Sunday, 14 January 2018

Winter Birding in Kent....

                             DUNGENESS  :  8th  &  11th January
1st winter Caspian Gull

Winter birding is probably my favourite time of year (Autumn a very close second) , winter wildfowl & birds of prey , white winged gulls and scarce Buntings are all on offer if you are lucky enough to see them.

I have had a busy birding week with 2 visits to Dungeness , on the 8th i saw 28 Bewick's Swans on the Arc pits early morning and heard a Firecrest in the Willow trail.

At Lade i managed to finally see the Slavonian Grebe which was keeping company with the Long Tailed Duck both on the North Pit.

Long Tailed Duck with a Pochard.

By the fishing boats 1st winter Caspian Gull & 2 Med Gulls were seen along with hundreds of Guillemots , Razorbills & Red Throated Divers plus several Gannets and a Fulmar were all seen well.

1st winter Caspian Gull.

Back on the Rspb reserve Great White Egret & Tree Sparrow were seen well.

On the 11th i called back into Dungeness and had great views of the Long Eared Owl in the bushes at the back of the dipping pond.

Long Eared Owl.

A brisk walk around to the Christmas Dell hide to see both & ♀ Smew.

Drake Smew.

I also added 5 White Fronted Geese near Denge Marsh hide, the 1st winter Glaucous Gull also showed well from the Firth hide, another look over Lade produced a smart Dartford Warbler in the gorse by the South Pit.

CAPEL FLEET : 12th January


On the 12th i went to Capel Fleet on Isle of Sheppy , i spent a bit of time on the raptor watch point an added lots of Marsh Harrier & Common Buzzard and eventually saw a ' Ringtail' Hen Harrier.

I then popped over to Leysdown and added several wader species to my Year list plus there were at least 6 Red Throated Divers on the sea .

Whooper Swan Photo taken in 2017.

On the way back to Capel i stopped at the top of the hill by the farm and managed to see 2ad & 1 juv Whooper Swans plus 120+ White Fronted Geese & 8 Barnacle Geese.

I then drove around towards the church and on route there were good numbers of Linnets & Chaffinch feeding in the road and luckily enough i managed to see 3 Brambling in with the Chaffinch.

I spent the last hour of my visit back at the Raptor watch point and saw another Hen Harrier plus a distant Barn Owl and the Hooded Crow flew in and disappeared behind the mound.

Hooded Crow.

Friday, 5 January 2018

New Years Birding off to a Great Start...........

1st January  Oare Marshes  

Long Billed Dowitcher Photo taken in 2017.

On the 1st January i headed to a very wet & rained filled session at Oare Marshes, thankfully i managed to park up in the Pull-in and scanned the East flood adding all of the regular species you would expect to see there, i was also very fortunate to see the adult Long Billed Dowitcher which showed very briefly roosting among the Black Tailed Godwits plus i also saw 6 Knot .

Cetti's Warbler.

I also saw a very showy Cetti's Warbler which i even managed to photograph !! , i decided to have a walk around the East flood and got totally soaked in the process but added Stonechat, Bearded Tit & Turnstone to my Year list.

2nd January  Ramsgate Harbour

1st winter Iceland Gull.

On the 2nd January i headed to Ramsgate Harbour with a few target species in mind , my main target bird was the 1st w Iceland Gull which fortunately i managed to see more or less straight away on top of the Museum  near the clock.

I also added Kingfisher & Rock Pipit but alas i once again managed to dip the Snow Buntings .

4th  January  Dungeness

Drake Smew photo taken by Paul Trodd.

I headed down to Dungeness today with plenty of birds on offer , that's the great thing about the new year , pretty much every bird is a year tick, my first port of call was Lade and iwas hoping to see Long Tailed Duck , Goldeneye & Slavonian Grebe.

Well as i walking across the gravel towards the South pit  news came through that there was a ♂ Smew on said pit !!(evidently this is the first Smew of the winter at Dungeness),  i reached the pit and started scanning whilst facing a head on wind which made things quite tricky , i eventually located the ♂ Smew in with a small flock of Goldeneye, unfortunately they all took to flight and i couldn't relocate the Smew anywhere (late it was found again on the North Pit) , many thanks to Paul Trodd for allowing me to use his photo of the ♂ Smew.

♂ & ♀ Goldeneye.

As i was scanning the South pit the Long Tailed Duck flew in and showed well but was always distant , lots of Pochard, Tufted Duck & Gadwall were all added to my year list but i could not find the Slavonian Grebe.

News then came through that the 1st winter Glaucous Gull was on the Rspb reserve so that's where i headed next.

1st winter Glaucous Gull.

I made my way straight to the Makepeace hide and was soon having decent scope views of this superb white winger, i managed a few digi scoped photos , i didn't add much more from here so i then headed off to the Arc pits.

Huge bill on this bird.

It took some time but eventually i managed to see the Black Throated Diver but it never came close enough for a photo , i also saw &  Goosander from here although they were always distant  , however through the scope you could make out the pink flush on the Goosander , however i did manage to see and photograph a  Great White Egret .

 Great White Egret.

My final destination today was at the Fishing boats which proved to be an inspired decision with superb views of  a 1st winter Little Gull , 1st winter Caspian Gull & large numbers of  Kittiwake , Guillemot & Gannets.

1st winter Caspian Gull

1st winter Kittiwake.

Good size comparison .

1st winter Little Gull.

A really great birding session at Dungeness and a good start to my birding adventures in 2018.