Saturday, 27 June 2020

Long eared Owl .......At Oare Marshes

                                         20th June 2020 :  Oare Marshes

Long eared Owl.

After spending a very pleasant day in East Sussex watching Common Redstart, Tree Pipit, Siskin & Crossbill among many other birds , i received a txt message  from MW (many thanks) informing me of a Long eared Owl showing near the car park at Oare marshes.

I was soon heading there and joining the already assembled local birders , the LEO had dropped down into the reed bed and only the head was visible , i had seen it and was thinking that this is a typical view of a LEO .

As you can see by the assorted photos the Long eared Owl eventually showed fantastically well out in the open , mostly snoozing but keep it's eyes & ears on it's admiring audience.

This superb bird was a new addition to my Oare Marsh bird list.

Long eared Owl

Monday, 15 June 2020

Snow in June............

10th June 2020  : Walmer Kent.

Wood Mouse

I had enjoyed an afternoons birding at Stodmarsh , seeing plenty of Hobby , lots of Common Terns over the main lake & earlier in the Alder Wood a delightful Wood Mouse was very entertaining.

I made another quick stop on my way home and then news came through of a summer plumage Snow Bunting near the bandstand at Walmer nr Deal.

It was less than 30mins away , i had to go and try to see this superb plumage bird which you would only normally see in the high mountain ranges of the Cairngorms in this plumage.

We normally only get to see winter plumage birds in Kent , so of i set and i was soon enjoying some fantastic views of a  Snow Bunting.

Here are a small selection of photo's ;

Snow Bunting

I celebrated seeing this stunning bird with a bag of chips & a can of coke from the local chippy, great way to end the day !!!!

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

3 New Birds for Oare Marshes plus a Trip to Kings Wood

                                            16th  May 2020  :  Oare Marshes 

Little Egret from previous visit.

With certain restrictions eased on the Lockdown rules (i am as confused as everyone else is as exactly what you can or cannot do ???), we paid a visit to Oare Marshes at approx 11.45am and the aim was to digi scope & sound record Turtle Dove.

Whilst checking the telegraph posts on the West flood without success i noticed a Peregrine overhead whilst watching this another bird of prey come into view near the sun which made viewing abit tricky.

Low and behold when it came out of the sun i could clearly see a Black Kite , having seen 100's abroad and several in the UK i was delighted to add this superb bird to my Oare marsh patch list.

Whilst getting over the excitement of this sighting and phoning MW with the news a superb 'Ringtail' Hen Harrier flew over the flood & a Hobby flew through, in just over an hour we had seen 7 different species of birds of prey.

OF NOTE : A Black Kite was seen the next day (17th) over Oare and was a pale headed bird like the one we saw , also i believe their was one on the 12th on Sheppy presumably the same bird.

                                              16th & 20th May 2020  :  Kings Wood

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

A trip to Kings Wood produced superb views of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker , we enjoyed prolonged views of it drumming & frequently calling , and had to drag  ourselves away from this superb bird. 

Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

We heard and saw a Firecrest and heard a Tree Pipit flight call before seeing one briefly on the ground before it flew up onto a nearby bush before it disappeared out of sight.

20th May 2020  ;  Oare Marshes

Female Red Footed Falcon.

Whilst walking around Kings Wood news came out of a female Red Footed Falcon showing from the sea wall at Oare Marshes, so the decision was made to head there asap, we arrived in the car park and could see MW & others in the distance at Dans Dock , so as we made our way along the sea wall towards them we heard a fantastic Bittern 'Booming' , this was a new bird for my OMPL (2nd patch tick in a week) .

We continued to walk to join the others and was greeted with the news the RFF had disappeared, but the general feeling was it's still around , approx 15 to 20 mins later someone picked it up quite high and eventually really good views of this superb falcon were obtained.

It never come really close and eventually landed on a bonefire pile where it remained for quite sometime allowing many birders to connect with it.

The Red footed Falcon was my 3rd Oare marsh path tick of the week and remarkably it's only the 2nd record of this species for the reserve.

Female Red Footed Falcon.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Lockdown Garden Birding........

                                             March  23rd    to    April 16th 

Male Blackcap

Since the Government introduced a national Lockdown most birders have taken to their gardens to get their fix of birdwatching & nature watching.

I have also enjoyed some really good garden birdwatching , and added several new birds to my Garden bird List which now stands at 58 species.

Blue Tit.

I have an array of feeders up in my 'feeder tree' plus a squirrel feeder in my 'Squirrel tree' you can see a theme here no doubt ...

I also have a tree i have called 'Chiffy Tree' as you know doubt can guess , i have seen Chiffchaff in this tree.


I get lot's of  Goldfinch visiting the garden , up to 35+ in the winter with lesser numbers through the Spring & summer , Chaffinch is now up to 3 regular birds (2♂ 1♀) and i was very pleased to add Greenfinch (1♂1♀) to my garden bird list during this Lockdown period.

Greenfinch & Goldfinch.

Really pleased to see at least 4 House Sparrows nest building and Starling, Robin,Blue Tit , Great Tit & Blackbird all doing the same in nearby gardens.

House Sparrow nest Building.

I get lot's of fly over birds which i include on my garden list and that's where the most variety comes from, before lockdown i had seen Golden Plover, Curlew & Marsh Harrier .

Marsh Harrier.

Since Lockdown birds of prey have been quite plentiful , Sparrowhawk on a daily basis and on one occasion 5 birds in the air together,  2 Peregrines & 1 Kestrel plus several Common Buzzard have all been seen.

Little Egret & Grey Heron have been seen plus 2 Cormorant's have been seen on 2 occasions , i finally connected with Mediterranean Gull with 2 birds flying over the garden , i had previously only heard them.

I have been enjoying seeing other local birders in Whitstable posting their garden sightings on twitter (surprised how many of us there

My last new garden lifer was 2 Ravens heading inland , and my latest addition to my Lockdown Garden List is : Swallow which brings my Garden Lockdown List up to : 35

Coal Tit.

Well that concludes this blog post as we all start a second period of Lockdown , i will post another updated blog post of the next 3 weeks at the end of this next period.

Stay safe everyone, thanks for reading.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Black Bellied Dipper........Plus Local Birding

                                       March 14th : High Wycombe

Black Bellied Dipper.

On Saturday the 14th March i travelled to High Wycombe to look for the Black Bellied Dipper which had been seen near a waterfall along the river.

However on arrival i was informed is was showing on & off near Bassetsbury Manor , so with that news we headed off to that site, on arrival there was no more then 10 other birders and sure enough the Black Bellied Dipper was performing very well .

White eye lids.

It's been a few years since i have seen a native Dipper so seeing this Scandinavian race was a real bonus.

Black bellied Dipper with a Buddha !!!!

The BBD would often go missing for awhile but with patience it always came back to this area (while we were there anyway) , and by staying still it often came very close.

Black Bellied Dipper.

March 14th : Restharrow Scrape Sandwich


Before heading off to High Wycombe we spent an hour at Restharrow Scrape at Sandwich Bay and saw a superb Raven fly quite low over the scrape, this was a new bird for my SBBO bird list.

March 21st : Bossenden Wood 

♀ Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

A trip to Bossenden Wood on Saturday the 21st March was a very good choice, our target bird was Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and after approx an hour searching we located a female LSW which eventually flew closer and gave us some very good views before flying off further into the wood.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

We decided to check the area it flew to and was delighted to hear it calling before seeing both male & female LSW together, really pleased to see these as it's not a species i see every year.

We also had some really good views of a Treecreeper.


March 23rd  :  Oare Marshes

♀ & ♂ Garganey

I spent a couple of hours at Oare Marshes on Monday afternoon the 23rd March and had great views of the pair of Garganey  on the East flood from the hide.

A walk to Dan's Dock produced distant and brief views of the Cattle Egret plus several Med Gulls were seen and heard.


As this Pandemic is reaching all corners of the World and our Governments request we all stay indoors for at least the next 3 weeks, i would like to take this opportunity to wish all followers and visitors of my blog a safe journey through these very troubled times.

Best Wishes

Robs Birding. 

Monday, 9 March 2020

White Winged Wonders ......At Dungeness NNR

                                             29th  February :  Dungeness  NNR

Iceland Gull

Winter at Dungeness is probably the best time of year  to connect with White winged Gulls in Kent and this winter proved to be spot on.

After storms Ciara & Dennis Dungeness NNR was the place to be if you wanted to see Gulls in there 1000's !!!!

With lots of bivalve molluscs washed up because of the storms the Gulls were having a large feeding frenzy .

As the title of this post said, white winged wonders were evident in the form of several Med Gulls and a superb Juv Iceland Gull, which was incredibly hard to track down (well for us anyway) , it took 2 visits to finally connect with this superb bird.

Battling the waves

Iceland Gull.

We spent quite sometime searching for this bird over the 2 visits but eventually we caught up with it as it fed along the shore line by the fishing boats.

7th  March  : Dungeness NNR

Glaucous Gull

A week after seeing the Iceland Gull we were back down to Dungeness this time in the hope of seeing the Juv Glaucous Gull.

We bumped into JB & DB & NB who were already watching the Glaucous Gull which was roosting on the shingle bank.

Eventually the Glaucous Gull was disturbed by a family making their way along the beach , however  we were treated to some close flight views of the Glaucous Gull before it headed towards the lifeboat station.

Flight views.

We managed to re-locate the Glaucous Gull near the Lifeboat station where it spent most of the time on the sea with the occasional fly around.

Glaucous Gull