Monday, 15 May 2017

No Woodchat...But Plenty of Hobby at Dungeness

Iceland Gull on the Beach.

On Saturday morning the 13th May i decided to try and see the Woodchat Shrike which was seen the previous evening at Dungeness near South View , to be honest i wasn't to optimistic it would still be there and my lack of confidence proved correct unfortunately.

Still i always enjoy a visit to Dungeness as there is normally always something to see , after spending a short time dipping the Shrike (i did see 2 Wheatears there) so not a complete waste of time , i headed to the patch and had some decent views of the lingering Iceland Gull which was roosting on the beach and every now and again flying over 'The Boil'.

From here i had a look around the Long Pits and added Cuckoo to my year list plus i heard & saw Common Whitethroat , Blackcap , Lesser Whitethroat , Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff.

Summer Plumage Grey Plover.

I called into the Rspb reserve and once again saw the Iceland Gull which had followed me there from the  patch !!!

Plus i also saw a stunning summer plumage Grey Plover which had a Dunlin for company , otherwise it was fairly quite from the hides , on my way out of the reserve by Cooks pool i noticed a low flying Hobby so i decided to try and get a photo of this cracking Falcon.


There were at least 6 Hobby hunting over the pool and i really enjoyed watching these stunning birds , i also added at least 7 Common Swifts to my year list.

Common Swift.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Day Trip to Minsmere..... Plus Quick visit to Oare

2nd May 2017  Minsmere Rspb Reserve

Male Mandarin.

I had a really great days birding at Minsmere Rspb reserve yesterday with Richard , arriving on site at approx 7am , we walked around to the Island Mere hide in the hope of seeing or at least hearing the Savi's Warbler , straight away a Bittern starting 'Booming' near the hide but remained unseen , then i heard the distant 'Reeling' of the Savi's Warbler , fantastic sounds of two iconic birds Bittern & Savi's .

The Savi's Warbler was constantly 'Reeling' and i eventually managed to see it on top of a bush to the right of  'L' sign post about 200m south of the hide , i got everybody onto it and you could see it quite well although to distant for a photo , it stayed on view for about 10 mins before dropping down into the bush again.

Other birds seen & heard from here were Cetti's , Sedge, Common Whitethroat & Reed Warblers plus i heard a Nightingale on the way around to the hides overlooking the scrape.

Mandarin & a female Mallard.

We were informed by one of the reserves volunteers of a male Mandarin which has paired up with a female Mallard , be interesting to see what the offspring look

On the walk towards the sluice and just before the South hide a Water Vole scurried across the path in front of us .

There were 2 Wheatears near the sluice , the male bird showing very well.

Male  Wheatear.

We checked out the bushes towards  Sizwell and there were plenty of Common Whitethroats and a pair of Stonechats , the scrape also held plenty of waders including 1 summer plumage Bar Tailed Godwit.

Bar Tailed Godwit.

Other waders seen were Grey Plover, Ringed Plover , Dunlin, Redshank and a summer plumage Knot.

Walking back past the main scrape we saw 50+ Kittiwakes , Common & Sandwich Terns and i also added 2 Little Terns to my year list.


30th April 2017  Oare Marshes


On Sunday morning i paid a very quick visit to Oare Marshes after hearing news of a Spoonbill being present on the East flood , i quickly pulled up into the pull-in and straight away saw the Spoonbill asleep in the middle of the flood , eventually it had a fly around and landed closer and started feeding.

Here are a few photo's i took.

Imm. Spoonbill.

Whilst watching the Spoonbill a small flock of waders flew into the scrape and were indeed 28 Knot including 6 birds in summer plumage.

28 Knot.

Coming into land.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Red Footed Falcon at Grove Ferry

Red-Footed Falcon .

I called into Grove Ferry this afternoon and after checking 'The Ramp' i walked back past the paddocks along the river and back towards the Feast hide , i didn't really see much other than lot's of Sand Martins with a couple of Swallows , there were plenty of warblers of various species in fine song .

I decided to spend sometime inside Feast hide to try and practice some flight shots of Sand Martins flying low over the pool but their speed and my slowness resulted in failure on my part , i did enjoy watching them and a Green Sandpiper flew in adding a bit of variety , i then noticed all the Sand Martin's disappear  , then i saw a Hobby and then a second bird which i also thought was another Hobby , i fired off several shots with my camera before really looking at them (bad habit) .

Female Red-Footed Falcon.

I then looked at the first bird and although no real plumage detail could be made out i could clearly see it was a Hobby , however the 2nd bird was different in profile and made me wonder ?? , i looked at my camera to see if it captured any plumage detail and it looked like their was orange on the head which would make this 2nd bird a female Red-Footed Falcon.

Red-Footed Falcon.

I wanted to be 100% sure on id before i put the news out and as soon as i uploaded the pics on my computer i could clearly see a female Red-Footed Falcon looking back at me , hopefully it will stick around for a few days so others can enjoy seeing it to.

Here are a few photo's of the not to be forgotten Hobby. 


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Cattle Egret at Stodmarsh

Cattle Egret opposite Stodmarsh Court Farm.

Yesterday the 19th April i called over to Stodmarsh to try and see the Cattle Egret that has been seen near to Stodmarsh Court Farm , my initial search failed with no sign of it , i decided to have a walk around the reserve and i bumped into another birder (many thanks) who gave me the heads up on the right place to look for the Cattle Egret.

So i headed back to the area and sure enough there it was standing in the field with cattle , the Cattle Egret flew around the field on occasion and flew back to feed among the Cattle , it then flew up into a nearby tree for awhile.

Cattle Egret.

Whilst looking at the Cattle Egret a male Marsh Harrier flew overhead .

Marsh Harrier.

I then went back to the Reed bed hide on the reserve and had very close views of 2 Common Snipe and out on the rafts were 3 Common Terns which were new birds for my year list.

Common Snipe.

Common Tern (Photo taken in 2016).

I decided to head to Grove Ferry and did my usual circuit of checking 'The Ramp' (where it was pretty quite), then popping into the Feast hide which also was quite other than a couple of Bearded Tits and a very vocal Cetti's Warbler.

From here i walked around to Harrison's hide , hearing & seeing plenty of Sedge Warblers .

Sedge Warbler.

From the hide i saw a Little Egret & a Green Sandpiper was busy feeding along the muddy fringes plus 2 Lapwings were in the distance , lots of Sand Martins with smaller numbers of Swallows were hawking over the back of the pool.

Sand Martin.

I walked back along the river and another quick look from 'The Ramp' produced very little but it was great to hear the many Sedge Warblers & Chiffchaff setting up territory's. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Grove Ferry

Sand Martin.

Yesterday the 10th April i called into Grove Ferry via Collards Lake (i didn't see the Cattle Egret) , however i had a few decent bird walking around Grove , i added 6 Sand Martins to my year list from Harrisons hide plus a distant Little Ringed Plover was great to see.

Little Ringed Plover.

There was several vocal Marsh frogs in front of the hide and i could also hear a distant Sedge Warbler.

Marsh Frog.

I then headed back to the Feast hide and very briefly saw the Kingfisher frustratingly land on it's favoured perch for a few seconds before flying off again (i will get a photo one day...).

There were a half dozen Gadwall and an equal amount of Teal present plus a single Cormorant.


I heard both Cetti's & Sedge Warblers but both remained unseen plus a few Bearded Tits were 'pinging away' also unseen, a Water Rail briefly flew across from one set of reeds to another and was screeching quite loudly.

I walked back to the ramp where i was pleasantly surprised when 3 Little Ringed Plovers dropped in before being hassled by the local Lapwings who sent them packing towards the Water meadows area.

2 of the 3 Little Ringed Plovers.

Flying off.

Whilst i was watching these a Grey Heron flew over and a Yellow Wagtail dropped in near the back of the pool.

Grey Heron.

Digi scoped Yellow Wagtail.

There were at least 50+ Sand Martins over the pool with at least 2 Swallows with them , i also saw 2 Marsh Harriers , another good birding session.

Swallow photo taken in 2016.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Iberian Chiffchaff at Seaton

Iberian Chiffchaff at Seaton.

On the 3rd April i called into Seaton gravel pits to try and see the recently reported Iberian Chiffchaff , i haven't been to this area for a good couple of years and normally when i do visit it's in the winter months as it has held many wintering ducks over the years.

Loyal to one area.

I parked up and walked across the field hearing and seeing a Blackcap near the style.

Male Blackcap.

I eventually reached the area where the Iberian Chiffchaff had been seen and instantly heard it and then i saw it quite high up in it's favoured tree , plumage wise there are only very subtle differences between  Iberian and Common Chiffchaff , slightly pointer thinner bill & longer primary projection plus the face has a more primrose wash to the supercilium, however the main identification feature is the call which is quite different to Common Chiffchaff.

Iberian Chiffchaff.

I have heard & seen two Iberian Chiffchaffs before (Walderslade 2010 & Margate 2016) and this bird although very similar in appearance the call it made was not the full call like those ones , it seemed to have more Common Chiffchaff call in the mix , which i believe is in the correct range for Iberian Chiffchaff so all is good with this bird !!!


I decided to have a walk along the river and was pleased to see a Kingfisher plus a female Bullfinch flew across the path , both were new birds for my year list.

Collard's  & Grove Ferry

I received news that there was some Little Gulls over Collard's lake so i headed there and although very distant i managed to see at least 3 Little Gulls which were also new for my Stour valley list.

On my way home i called into Grove Ferry and saw an Oystercatcher from the viewing ramp.