Monday 28 April 2014

New Patch Tick at Dungeness.....Black Winged Stilt

Female & Male Black-Winged Stilts.

With the weather not being that great over the weekend i decided to wait til this morning to go for the Black-Winged Stilts that had been seen at Dungeness over the weekend , my pager beeped into life confirming they were still present so of a i set and duly arrived at the RSPB visitor car park just after 10am , there had been no more news since 7.30am and the staff at the centre didn't know if they were still around or not , they didn't even know that they had been seen that morning !!!

Male Black-Winged Stilt.

I headed of to the flooded hay fields behind the Christmas dell hide and the route was alive with birds displaying and in full voice , Common Whitethroat , Sedge Warbler and Cetti's Warbler were the main songsters and i had my best ever views of a Cetti's Warbler which was tail and wing flicking right out in the open , amazing to see and worth the journey on its own.

I also added a Cuckoo to my year list as it flew across one of the fields and briefly landed on a post before carrying on with its journey , i eventually reached the flooded fields and was quickly onto the Black-Winged Stilts which was a very welcome patch and year tick for me , they were a little bit distant and there was a heat haze but great scope views were obtained .

Common Whitethroat.

I watched the Stilts for about half an hour and apart from when i first arrived when they were walking around they remained asleep with the odd preen every now and again , i headed back and managed a couple of pics of Common Whitethroat which seemed to be everywhere , i also had a great but brief view of a Whinchat which would not give itself up to my camera.

Another Common Whitethroat.

Singles of Yellow Wagtail and Swallow were seen flying over head and a look over the ARC pits produced good numbers of Common Tern which were also new for year for me . Other birds of note were a Peregrine Falcon over the back of the Pylons behind the Christmas Dell hide and a singing Black Redstart which i couldn't locate by the power station.

Saturday 26 April 2014

Just a Bit of Fun Quiz Week 39 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Week 39 answer is Twite.

Last weeks " Mystery Birds " were indeed Twite which i saw at Titchwell in Norfolk in 2012 , they were in a flock of about 60 birds.
Well done to all the correct entries who are : Ellis Lucas , Mark L , Mark Lewis , Ben M, Matthew B , Martyn Wilson  and Mike.H. 

I also set a second challenge of how many birds were in the pic ( see last weeks quiz pic ) and to be honest i am not entirely sure myself as the pic is not that great , however after several counts i kept coming up with 22 birds , so any count of between 20 and 25 is close enough.

Just like to say unlucky to the incorrect entries this week and many thanks to everyone who took part , Here is this weeks " Mystery Bird ".

Week 40 " Mystery Bird " ????????

If you fancy ago just leave your answer in the comments or DM on twitter @RobsBirding and i will reveal the correct entries and answer next weekend , good luck.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Its all Blue at Restharrow

Blue-Winged Teal female in flight with Shoveler.

Having heard that there was a female Blue-Winged Teal on Restharrow scrape in Sandwich  had me heading that way , i was greeted with the news its just flown out of sight behind the reeds ( yep usual story !!!!  ) , i was also informed it was keeping close company with a male Shoveler , i kept scanning the reeds where it had flown into and could make out the Shoveler and eventually they female Blue Winged Teal also came into view but very obscured behind the reeds .

Female Blue-Winged Teal.

Eventually the Blue-Winged Teal came into full view at the back of the scrape and was never very far away from the Shoveler , something spooked them as they both took to the air and flew straight towards the hide veering of to the left and landed again in the reeds , they did come out in the open a few times but never that close .

Blue-winged Teal and Shoveler.

I added a few year ticks from the hide including approx 5 House Martins which were among a throng of Swallows and Sand Martins plus a single Common Whitethroat was displaying from one of the bushes along the side of the scrape , 2 Little Ringed Plovers were also flying around the scrape and landing on the small muddy island every so often.

One of two Little Ringed Plovers.

After about an hour of watching the Blue Winged Teal i decided to walk back to my car and check out the flooded field opposite Restharrow and was very pleased to find four Yellow Wagtails of which 2 were male Blue Headed and i am pretty sure there was also one Channel Wagtail the fourth bird was a bog standard Yellow Wagtail but great to see all the same.

Male " Blue Headed Wagtail ".

Channel Wagtail.

A really enjoyable birding session with 5 year ticks to boot .

Monday 21 April 2014

Nightingale & Bittern in the Stour Valley

Garden Warbler ... Honest lol

I was undecided to where to go this morning , either Oare or Stodmarsh , i finally settled on Stodmarsh which proved to be a very good decision , as i parked up in the reserve car park i instantly heard a Garden Warbler which was very near my car , it didn't take me long to find it and although i saw it well it never really stayed long enough for a clear pic as you can see by the above photo. I then walked around to the Reed bed hide and heard a Bittern " Booming " as i approached the hide and was again when i was inside the hide however i could not locate it , there was very little bird life from here but plenty of bird song , cetti's , Chiffchaff , Lesser Whitethroat and Bearded Tit all in fine voice but none of them wanted to show themselves.

Female Marsh Harrier.

I made a quick phone call to  Chidders who was around the other side of the reserve at Grove Ferry with Martyn Wilson and the decision was made to join them , i had time to add a female Blackcap to my year list and then a short drive and walk soon had me teaming up with Martyn and Chidders , after a short chat we heard a distant Nightingale which was my first of the year , then Chidders picked out a distant Hobby which was a great spot at that distance and was also another year tick for yours truly , we were then just chatting about the Grasshopper Warblers that they had heard early in the morning / night lol when Chidders said i can hear one now and i also picked up the call which was very brief .

Then Martyn thought he saw it fly close into and below the ramp which we were standing on , the Grasshopper Warbler then started to " Reel " , fantastic and so close , it begun to move around giving very brief glimpses and every so often it would " reel " before moving through probably back into the reed bed. We also added a quite high flying Kingfisher which was good to see.


I then decided to head off towards Harrisons hide and try to connect with a Wheatear that they had seen earlier so we said our goodbyes and of i went , i saw plenty of Sedge Warblers and heard Bearded Tits but failed to re locate the Wheatear , i headed back and had short look in the Feast hide but didn't really add anything new. There were plenty of butterflies on the wing , mainly Small white and Peacocks , I may of seen a Clouded Yellow earlier when i was near Trenly woods but it was very very brief so i can't be sure.

Another Peacock.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Just a Bit of Fun Quiz Week 38 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Male Pheasent in Dorset.

Last weeks " Mystery Bird " was indeed a male Pheasant which i saw in Dorset whilst i was on a twitch , this proved quite hard with quite a few wrong answers this week , however a very big well done to the correct entries who were : Ellis Lucas , Mark L, Mark Lewis , Ben M and Martyn Wilson ( well done in finding the Bluethroat & Spotted Crake at  Grove Ferry this week ) .

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer , great try and many thanks to everyone who had ago . 

Here is this weeks " Mystery Bird " you get a bonus point if you can not only name the species but give the correct number in the picture .

Mystery Birds ???? 

If you fancy ago just leave your answer in the comments or DM on twitter @RobsBirding , i will reveal the correct answer and entries next weekend , Good Luck .

Thursday 17 April 2014

Little Grebe at Restharrow

Little Grebe at Restharrow .

I paid a short visit to Sandwich bay this morning in the hope of seeing the 2 Common Cranes but sadly they had departed by the time i got there so i decided to have a look in on Restharrow Scrape and was rewarded with some very close views of Little Grebe.

I called into Grove on the way home and heard a Lesser Whitethroat in the paddocks plus a very vocal Cetti's Warbler by the ramp , a single Greenshank was among a  small gathering of Lapwings before flying off out of sight in a hidden pool , otherwise quite a quiet session here with only Marsh Harrier , Sparrowhawk and a single Swallow making an appearance.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Migrants and Godwits at Oare Marshes

Black Tailed Godwits in flight .

I paid a visit to Oare Marshes today in the hope of seeing one or two migrants , i started of looking over the East Flood and was straight onto a large number of Black Tailed Godwits in various plumage colours , from the stunning orange to the pale grey , i really love the noise they make as they chat away to each other , among the Godwits were smaller numbers of Dunlin , Avocet and Redshank plus a single Greenshank flew around the flood and seemed to head off over the swale to Sheppy.

Lovely range of colours on these Godwits.

I then drove down to the car park and instantly heard a Sedge Warbler which was in some sort of singing contest with a Cetti's Warbler ,i then headed along the sea wall towards the sea hide adding brief views of 3 Sedge Warblers plus several Bearded Tits were " pinging " their way through the reeds giving only glimpses and not posing for my camera .

One of approx 5 Sedge Warblers seen today.

The wind was quite chilly along the sea wall so i headed off down Faversham creek hearing plenty but not seeing a great deal , i had a small flock of about 5 Med Gulls fly over head heading towards Faversham plus 2 or 3 Reed Buntings put in an appearance , i then headed back behind the East flood hide and heard and saw very briefly a Lesser Whitethroat which was new for the year for me , when i reached the road i saw another first for the year for me in the form of a Swallow which landed on the telegraph wire and gave itself up to my camera.

My first Swallow of the year.

This bird was then joined by a second Swallow who then played chase with each other over the flood , i made my way back along the road to my car taking in this stunning Little Egret which was have a great time fishing.

Little Egret.

 A really enjoyable birding session with some Migrants and Godwits for company.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Just a Bit of Fun Quiz Week 37 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Collared Pratincole

Last weeks " Mystery Bird " was indeed a Collared Pratincole which i saw at Immingham in Humberside in 2011 . 

A very big well done to all correct entries who were : Ellis L , Ben M ,  Mark Lewis , Mike.H. , Dave Dowell and Martyn Wilson .

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer , great try and many thanks to everyone for taking part . Here is this weeks "Mystery Bird " .

Week 38  " Mystery Bird " ??????

If you fancy a go just leave your answer in the comments or DM me on twitter @RobsBirding and i will reveal the correct entries and answer next weekend , Good luck.

Saturday 5 April 2014

Just a Bit of Fun Quiz Week 36 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Week 36 "Mystery Bird " is a Turnstone.

Indeed week 36 " Mystery bird " was  a Turnstone which i saw in Devon the end of last year , well done to all the correct entries who were : Ellis L ,  Ben M , Matthew B , Steve Ashton , Martyn Wilson , Mark Lewis  and Mike.H.

Here is this weeks " Mystery bird " :

Week 37 " Mystery Bird " ??????????

If you fancy ago just leave your answer in the comments or DM on twitter @RobsBirding , good luck and many thanks for having ago .

Thursday 3 April 2014

Dungeness & Scotney

Long Tailed Duck at Scotney.

I spent a pleasant couple of hours down Dungeness and Scotney yesterday 2nd April to see what was around and principally try and see the  wintering Long Tailed Duck which has been seen on and off at Scotney this winter , having tried on 2 previous occasions and failed both times i was pleased to finally connect with it this time , it was on the first pit before the main Scotney pit coming from Lydd ( Thanks for directions Neil ) .

The Long Tailed Duck was asleep on the bank the whole time i was there and was a very welcome addition to my year list . From here i headed of to the sea and it was very quite with the only bird of note being a single Sandwich Tern which was a year tick , on the way back to my car i heard and then saw a Black Redstart on the power station wall and this was my 3rd year tick of the day.

Black Redstart in full voice.

Black Redstart at Dungeness.

A quick look from the Dennis hide didn't produce much other than the usual wildfowl but otherwise once again was very quite and there were to many spiders in the hide for my liking , i did see what i can only presume was a Common Lizard  run underneath the hide as i was leaving , to quick for a photo sadly .

Reed Bunting and Tree Sparrow.

On the way out of the reserve i saw 2 Marsh Harriers drifting over the surrounding fields and on the feeders there were the usual Tree Sparrows and a really smart male Reed Bunting.