Saturday, 29 January 2011

Park Wood and Grove


I called into a local woodland today , Park Wood which is between Canterbury and Chilham and my target bird was Lesser spotted woodpecker , alas i was unlucky with this , however i did encounter some good woodland birds , i saw a very showy Treecreeper and heard a very vocal Nuthatch , other birds of note were 2 Marsh Tits and 1 Coal Tit which were new Kent year ticks as was 2 fly over Lesser Redpolls , this is only a small woodland and only takes approx an hour to do the whole circuit , i never saw another person there which is also a bonus , not that i am unsociable but woodland watching does need abit of quietness to get the rewards , on my way back to the car i had fairly good views of Goldcrest and 5 Siskins high up in the canopy plus a few smart looking Redwings.

Very showy Treecreeper.

From Park Wood i headed to Grove Ferry and it was rather quite there to say the least , although i did see a fine female Pintail from the Feast hide and a very close fly by from a female Marsh Harrier was a real treat .

Female Pintail.

Female Marsh Harrier.

From the hide i took a walk along the river but did not really add anything and on my way back past the paddock i briefly saw a male Bullfinch perched but know soon had i got onto it and then it was gone !!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Hawfinch in two Counties .....Smart !!!!!


Once again. had a day birding in Kent on the 22nd , i started of at Tescos and was very pleased to see the Tesco Waxwings 24 birds were present , although the poor light did nt help with photography i had great views of these wonderful birds , my next stop was for the Northern Long-Tailed Tits at Dymchurch , on arrival i bumped into a couple of birders who had seen them by the Murco garage , i headed there but they had moved off out of sight , then after about 15 mins i got onto some long tailed tits high up in the canopy and i was all soon enjoying these quite stunning Northern Long tailed tits .

I saw 2 birds but they were very flighty and sadly no photos were managed this time , I called into Dungeness briefly and saw a superb drake Smew and a redhead Goosander on the Arc pits and I had 2 Chiffchaffs along the willow trail ( or should that be renamed as the Chiffchaff trail ? ......... lol ) , 2 Ravens , 3 Tree Sparrows and 3 Ruddy Ducks were all added to my year list plus i had up to 5 redhead Smew and several Goldeneye from the visitors center .

 Time was against me here as ie wanted to try for the Hawfinch at Denge wood that i had seen previously , i arrived at Denge Wood at 1.30pm a bit early but i had several Siskin and a Treecreeper to keep me entertained and i heard a distant Tawny Owl the weather was closing in and the light was poor with a steady drizzle of rain but are persistence paid of when Marc H who was also present at this site picked out a Hawfinch high up on top of a pine tree , we all had superb scope views then i picked out two more Hawfinches on a second tree .
Two Hawfinches.

I had really great views of these birds and i had a further 4 birds fly over head and a seventh bird was also seen abit later on ,  this is truly a remarkable site for these birds and with light fading very quickly i left for home very happy !!!!!


I headed for Sussex today 23rd ,   my first location was  Fishbourne Creek , i wase soon on site and it was not long before i found this fine Kingfisher , i struggled to see one last year so this was most welcome , there was also an adult Little Stint out on the easturie , several hundred Black tailed godwits , Dunlin and lesser numbers of Curlew were seen and a very brief view of a Jack Snipe in flight was very rewarding , i then went to Thorney Island and my target bird was Short-Eared Owl and ie did not have to wait long for this  .

Short-Eared Owl.

From here i popped into Church Norton ( a few years since i had been to this site ) and i was soon enjoying views of Peregrine , Bar-Tailed Godwit several Avocets plus 7 Slavonian Grebes on the sea with at least 5 Red Breasted Mergansers amongst them , mye final destination was West Dean woods , at least 9 Marsh Tits , 3 Coal Tits ,  i heard a  Raven  but did not see it , good views were obtained of Nuthatch and Brambling .

Marsh Tit


2 Brambling.

                                           And just as i was about to leave in did a final scan of the pine trees and picked up two more Hawfinches , they were mye ninth Hawfinches of the weekend spread over 2 counties , these birds were a little bit more distant than the ones in Kent but no less appreciated. Sorry about the poor quality of the photos , poor light and the birds being fairly distant is my excuse and i am sticking to it

Friday, 21 January 2011

Tesco Waxwings Part Two

Just could not resist some more photos of these delightful birds , apologies if i have bored you with my constant Waxwing  photos , but its not often go to Tescos and see these stunning birds             

Norfolk and Suffolk birding Bonanza 15 th & 16 th January


Spotted Redshank.

Lesser White-Fronted Goose .

Two Peregrines.

Iceland Gull.


Friday, 14 January 2011

Tesco Waxwings


I finished work early today and called into Tescos at Whitstable to try and see the reported Waxwings that were seen earlier , and sure enough i soon saw 3 birders who were watching 11 of these superb birds and i soon joined them and enjoyed this stunning birds.

The light was fairly poor but all the same i just cant seem to get enough of these delightful Waxwings.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Northern Wonder

Northern Long-Tailed Tit.

I had no plans to go out birding today but the lure of this delightful Northern Long- Tailed Tit was to strong , i arrived at Dymchurch and joined the already gathered birders , it was proving elusive to find , i did see a female Merlin whilst i was waiting and then i noticed a few birders rushing over towards some trees , i soon joined them and it was not long until i got onto this northern wonder .

Good view of the under tail.

This is only a sub species of Long tailed tit but it was really stunning , white head, white under tail coverts , and much whiter wing coverts , it was keeping close company with a regular Long tailed tit and very good comparisons were made.

                                                               View of the wing coverts.

I watched this for about 10 minutes but the whole time it was keeping busy , moving around and was tricky to photo , eventually it moved of towards the church , there have been up to 5 birds seen here , i was completely satisfied with one , i also saw 1 Goldcrest and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers here.


I called into Fowlmead Country Park on the way home as the weather was much better today and i thought my chances of seeing the Waxwings were much higher , and on my arrival i first saw 4 or 5 birders and then i got onto the Waxwings in the top of some nearby trees , they were very vocal and a bit flighty , i counted 18 birds in total .

In flight.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Local Birding....... and 100 up for 2011

Male Siskin.

I decided to do some local birding today , i headed off to Fowlmead country park near Deal on the hope of seeing some Waxwings , however i was unlucky with these despite being there at 10.15 am and the pager alerting me that there were still 8 birds present and yet i was the only birder there ?????  its a mystery ! still i did add Green Woodpecker and Wren to my year list , i also had good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing , i spent about an hour here then headed of to the Alder wood part of Stodmarsh and heard then saw a Siskin fly overhead in the car park there , i then encounted a further 50 birds in the woods mixed in with my first Goldfinches of the year , oddly there was not a Lesser Redpoll to be seen or heard here , i saw a distant female Marsh Harrier and good numbers of Teal , Mallard and Gadwall out on the lake , and then i had a brief view of a Bittern fly along the reed bed ,on my way back towards the car i saw 3 delightful  Long-Tailed Tits .

                                       Another male Siskin.

Mixed wildfowl, how many can you id ??

From Stodmarsh i headed of to Denge wood where i had been told of a fairly reliable site for Hawfinch , its been a number of years since i have seen them locally as the site i used to see them is now devoid of most birds let alone Hawfinch , so with the directions written down i followed my map and duly arrived on site at 1.30 pm , abit early for the roost which is roughly 2.30 - 3 pm , but as it was an overcast day i thought i would just wait and see what happens and despite several more vocal Siskins there was no sign of any Hawfinch by 2pm , i had bumped into 2 other birders but they had not seen any either by this time , we spread out a little bit but keeping in earshot just in case, then i noticed 3 birds flying overhead quite short tailed and fairly large, as luck would have it they landed in the tops of some nearby trees and with in an instant i set my scope up and gave the shout  " 3 Hawfinches in the top of left hand tree "  very well marked birds and fantastic to see , really big billed and headed , they eventually flew off after about 2 to 3 minutes but sadly they were just abit to far to get any pictures.
With this i headed off home happy having reached over 100 for 2011 already with some top quality birds .

Monday, 3 January 2011

Kent and Sussex Birding

One of three Shorelarks at Reculver.

  Today ( 2nd Jan. ) i started of at Reculver to try and see the Hooded crow which would be  a year tick for me , it was a  bitterly cold morning and on my walk along the sea wall i picked out a distant Harrier which soon came closer enough to id as a Marsh Harrier  which was quickly followed by Little Egret and Lapwing and Pheasant  there were plenty of Wigeon and Dark-Bellied Brent Geese on the sea  , as i carried on moving towards cold harbour i had 3 larks flying off but could not put a positive id to but were most probably the Shorelarks , damn , in the same area i first heard then saw 2 Snow Buntings which i happily added to my year list , i eventually reached cold harbour and was soon enjoying distant views of the Hooded Crow .

On my return journey i reached the area where i had seen 3 larks flying off earlier and within seconds i was  enjoying close views of 3 Shorelarks which were a very welcome addition to my ever growing year list , these are scarce birds in Kent and really smart birds to see let alone photograph .


I arrived back at the car and then headed of to Dungeness , i called into the visitor center and had really great views of a Bittern out in the open and then saw a red head Smew and 3 Goosanders. i also added at least 2 female Goldeneyes and 1 Black-Necked Grebe .

 I then headed of towards the sea to try and catch up with the reported recently seen Glaucous and Caspain Gulls , but despite an intensive scan through the gulls i had no luck with the Caspian gull but thankfully i  managed to see the Glaucous gull which was first spotted sitting on some type of metal structure then eventually seen resting on the ground .

Glaucous gull on metal structure.

Resting on ground.

I also added several hundred Red-Throated divers of shore , quite a remarkable sight plus there were a few Great crested grebes on the sea and a couple of Guillemots and a fly by Razorbill.

My final destination was a trip to Pett level via a quick check of Scotney on the way through which resulted in 4 White-fronted geese and at Pett Level i enjoyed seeing a large mixed flock of Dark-bellied Brent geese which had approx 10 Pale-Bellied birds and a really smart looking Black Brant and another White-fronted goose , there were also 100 + Barnacle Geese and a scattering of Canada geese , and then it was time to call it a day , on my way home i added Moorhen to my year list .

Great start to the new year in Cornwall

Purple Sandpiper.

A very early start saw me picking up David Campbell at 4.20 am and are quest was a trip to Cornwall for the Pacfic Diver that had been there for a few days , on our journey we started of the new year with a superb Barn Owl drifting across the road as we were just about to join the A303 , other birds noted on are journey included Robin , Blackbird , Common Buzzard ( approx : 15 ) Collared Dove and David also added Lapwing and Pheasant and much to his amusement gripped me off with these all
We arrived in Cornwall and located ourselves at Marazion marsh where the diver was last seen the day before , our first Diver was a distant Red-Throated and was soon followed by a superb Great Northern Diver but no sign of the Pacific , there were alot of birds a long way out which were to far give a positive id to , we chatted to one or two local birders for up to date gen and were told of several good birds around past Penzance harbour at jubilee pool so we decided to check this site out as the Pacific has been seen from here to on occasions , we arrived and on are way towards the Jubilee pool area David quickly picked up a really smart male Black Redstart , then whilst trying to get a photo a rather odd character decided to make conversation with David which seemed to be a bit of a theme for the rest of the day

Eider . ( one of two birds present ).

We added Slavonian Grebe , Purple Sandpiper and Eider from this vantage point plus 3 more Great Northern divers and a well picked out Red-Necked Grebe , well done on that one David.
We were than told by some old lady that there will be lots of swimmers coming around to where we were birding from very soon ( they must be mad , it was a very cold day ) , so we decided to go around to a small bay and try for the Grey Phalarope that had been seen there , just previous to speaking to the old lady another birder picked out a fly over Glaucous Gull  1st winter bird smart ! on are arrival it was negative news on the Phalarope but there was a very close Pale-Bellied Brent Goose which i managed to photo .

Pale-Bellied Brent Goose.

Still no news or sign of the target bird but top quality birds were making this a very good days birding all the same , then the news broke , my pager chirped that the target bird had been seen just off Jubilee pool so we decided to head straight there , and some manic driving later we were back on sight and after approx 15 minutes i was adding PACIFIC DIVER to my life list , a really smart bird to see , white chin strap was seen every now and again especially when it started to preen , white throat contrasted really well against dark nape and back of neck , the evident lack of white thigh patch was very obvious , a very compact bird with small roundish head and slender bill, i have now seen all five world species of diver and my only disappointment is i never got a photo of this bird , David has a record shot on his blog .
The Pacific Diver then drifted off towards St Michael's mount so we decided to head off back there but we could not pick it up again , although we did add several more year ticks from Marazion marsh including a fine Bittern giving us a brief flying view , so with time against us we decided to pop into Hayle Estuarie and added many new birds to are year list , including 6 female Goosanders , Knot , Redshank , and plenty of ducks , and then time caught up with us and we headed of home very happy .