at 2016 , so many highlights and an awful lot of miles covered , my outlook for 2017 is to stay mainly local and only twitch new species , hope everyone has a bird filled 2017.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Blue Rock Thrush .....At Stow-on-the-Wold

Blue Rock Thrush.

Having never seen Blue Rock Thrush in the UK before i gave into temptation and traveled to Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire this morning arriving at 8am, after parking in the car park i made my way around to Fisher close and had a wander around to look for the Thrush as it had not been seen yet.

I checked out the field behind the houses as there were lot's of Redwing & Fieldfares plus Blackbird ,Song & Mistle Thrush put in an appearance but no sign of the Blue Rock Thrush , however the shout went up that it had been seen in a small tree by the house's and by the time i got there it had flown down into the garden !!!!

Perched on a satellite dish.

I didn't have long to wait as it soon flew onto the tv aerial then over our heads and out of sight again before it flew up again and had a long preen on top of a satellite dish in the sunshine.

Lovely colour.

There's lot's of debate online on the origins of this bird (something i never get involved in to be honest) , is it a genuine vagrant ? or has it escaped from someones collection ? are the main topics of debate .

 I personally never add anything on my bird list until it's been approved and accepted by the BOURC and this bird goes straight onto my Pending acceptance or rejection list.

At the end of the day whether it's accepted as a true wild bird or not it's still a cracking bird to see and the Stow-on-the-Wold residents were very pleasant and many thanks to them for allowing us birders access to see this bird . 

Blue Rock Thrush.

Monday, 19 December 2016


Just like to wish everyone who has visited my blog this Year a Merry Christmas and great birding for 2017.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Waxwings........ at Strood


On Sunday morning  the 11th December i headed to Strood in the hope of seeing the 3 Waxwings that had taken up residence opposite The Bounty Pub.

Having already dipped on the Stonelees Waxwings on two separate occasions i was quite keen to see these cracking looking birds.

Lovely bright red undertail coverts .

When i first arrived the Waxwings were keeping high up in a tree having just fed on berries before i got there, however after a few minutes they flew down and had another feed on the scrumptious looking berries !!!!!

Getting ready to fly down for a feed.

They didn't stay down feeding for long before they flew back up high in the tree again , they are such cracking looking birds and always prove popular with birders.


Monday, 12 December 2016

Killdeer in Shetland

1st winter Killdeer.

A 1st winter Killdeer turned up on Shetland in early November and had been tempting me ever since , daily reports and some stunning photo's & video footage by Shetland Wildlife certainly fuelled the desire to go and see it.

Long tailed with buff tip.

So last week i travelled up to Aberdeen with a birding friend of mine on the 7th December and took the over night ferry to Shetland , we picked up the hire car and headed to Sandwick , thankfully we soon found the wart junction and thanks to Hugh Harrop's map we searched the fields to where the Killdeer had been favouring , we had no luck in the first field so i left my mate scanning that field whilst i walked further down the road to the next favoured field and to my absolute delight the 1st winter Killdeer was there !!!!!

Cracking looking bird.

I quickly went back to my mate and told him then we both went back and enjoyed some cracking views of this most wanted lifer.

Feeding on worms.

Lovely buff upper tail coverts.

The above photo shows some of the lovely buff/orange upper tail coverts , when it was having abit of a wing stretch the buff colour on this bird was awesome.

1st winter Killdeer.

We also had some cracking views of Purple Sandpiper near the cafe behind Tesco's at Lerwick.

Purple Sandpiper.

A really successful trip , we took the over night ferry back to Aberdeen  and the next morning the 9th December we headed from the quay to the Loch of Skene .

1000's of Pink Footed Geese.

We arrived at Loch of Skene and the sound of 1000's of Pink Footed Geese greeted us as we got out of the car , one of the best birding experiences i have had , an absolute wonderful sound & sight,  worth the trip up north on it's own.

However the main reason we were here was to try and see the 3 Snow Geese (blue morphs) , the light wasn't great as it was still quite early , however we started the search and it took quite sometime before i picked the 3 Snow Geese out right at the back of the flock, a very welcome year tick for me and a lifer for my mate.