Monday, 6 June 2022

Recent Kent Highlights

                                     27th May  2022  :    Worth  Marshes


Eleonora's Falcon.

Where else to start than Worth Marshes , having seen the Eleonora's Falcon briefly the previous day (26th) from Restharrow scrape news that it had been re-found at Worth Marshes by AL & ND had us heading out there later in the day for much better views.

Eleonora's Falcon.

Also present on the 27th May at Worth Marshes was a superb 1st summer Red-Footed Falcon.

Red-Footed Falcon.

30th May 2022 :  South Foreland

After only having a very brief view of the Sardinian Warbler on Saturday afternoon (28th) and not even hearing it call or in song left me feeling a bit disappointed , although i saw the bird the view was very poor and in all honesty and after alot of soul searching  i really felt i could not add it to my Kent Bird List on those views.

However another early morning trip on Monday the 30th was very successful, the Sardinian Warbler was heard in song several times plus i also heard it call frequently , i did see it in flight several times and perched briefly in a bush, so i can now happily with a clear conscience add it to my Kent Bird List !!!   

2nd June 2022  :  Worth Marshes

Eleonora's Falcon.

I couldn't resist another look at this magnificent bird at Worth Marshes which has delighted so many people during it's stay , not only is it a first record for Kent but i believe it's the first ever twitchable  Eleonora's in the UK .

Eleonora's Falcon.

There was also a very good supporting cast including a Honey Buzzard over the car park plus several Hobby over Great Wood and the Red Footed Falcon also flew over the car park.

Distinctive white head.

Red Footed Falcon.

As i write this the last sighting of the Eleonora's Falcon was on Saturday morning (4th June) and the last sighting of the  Red Footed Falcon was on Saturday afternoon also on the 4th June.

Many thanks to the RSPB  & SBBO for arranging & manning the car parking on site.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Eleonora's Falcon at Sandwich Bay

                                                   26th May 2022  :  Sandwich  Bay

Caspian Tern with Black-headed Gull.

Yesterday morning we started off at Pegwell Bay to hopefully see the Caspian Tern with a slim hope that the Kentish Plover might also make another appearance.

However no luck with the Kentish Plover but we had decent views of the Caspian Tern, the tide was fully in so it was decided to head to Sandwich bay and return later in the day to Pegwell bay to catch the tide on the way out.

Eleonora's Falcon photo by Tony Hambrook.

We arrived at Restharrow scrape at approx 09.10 and eventually made our way around to the new hide. As AE wanted to do some sound recording from there we left camera & scopes in the car (fatal mistake i hear you say !!) , AE was busy recording a Corn Bunting whilst i was just generally  birding looking at an Avocet on a nest wondering what the chances  of it's offspring's survival will be.

AE then picked up on a Falcon on the far side of the scrape , my initial thoughts were Hobby , however on closer inspection it appeared to long winged & tailed also it seemed quite big compared to the Corvids mobbing it plus the blackish underwing-coverts were clearly seen.

 There was no red on the undertail coverts but a reddish tinge to the body, the face pattern also appeared more white (having looked at Tony's photo's it shows it was lacking a second moustachial stripe !!)

We were trying to workout all the possibility's and even though Eleonora's Falcon was the obvious answer neither of us have seen one before and then the bird was gone , bugger we had no photo's to refer to and no experience with Eleonora's Falcon !!

Being mobbed.

Unknow to us at the time Tony Hambrook was thankfully  also on site and managed to get some photo's which clinched the ID of this incredible bird through the power & knowledge of Twitter .

We had left Sandwich by the time Tony had tweeted his photo's and we were still discussing the id features , however once we had seen Tony's photo's and reading  some of the expert comments from twitter it confirmed our thoughts that this was indeed a Pale morph Eleonora's Falcon.

Eleonora's Falcon photo by Tony Hambrook.

Many thanks to Tony Hambrook for letting me use his superb photo's of the Eleonora's Falcon on my blog and a huge congratulations to Tony on clinching the ID of this bird with them.

Of note Martyn Wilson also saw the Pale morph Eleonora's Falcon later in the afternoon at Stodmarsh, congrats Martyn !!



Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Stodmarsh & Grove Ferry

                                                                 16th  April  

                                                            GROVE FERRY


Sedge Warbler at Grove Ferry.

I really enjoy both Stodmarsh & Grove Ferry in the spring , the sound of newly arrived Sedge & Reed Warblers is a magical sound coming from the reedbeds.

We started at the Grove Ferry end and bird song was in full force starting with 3 Bullfinch along the entrance track, Cetti's, Sedge & Reed Warbler were in abundance all over the reserve, plenty of  Blackcaps & Chiffchaffs in full voice made it a very pleasant walk.


Male & Female Garganey

After a successful walk around Grove Ferry we headed to Stodmarsh and had superb views of a pair of Garganey in front of the reedbed hide.

On the main lake there were 5 Common Terns making their presence felt , we also had superb views of a pair of Treecreepers near the path, i even attempted to digi-scope them !!!


18th April  :  STODMARSH

News of a Purple Heron (Great find by Martyn Wilson) near the Marsh hide had me heading there asap, and to keep a long story short i missed the Purple Heron by a few minutes as it had flown out of view before i got there.

Despite waiting for it's hoped for re-appearance for nearly  2 & half hours it never came back (but did appear later in the afternoon long after i had gone !!!).

We did see some really good birds whilst we waited in vain including a cracking Little Ringed Plover.

Little Ringed Plover.

I also heard my first Cuckoo of the year plus 2 Bittern's were heard 'Booming' , another close view of a male Garganey in front of the hide was most welcome to.


On the way back we also saw the Little Owl on the old farm building.

Little Owl.

21st April  :   STODMARSH

Second time Lucky !!!

Purple Heron walking in the reeds.

And some great views of the Purple Heron in flight.

Purple Heron coming into land.

23rd April  :  STODMARSH

New Bird for my Valley Bird List 

1 of  2  Bar Tailed Godwits.

After checking my bird records i was very happy to add Bar Tailed Godwit to my Stour Valley Bird List, in fact there were 2 birds present from the Marsh hide.

2 Bar Tailed Godwits.

It was also great to see at least 3 Hobby on route to the Marsh hide including one bird perched on a distant fence post.

Distant Hobby.

Hobby in flight.

We were also lucky to once again  see the Purple Heron in flight between the Alder Wood and Marsh Hide.

Purple Heron in flight.

A quick look in the Reedbed hide produced a pair of Garganey sleeping and a very close Green Sandpiper.

Green Sandpiper.

Monday, 11 April 2022

Bit of a Catch Up ...........

                                        31st March 2022  :  Cliffe Rspb


Temminck's Stint.

I have to say Cliffe  is not my favourite destination as everything always seems so distant to view there, no doubt it's a wonderful haven for birds and has a superb track record for turning up many scarce & rare birds over the years.

On the 31st March a trip there was made to try and see the Temminck's Stint and a scan from the aptly named  ' Hope Mound ' proved successful, the Temminck's Stint was always distant and the above Digi photo was taken through my scope on x70 magnification !!

We also saw a single Little Stint which offered great comparisons next to the TS, we also saw 2 splendid Spotted Redshanks.

2nd April  2022  :  Worth Marshes

White Stork   (photo taken in 2021)

A trip to Worth Marshes on the 2nd April started of with distant views of the  unringed White Stork  near Willow farm.

We walked around to the Great wood and heard 2+ Chiffchaff & 1 Blackcap in full song, we continued our walk checking the pools and were lucky enough to see 2 Little ringed Plovers quite close to the path in one of the pools.

1 of 2 Little Ringed Plovers.

7th April 2022  :  Dungeness Rspb

5 Glossy Ibis

I remember the time when lots of birders would use to congregate along the Lampen wall at Stodmarsh in the winter for the Harrier roost and also await the 2 Glossy Ibis coming into roost.

 Back then in my very early days of birding i was awestruck watching these prehistoric looking birds coming out of the sky in almost darkness to land in the reedbed for the night, nowadays Glossy Ibis are seen on a almost weekly basis in several different sites .

However on the 7th April i was once again left awestruck by seeing my personal record count of 5 Glossy Ibis along the Dungeness Rspb track.

All 5 in flight.

From Dungeness we called into Oare Marshes and watched a Marsh Harrier quartering low over the reedbed in the hope it might flush up a Bittern however we were very lucky indeed as the Marsh Harrier flushed up a Jack Snipe giving us a really great view before it flew straight back into the reeds again, there was also 2 Common Snipe flushed as well.

9th April 2022 


We started of at Stodmarsh where we saw a male Garganey near the Marsh hide plus 4 superb Cattle Egrets feeding out on the marsh, they are coming into a superb plumage now.

We also managed to see at least 3 Water Pipits which are also showing a superb pink flush to their plumage.

I also saw & heard my first Sedge Warbler of the spring just before the Marsh hide, it was great as ever to catch up with MW & gang , whilst we were chatting an adult Med Gull flew over our heads.


Ring Ouzel

Conningbrook is not somewhere i visit very often however it's always a very pleasant walk around the Lake and news of a Ring Ouzel (Great find by Kev Ellse) near the sports stadium made our minds up where to go after Stodmarsh this morning.

With some local info from Neil.B.  (thanks Neil) we soon found ourselves watching the fantastic Ring Ouzel, it showed well at times but was quite flighty which is typical of this species.

Broad white breast band.

Ring Ouzel.

9th & 10th April  :  Swalecliffe

Whilst walking around Godmersham church yard news came through that a Hooded Crow had been seen at Swalecliffe, well without haste we headed there in the hope of seeing it. well to cut along story short we missed the Hooded Crow by approx 5 mins !!!!

Sadly it had been flushed which is not that surprising considering the location, however we had more than compensation with fantastic views of a Water Vole near the Brook.

Water Vole.

We also saw 2 Swallows  and a male Eider on the shingle.

Male Eider

On the 10th news that the Hooded Crow had been seen again had us heading to Swalecliffe once more and this time we had superb views as the Hooded Crow was keeping company with 25+ Carrion Crows in the nearby bushes before eventually flying back towards the shingle.

Hooded Crow with Carrion Crows.

Hooded Crow.

Of Note :  This Hooded Crow (Great find by Geoff Burton)  is only the 2nd site record , the first one was seen in 2003 !!!



Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Oare Marshes & Stour Valley

                                                      19th March 2022

                                                        Oare Marshes


♂ Garganey

After an early morning walk at Reculver which didn't produce anything out of the ordinary the plan was to head to Oare Marshes , news of a drake Garganey on the West flood came through whislt we were on route.

Once again a walk out to the West flood was successful , the Garganey showed well but was obscured alot of the time as it swam through the reeds, this was a most welcome year tick.

Stodmarsh & Grove Ferry

There was also news of several Garganey being seen in the Stour Valley so that was the next location !!

A walk around to the Reedbed Hide soon produced superb views of both male & female Garganey.

♂ Garganey with  ♂ Shoveler

♀ Garganey

♂ Garganey having a preen.

♀ Garganey having a preen.


I think Garganey are really stunning birds and always make me feel spring is not to far away.

A  visit to Grove Ferry was rewarded with a Ruff from the ramp  and a fly over Water Pipit near the David Feast hide, good to see Martyn .W. who kindly pointed out the Ruff.