Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Day in Kent

Two Dunlin at Dungeness.

My first location today was to pop into Elmley to try and see the roosting Long - eared owls at Kinghills farm i spent a fare amount of time trying to locate these but was not lucky this time , however i had decent views of a Garden Warbler and there were 2 Green Sandpipers and a couple of Avocets nearby which are always nice to see , i decided to cut my loses and head of to Oare Marshes , i encounted 41 Golden Plovers and  a smart Whimbrel out on the mud flats , i had 50 +Black-Tailed Godwits and 200 + Avocets , other than a few Dunlin there were no small waders to be had here.

Dunlin.

My final destination of the day was Dungeness , i headed straight to the Arc pit to try and see the recently found Pectoral Sandpiper  and i was straight onto this delightful sandpiper , this was a new bird for me at Dungeness and a very much welcome year tick .

Pectoral Sandpiper.

Another record shot of the Pec Sand.

I enjoyed this bird for about 30 minutes , often feeding close by and it was also quite flighty showing off its centrel tail stripe , i also had up to 5 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper and a couple of Lapwings here , from here i headed of to the rspb reserve to try and see the Great White Egret having already failed a couple of times this year , i made my way around to the Denge marsh hide eventually i went and had a look from the gate  with one or two other birders and was soon  enjoying the Great White Egret.

Adult Great White Egret.

And about to land.

This was a really graceful bird , feeding quite actively every so often , there was not alot around other than this apart from some really smart Common Terns and a fly over Hobby , there were a few butterflies about mainly Gatekeeper , Red Admiral and a couple of Peacocks , i also saw a young Fox near the Christmas dell hide . 



Monday, 18 July 2011

Top Quality Waders

Adult Spoonbill

An early start saw me heading north to Blacktoft Sands rspb reserve in the hope of seeing the adult Marsh Sandpiper , i arrived at about 7.30 am and the weather was awful , consistent rain and quite windy , i met a couple of birders and the news was negative , not a good start but i was undeterred and i checked  out several hides where the Sandpiper had been seen on and off over the past week , i encountered a superb adult Spoonbill which was later joined by another adult bird  smart ,  i also had some great views of   Wood Sandpiper .

Adult Wood Sandpiper.

I encountered 3 Wood Sandpipers , at least 5 Green Sandpipers and 1 Common Sandpiper at this reserve plus a really smart couple of Ruffs put in an appearance .

Two Ruff.

I also had fantastically close views of a female Marsh Harrier right in front of the hide , i have never been as close to one before , truly a remarkable sight and well worth the journey on its own.

Female Marsh Harrier.

There were plenty of waders flying in and out , lots of Egrets and at least 5 Marsh Harriers were spooking everything every now and again , i moved onto the other end of the reserve and bumped into another birder named Rich , we exchanged information of what we had seen and he said he was going to check out another area of the reserve where the Marsh Sandpiper has been seen from whilst i checked out a different area , we exchanged numbers so we could inform each other if we see the bird , well i was in the Marsh Hide checking out at least 50 Black tailed godwits , there were Dunlin, Snipe and various ducks but no Marsh sandpiper , then my phone went off , it was Richard with positive news , the Marsh Sandpiper was showing from the Ousefleet viewing screen , with a rather quick dash around to the viewing screen i were greeted with the news it had just waded out of sight . 

So after a fretful 10 to 15 minutes wait the Marsh Sandpiper  gave its self up to  ,  really super sandpiper , a miniature version of a Greenshank is the nearest comparison i can think off , a delicate thin bill , longish legs . This was  my third bird in the UK but this was by far the best view of one i have had , i also added at least 5 Spotted Redshanks at this viewing screen including one very black bird .

From here i decided to head to Rutland Water which was on the way back and hopefully try and see the summer plumage Spotted Sandpiper , i arrived there in good time and the weather had improved i parked up and and got my permit from the visitor center .

I set off to the Shallow water  hide , and as luck would have it i connected with this super wader straight away , it was a bit distant on the far bank but you could make out the orange/ yellowish bill and spotting on its breast and flanks , it was along side a Green Sandpiper which was much bigger .

Spotted Sandpiper wing stretching.

Spotted Sandpiper

And in flight

There were five Ospreys in close attendance and one bird spooked the Sandpiper and it flew towards the hide and landed on my side of the water , wow a stunning bird to see the spots were much more evident at this close range , it had a striking supercillium  , i have now seen four Spotted Sandpipers  but this is the first one i have seen in this plumage , the Ospreys were really stunning to see at such close quarters too.

Two of the five birds on the nest.

And an Osprey in flight.

Other birds seen here were a female Goldeneye , Common Sandpiper ( at one point there was Common , Green and Spotted Sandpiper all in one view ) plus several Common Buzzards were flying around ,  there was a huge number of Sand Martins nearby giving some fine views.

Several Sand Martin.

Then it was time to head home  very happy after a superb days birding with some quality birds in the bag.




Sunday, 17 July 2011

Stodmarsh to Pulborough Brooks

Marsh Frog on a dead fish.


Little Owl.

Hobby.

Common Whitethroat


Great Crested Newt.



Saturday, 9 July 2011

June Update

Avocet at Minsmere

Well i am pleased to say computer and camera problems have now finally all been sorted out and instead of doing individual posts on birding trips i have decided to just do a overall summary of my birding adventures June , which i have to say has been more about dipping then ticking ...lol White throated robin and white winged scoter where two major dips and to be honest i will leave it at that , the month also started of with yet another dip in Norfolk with missing the Broad Billed Sandpiper at Breydon water by a day , i decided to head to Minsmere and had some very close views of Avocets with chicks .

                                                                        Avocet chick at Minsmere.

These were delightful to see , there was alot of activity on the scrape and are main target bird here was Roseate Tern   , i put in a bit of time for this bird and just as it was beginning to look like another dip however i connected with this super tern.

Roseate Tern in flight.

And at rest.

You could make out a slight pink flush to this bird in certain lights and was a very welcome year tick for me . i am going to by pass my very painful trip to Cleveland and move on to yet another painful dip to Scotland and although i was very disappointed to miss out on the scoter i did have some other quality birds to at least make the journey worth while , i started of with 1 male and 3 female Scottish Crossbills  near Avimore which were seen well and heard calling , this was a year tick , i then carried on to the scoter sight near Aberdeen and although the scoter was seen by a few i never managed to connect with it , i then  made the effort to see the male King Eider at the Ythan estuarie .

Sleeping male King Eider.

I did see it with its head up for awhile and I also got some fantastic views of Eider here.

Male Eider.

And I had some Seals , not sure what type , think they could be Grey ??? 

Eiders and Seals

Another Seal.

It was a very long journey and i was ready to head to the whisky distilleries after dipping the scoter but made the wise decision and headed home disappointed with dipping but pleased with the birds we did get .