Tuesday, 2 February 2021

RSPB GARDEN BIRDWATCH

                                              31st January  2021  :  9am  -  10am


                                         

Grey Wagtail.

I once again took part in the Rspb national Garden Birdwatch this weekend , here are my totals , i have also compared them to the previous 2 years totals :


1.  STARLING      30   Normally have many more birds , up to 200+.

     2019 :  27     2020  :  200


2.  CORMORANT  :  1    A regular bird seen most days flying over the garden.

     2019 : not recorded   2020 :  not recorded


3.  HOUSE SPARROW  :  11    Small breeding flock.

     2019 :  7   2020 :  10


4.  ROBIN  :  1    Normally 3 birds visit garden , including  regular breeding pair.

     2019 : 2   2020 :  1


5.  DUNNOCK  :  1  Normally 2 birds visit garden & are a regular breeding pair.

     2019 :  1    2020 :  2


                                                        

Dunnock


6.  BLUE TIT  :  2   Normally 4 birds including a pair prospecting nest box.

     2019 :  5   2020  :  4


7.  GREAT TIT  :  2   Regular local breeding pair visiting feeders

     2019 :  4    2020 :  2


8.  BLACKBIRD :  1♂ 1♀ 1 1st w    Been up to 5 birds in garden recently.

     2019 :  2   2020 :  3


9.  GOLDFINCH  :  30   Had a flock of 53 birds yesterday , average is 25+.

     2019 :  9   2020 :  27


10.  WOOD PIGEON  :  4    Normally can be up to 15+ birds.

      2019 : 24     2020 :  7


                                                         

Goldfinch.


11.  COLLARED DOVE  :  8    Normally can be up to 15+ birds.

      2019 :  7    2020 :  17


12.  SPARROWHAWK  :  1♂   A regular breeding pair seen daily over garden.

      2019 :  1♀  2020 :  Not recorded


13.  GREY WAGTAIL  :  1    A new record for garden this year , now seen daily.

      2019  :  Not recorded   2020 : Not recorded


14.  HERRING GULL  :  7   Normally 20+ birds seen over garden daily.

      2019 :  6    2020 :  11


15.  WREN  :  1     Normally only heard, but seen this morning.

      2019 :  1    2020 :  1


                                                         

Wren.


16.  SONG THRUSH  :   1   Only seen flying over garden (1st sighting this year).

      2019 :  Not recorded    2020 :  1


17.  CHAFFINCH  :  1♂  2♀   A regular visitor to garden feeders.

       2019 :  1♀    2020 :  Not recorded


18.  MAGPIE  :  3   Often seen in garden, also currently nest building.

     2019 : 1    2020 :  1


19.  FERAL PIGEON  :  10   Seen daily but rarely come to feeders.

     2019 :  4     2020 :  6


20.  CARRION CROW  :  4   Regular breeding pair seen daily.

      2019 :  3    2020 :  5


21.  BLACK HEADED GULL  :  9   Seen daily over garden.

     2019 :  3     2020 :  3


That concludes my totals for the 2021  Rspb Garden Birdwatch.


EDIT :   4 of the above species were fly overs and therefore i could not enter them into the Rspb Garden Birdwatch survey but have included them on my personal Garden list. 


                                        TOTAL SPECIES SEEN


2021  :   21  Species seen.

2020  :   20  Species seen.

2019  :   24  Species seen.   

 

Goldfinch & Chaffinch ♀






Friday, 8 January 2021

Oare Marshes........ 16 New Bird Species Added in 2020

                                        Birding at Oare Marshes  in 2020 


                                                         

American Golden Plover October 2020.


I have never really been a loyal  'Patch Birder' , however over recent years i have spent more time birdwatching at Oare Marshes then most birding sites in Kent, (Dungeness being a very close second).

I have always kept selected birding site species lists in Kent, (if you look on the right hand side of this blog post you will see which Kent bird site lists i keep) . 

Dungeness in my opinion is by far the best birding site in Kent if not the South East but it's approx an hour's drive to get there from where i live (maybe a bit less depending how rare the bird is.....). However Oare Marshes is only approx 20 mins from home.

At the start of 2020 my Oare Marsh Bird List was on 179 and my target was to reach 200 sometime in the future. I managed to add 16 new species during 2020 and my OMBL now stands at a respectful 195 , Here is a run down on the birds i added at Oare Marshes in 2020 :


CATTLE EGRET  :  

I added this bird on the 23rd March on my last birding trip before the national lockdown, not the best views as it was quite distant and quickly disappeared out of sight , viewed from Dan's Dock.


BLACK KITE  :

There had been a Black Kite seen in the Faversham area during the week and you always hope you might get lucky, well on 16th May an afternoon visit was rewarded with decent views of Black Kite over the West flood heading towards Faversham, the bird was picked up by AE and i quickly got onto it, it was also seen the next day flying towards Sheppy.


BITTERN  :

First heard booming on the 20th May walking towards Dan's Dock , a truly magical sound, however i didn't actually see a Bittern at Oare until the 18th June when one flew from the East flood over the road towards the West flood.


RED FOOTED FALCON  ♀  :

News of a Red Footed Falcon showing well from the sea wall on the West flood on the 20th May was a real bonus bird to see, once again distant views at first were soon followed by some great scope views as it perched on a bonfire pile out on the West flood.

                                                                    

Red Footed Falcon photo by AE.


WHOOPER SWAN  :

Very distant views of a single bird on the Swale seen from the slipway was good enough to add this overdue bird to my OMBL seen on 13th June.


LONG EARED OWL  :

On the 20th June fantastic views of a Long eared Owl in the car park by the sea wall was certainly one of the highlights of my birding year at Oare Marshes during 2020.


                                                    

Long Eared Owl.


SAVI'S WARBLER  : 

Having missed the Savi's Warbler during the Lockdown  i was very pleased to catch up with this bird (possibly the same bird that was present in the spring) on the 22nd June, brief glimpse only  but heard 'Reeeling' by the sea wall.


YELLOW LEGGED GULL  :

There has been an adult Yellow legged Gull reported along Faversham creek on & off for quite sometime and i eventually caught up with this bird on the 9th July.


                                                                             

Yellow legged Gull.


FULMAR  :

A really great seawatch on the 29th August was rewarded with 3 Fulmar's flying into the Swale and then later flying out again.


LONG TAILED SKUA  :

Fantastic views of a juv Long Tailed Skua  in front of the seawatch hide on the 29th August was not only a new bird for my Oare marsh Bird list but a new bird for my Kent Bird List, i in fact saw 2 juv Long Tailed Skuas on the 29th and i added a further 7 juv Long Tailed Skuas on the 30th August also from the Seawatch hide.


                                                                        

Long Tailed Skua photo by Dominic Mitchell.


SABINE'S GULL  :

There were many good birds seen on the seawatch from the hide on the 30th August however the adult Sabine's Gull was a real treat and a very welcome addition to my OMBL.


SISKIN  :

With lot's of finch movement in the county i was hopeful of adding something at Oare Marshes and was not disappointed with my first flock of 45+ Siskin's flying over the East flood on the 12th September.


POMARINE SKUA  :

Another seawatch on the 24th September added a Dark Phase Pomarine Skua to my OMBL, it flew inland along Faversham creek and then reappeared flying high out to sea again later in the morning.


WRYNECK  :

Another real personal highlight of 2020 was adding Wryneck to my OMBL,  these are really delightful looking birds and with a bit of patience i was lucky enough to get some great views along the path between the East flood hide and sluice on the 6th October.


                                                                   

Wryneck.


GOLDCREST  :

Heard only in the car park by the slipway Goldcrest was a very long overdue addition to my OMBL.


DARTFORD WARBLER  :

A walk along the seawall just past Dan's Dock and just before Uplees copse  produced decent views of a Dartford Warbler which was keeping company with 2 Stonechats and although elusive i did manage to get some decent views on & off on the 16th October.


                                                                          

Bonaparte's Gull  July 2020.


2020 was a remarkable year for me at Oare Marshes adding some great new birds to my Oare Marsh Bird List, many thanks to all the Oare Marshes regulars especially Murray Wright for all the information on sightings, very much appreciated.



                                                                  







Thursday, 31 December 2020

Final Bird List Totals for 2020...........

                                           KENT BIRD YEAR LIST 2020

 In a very difficult year birdwatching has been the one consistent i have enjoyed more then anything and was a good way of escaping the difficult times we all live in at the moment.


My Kent Bird Year List Total ended on 225 , which included 4 new birds for my Kent bird list : Gull Billed Tern, Long Tailed Skua, Masked Shrike (1st for Kent) and Crag Martin (1st for Kent).


                                                        

Crag Martin at Kingsdown.


Masked Shrike at Shuart.


UK  BIRD YEAR LIST 2020

I also kept a UK Bird Year List and although the virus restricted what i could do and my Shetland holiday was cancelled i still managed a reasonable 244 bird species for 2020.

I was also very lucky to add 2 new bird species to my British Bird List : Siberian Thrush & Eastern Rufous Bush Chat.

Siberian Thrush photo by Oli Mockridge.

Eastern Rufous Bush Chat at Stiffkey.



GARDEN BIRD LIST 2020

I really enjoy Garden birdwatching and have several feeders up plus a bird bath.

My Garden Bird List is now on : 67 species and i added 12 of those species in 2020.

The new additions are : Greenfinch (2), Fieldfare, Raven (2) , Green Woodpecker. Siskin (25+) , Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Common Crossbill, Lesser Redpoll (25+), Skylark (3), Brent Goose (Heard only) and finally Greylag Goose (25+).

Most if not all these birds were seen flying over the garden, i get regular Curlew & Cormorant over the garden plus in recent weeks 2 Grey Wagtails have started to feed around my drive.



Greenfinch & Goldfinch on feeders.


So that about wraps up my birding totals for 2020 , i would just like to wish everyone a Happy 2021 with plenty of good bird & nature watching to help keep us all sane !! 





Tuesday, 22 December 2020

MERRY CHRISTMAS

                                                                      



Just like to wish everyone who has visited my blog this year a


MERRY CHRISTMAS 


&

GREAT BIRDING

FOR

2021


Local Kent Birding......

                                       December  19th  :  Reculver Marshes


                                                             

Snow Bunting.

A pleasant walk along the sea wall at Reculver on Saturday with the hope of locating the small flock of Snow Buntings the main target birds.

Lot's of birds seen included Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Curlew & Redshank plus good numbers of Dark Bellied Brent Geese.



We eventually reached the environment agency steps where the Snow Buntings have been favouring and sure enough all 3 birds were there happily feeding away.


                                                                      


Snow Bunting.


December 19th  :  Oare Marshes


Red Breasted Merganser

After a really pleasant walk at Reculver we ended the day at Oare Marshes , bumping into DS who very kindly informed me of a male Red Breasted Merganser which was showing well in Faversham creek.

Having a stretch.

So after a quick look over the East Flood where there were plenty of Pintail and at least 200 Avocets.

The weather was closing in and the rain came pouring down, so the decision was made to head to Faversham creek and superb views of the bedraggled Red Breasted Merganser were obtained.


Red Breasted Merganser.

There was a least 20+ Little Grebes on one of the pools plus a superb Kingfisher successfully feeding along the creek.

Several Redshank plus 4+ Greenshank and a single Green Sandpiper were also seen.



Kingfisher.








 

Monday, 30 November 2020

My Kent November Birding Highlights .....

                                         November 14th 2020 :  Hythe in Kent

                                                          

Love the Purple colour on the  feathers.

Purple Sandpiper.

With Covid-19 lockdown in force i was abit confused on how far you could travel so early in the month on the 14th i headed to Hythe to try and see the Glaucous Gull.

Whilst looking for the Glaucous Gull we also enjoyed fantastic views of 2 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks, in the above photo of the bird sleeping it's worth enlarging the photo to see the purple colouration on the  feathers.

We had no luck with the Glaucous Gull so headed to Dungeness for a 'Seawatch' ,

Dungeness  ' Seawatch'

Great Skua .

An hour & a half sea watch from the fishing boats was very productive , 4 Great Skuas , 1000+ Gannets, 250+ Kittiwakes , a ♂ Merlin in off were all great to see but the highlight was a superb Sooty Shearwater .

Sooty Shearwater.

Plenty of Razorbills & Guillemots were seen as was 1♂  3♀ Common Scoter.

Common Scoter.

We headed back to Hythe and this time we got very brief views of the Glaucous Gull in fading light.

Record shot of Glaucous Gull.



November 21st , 23rd & 25th  :  Kingsdown

FIRST RECORD FOR KENT :  CRAG MARTIN

Needless to say i really enjoyed this bird , i have been lucky enough to have seen Crag Martin in the UK before however to see one in Kent is absolutely fantastic.

Here are a selection of photos from all 3 visits  :







1st winter Crag Martin


November 28th  :   Swalecliffe

2 Slavonian Grebes.

Really pleased to catch up with the 2  Slavonian Grebes at Swalecliffe , we also saw several Red Throated Divers & & ♀ Red Breasted Merganser.

From here we popped around to Hampton Pier and saw a roosting Purple Sandpiper & another Red throated Diver on the sea.

Roosting Purple Sandpiper.

News of the Crag Martin still being present but now relocated to Samphire Hoe was tempting me all day so i finally gave into temptation and went for yet another look at this superb bird.


Crag Martin.

Well that concludes my November Kent birding highlights fingers crossed December has one or two surprises in store to.

I would just like to say although i have done several trips through the lockdown period and i have only ventured approx 30 mins from home (not including Dungeness which in hindsight was probably to far to go) and i have maintained social distancing on every trip (although that proved challenging at times), hope everyone stays safe .