Sunday, 28 March 2010

A Great day in Dorset !!!!

I don't often venture out of Kent birding these days my last twitch being the Brown Shrike ( see earlier post for details of this trip ) last year , but the Bufflehead is a bird i have never seen and also Portland is as good as anywhere to see migrants , so of i set in the hope of adding this superb duck onto my life list !
I had reached Weymouth when my pager alerted me to the news of a Alpine Swift flying around Radipole at 10.21 am . i was stuck in traffic less than 5 minutes away , shall i just dump my car a run there ( those who know me would laugh as running is not an option ) , finally the traffic started to move and in less than 5 mins i had parked the car and started to scan the sky over the reserve , i got on to a Common Buzzard being mobbed by two Herring Gulls , and as luck would  have it the Alpine Swift flew underneath the Buzzard and preformed for a couple of minutes than flew off in a northerly direction , wow what a start to the day more or less the first bird of the day ! Here is a picture of an Alpine Swift that i saw in Kent a few years ago .


Alpine Swift.

Really chuffed with seeing this i than headed to Abbortsbury swannery where the Bufflehead had been seen of late , on arrival i met a  couple of birders who had just seen the Bufflehead and they said it was hanging around with some Scaup which would be an added year tick for me , so of i went paid my entrance fee and headed to what should be an easy tick , or so i thought , on arrival i joined the other gathered birders only to be told it had just flown of down the Fleet out of sight , oh no i cant believe i have come this far for a more or less nailed on lifer to be told it has JUST FLOWN OFF ! the chap said dont worry it done this earlier but returned within half an hour  , well that did not fill me with confidence , i remember a story about a birder who went to see along staying Stellers Eider in Scotland when he got there it had just flown around the headland out of sight , he was told the same thing that it does that and will return in ten or so minutes only it was never seen again !! 

Anyhow i scanned the remaining ducks and was soon adding 3 male and 2 female Scaup to my year list , than two small ducks caught my eye flying in and i was straight on to the BUFFLEHEAD it landed a fair way out but there was no mistaking it , what a really smart looking duck , it was keeping company with a female Goldeneye , sadly i don't have a photo of it as it was to far out , but i recommend you check out Devil Birders blog who has some good photos of it , well i was on a roll two great year ticks and a lifer , what a day but it had not finished yet , the pager alerted me of a Hoopoe on Portland so after some lunch of i set and when i got there i met a birder who said it is mobile and hard to pin down , i got a little bit of info of where it had last been seen then headed of to try and find it , i drove down several roads until i found the site , and there were four other birders already onto it , and there it was a really stunning Hoopoe , i have seen several Hoopoes over the years but there is nothing quite like it when you see one , they are so colourful and this bird was constantly feeding but it was yet again a fair distance away and although i got great views through my scope i was unable to get a photo , i am still struggling to combine photography and birding still i will get there in the end , finally i called into the New Forest on the way home to look for the Great Grey Shrike but i failed on that one although i did add Treecreeper to my year list and i saw some nice looking ponies lol .
Here are some photos that i did take today at Abbortsbury :

Mute Swan on a nest.

Mallards.

Pheasant.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Park Wood & Seaton

                                                           
Great Tit.

Woodland watching has to be said is not my favourite aspect of birding , mainly down to dog walkers and dogs bounding up to you with big teeth growling at you , this has happened a few times over the years , plus the woodland i used to bird was over run by gypsies and all the problems that brought put me off a little bit , anyhow i was tipped of about Park Wood near Challock and thought i would check it out, its only a small woodland and within minutes of entering i could hear a distant marsh tit calling and then was greeted with a fly over Green Woodpecker , ten minutes in and i had really good views of 2 Coal Tits  which was my first year tick of the day , i soon added Great s Woodpecker and several Chaffinch onto my days total , then i connected with one of my main target birds , i noticed this smallish bird fly into the top of a tree then it turned around flashing its strippy back ! yes , Lesser Spotted Woodpecker sadly i tried to get closer but it didnt hang around for very long , never mind i did get good views , i moved on and heard a distant Tawny Owl calling , abit further around and i encountered a roving tit flock that held several Long t Tits , Great and Blue Tits plus 2 Marsh Tits and 1 Goldcrest which were both year ticks bringing my total to 4 year ticks on this site , its a wonderful woodland and it took me approx 1 hour 45 mins to do the full walk around , no dogs or walkers too !!! Oh the picture of the Great Tit ( above ) was the only pic from Park Wood .

Little Egret.
                                 
I called into Seaton which is near Grove Ferry in the hope of catching up with any lingering Goosanders that seem to be evading me this winter , on arrival the first birds i encountered were 1 male and 2 female Goosanders , wow how lucky was that , i checked through the rest of the wildfowl and noted 1 female Goldeneye and 50+ Wigeon which were inter mingled with the more regular ducks on this site , there was a Little Egret standing on the trail and i tried to get a photo , well i did get a photo but i could nt get close enough to be any good but here it is anyway  ( see above ) . Other than that all i really added at this site was five Common Buzzards passing over together , i could only manage to get four in a photo at anyone time .

Four Common Buzzards .

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

KENT TICK on way home from work !!!!!

I finished work early ( for a change ) and on my way home i was approaching the Prospect roundabout at approx 2.10 pm when i noticed a large raptor drifting low over the road , really broad winged , longish broad tailed , heavy bodied , OMG it was a stunning close up view of a GOSHAWK , wow what a magnificent bird to see , the only problem was i could not stop anywhere as i was right on the start of the A299 so i drove really slowly annoying all the other motorists , but at least it gave me a slightly longer view of this superb bird, and although i have seen Goshawk before its the first one i have seen in Kent, sweet.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Gull Feast

I spent a few hours in Southend today trying to see " Rossi " the long staying Ring-Billed Gull and hopefully catch up with the reported Med Gulls , i had an awful journey getting to Southend due to road works on the A2 and also driving along the A13 is not much fun either .
Still enough of the moaning lol , i did manage to see a couple of Common Buzzards over the M2 at the start of my journey which was a good start to the day , on arrival at Southend i managed to park between the toilet block and Rossis ice cream parlour  and going on the info i had this is a good location to look for the Ring billed gull, i had managed to arrive with the tide quite far out and had no idea if this would effected the RB gull  being seen or not , there was not another birder in sight and there were gulls everywhere , i walked up and down scanning constantly but no sign of anything interesting , all the usual gulls were present in good numbers , i decided to set up my scope and sit on the beach and just keep scanning and checking every gull , i also quickly added Dark-bellied brent geese , redshank, oystercatcher and turnstone to my days tally, but neither of my target species were giving themselves up .... humph !!
About an hour had gone by and despite getting odd looks from dog walkers , joggers and some kids pointing at  "the strange man with a  big telescope "  i was nt about to give up , and then a superb adult  Med Gull  flew in front of me and landed on one of the posts ( or whatever you call them ) , i managed some photos :




I really love gull watching and find it a real challenge on your id skills , white-winged gulls have always been a real passion of mine and although i have seen many they always feel me with wonder and delight , alas i had still not connected with the RB gull and headed of back to my old banger for a warm up and a huge cream cake that i had brought earlier ( yes the diet is going well ! ) . i had almost given up after spending two hours freezing my you know whats  off , when i noticed this woman throwing bread out to the gulls and there were loads of gulls coming in from all directions , so without haste i ventured over to check them out and yes the Ring - Billed Gull was flying around chasing a Herring gull, it was like seeing an old friend again , broad winged , small mirrors on its primaries, you could see its yellow legs/ feet and of course its dark banded yellow bill , sadly it never landed and i only saw it in  flight i never got a picture of it which was disappointing but who knows maybe next time ? with this superb gull under my belt i headed of to warmth of my car and started my journey home .