Thursday 28 August 2014

Cracking Days Birding at Dungeness

Red Necked Phalarope.

I decided a day trip to Dungeness was in order today in the hope of catching up with some of the star birds that had been reported there yesterday , my first port of call was the screen hide over looking the ARC pit and my target birds there were Red Necked Phalarope & Little Stint , i bumped into Andy there and he kindly put me onto the RNP which although was slightly distant great views through the scope were obtained and i managed a couple of digi scope pics .

Another Digi scoped pic of the RNP.

I could see some golden / yellow "braces " on the mantle of this delightful wader , it never came any closer which was a shame but i enjoyed watching it all the same , news broke that yesterdays Melodious Warbler was still present which was a bit of a surprise , however Andy and myself along with some other birders decided to check out the pines a bit further around from the screen hide for any possible migrants and we did see at least 20 Yellow Wagtails along the railway track but that was it , on our way back to the cars another birder had located the Little Stint in its fine juv plumage.

Red Necked Phalarope alongside a Coot.

My next destination was Denge marsh gully and hopefully catch up with the Melodious Warbler and after about 15 mins wait we were all enjoying brief views at first and then some prolonged views of this cracking warbler , here are a selection of pics i took .

Eating a fly.

Melodious Warbler .

I watched this bird for a good hour + and had some fantastic views , this is the 2nd Melodious Warbler  i have seen in the UK and both have been at Dungeness.

A quick  loo stop and cup of coffee ( thanks Andy ) back at the visitor center where i parted ways with Andy and decided to have a quick look at Galloways on my way back and added 5 Wheatears and 1 Whinchat to my days total , i was unsure where to go next so decided to have a look down at the " Patch " where i added 2 Arctic Terns among a large number of Common Terns , a look out to see produce 2 pale phase and 1 dark phase Arctic Skuas plus large numbers of " Commic Terns " moving west .

Time was getting on and i had just enough time to check the gorse bushes around the cafe area and beyond where i saw 2 Common Whitethroats , 2 Willow Warblers , Peregrine , Green Woodpecker , 2 Black Redstarts and a very pleasing Pied Flycather then it was time to head home very happy.

Friday 22 August 2014

Brief visit to Oare

Large mixed flock of waders.

I only had time for a brief visit to Oare Marshes this morning and as usual the East Flood was where i spent my time checking through the large gathering of waders roosting at high tide , the largest species represented was 1500 + Black Tailed Godwits which is always a very impressive sight especially when they are spooked by a passing raptor .

Ruff among the Lapwings.

There was a Ruff close to the pull in among several Lapwing and i counted at least 10 Common Snipe either feeding or flying around the flood .

Dunlin in flight.

There wasn't many small waders on the flood although Dunlin and Golden Plover were well represented plus there were 2 Knot among the Black Tailed Godwits.

Knot in flight with Dunlin .

There were a few Sand Martins ,Swallows and a single Common Swift over the flood plus i saw 2 Sandwich Tern east of the slip way .

Dunlins coming into land .

Sunday 17 August 2014

High Tide at Oare Marshes

Female Marsh Harrier.

I met up with Chidders at Oare Marshes yesterday afternoon the 16th August for high tide in the hope the Terek Sandpiper that was at Swalecliffe earlier in the day might have relocated when it had flown off west at approx 12.30pm , but alas we never re found it.

I had great views of a female Marsh Harrier along the access road on my way into Oare , i eventually meet up with Chidders by the pull in and we scanned the mass of waders that were roosting on the East Flood.

Female Marsh Harrier.

Mixed flock of waders including Sanderling.

There the usual high numbers of Black Tailed Godwit , Avocet and Redshank , plus smaller numbers of Golden Plover , Dunlin , Lapwing  and Ruff .

We also added single Sanderling and Greenshank , There was quite a large amount of Sand Martins feeding over the flood with the odd Swallow mixed in , i had a scan around for the Bonapartes Gull without success although it was seen earlier in the day . We had a few Yellow Wagtails fly over plus i had a close view of one earlier when i was walking towards the flood from my car.

Close Yellow Wagtail.

We decided to walk around the flood behind the hide towards the sluice and although there was a small selection of waders there we didn't add anything new , however a close young Water Rail feeding along the reed edge was a pleasant surprise , after a while we headed back to the cars and said our goodbyes and then all of a sudden all the birds took to the air from the flood as a Common Buzzard drifted over head and spooking everything .

Ruff and a Lapwing having a preen.

Spooked Golden Plover.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Local Twitch at Swalecliffe

Record shot of the Terek Sandpiper.

I was just getting my birding gear together to pop over to Oare Marshes when i got a phone call  informing me that a TEREK SANDPIPER had been found at Swalecliffe which is only about 10 mins from where i live , so without haste i headed there and met up with Chidders & Martyn Wilson along side other local Kent birders and enjoyed distant but great scope views of this cracking wader.

Terek Sandpiper having a rest.

You could clearly see the slightly upturned bill and the dark stripe on the coverts , the orange-yellow legs were quite noticeable to.

I have been lucky enough to have now seen Terek Sandpipers and 2 of them have been seen in Kent , the last one being on Sheppy in 1998. 

Another record shot .

Monday 4 August 2014

European Bee-eaters & Stilt's now Breeding in the UK

European Bee-eater on Isle of Wight.

On Saturday the 2nd August my  destination was the Isle of Wight to try and see the recently revealed breeding Bee-eaters , i got an early ferry from Portsmouth and reached my destination near Niton at approx 7.30am , i set up my scope near the viewing area the Natural trust / RSPB  had set up to restrict any disturbance to the birds and sure enough after approx 20 mins  the first  Bee-eater made an appearance .

1 of 3 Bee-eaters seen.

These are really stunning birds to see and was a very welcome year tick , i never tire of seeing these delightful birds . they were  actively  catching bee's & dragonfly's , i saw 3 adult birds together at one point although there were 4 birds seen together later in the day.

Tasty looking dragonfly.

The weather become overcast and then it started to rain and the Bee-eaters had departed to get some shelter so i headed off to try and see some Red Squirrels at Alverstone Mead reserve  , what a great reserve it was to , on my walk to the hide i saw a very close Common Buzzard.

Common Buzzard

Having a preen.

I also heard Spotted Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warbler before i reached the hide and then it was Red Squirrel time , absolutely stunning views of these fantastic critters , they were not bothered by my presence at all and even went inside of the hide to gobble up on the food left out for them , here are just a small selection of pics.

I can see you.

Cracking Red Squirrel.

So agile.

Bushy tail.

Young one .

I really enjoyed seeing these and wanted to take one home lol , the weather cleared up and i headed back to have another look at the Bee-eaters before catching the 4 pm ferry back to Portsmouth , what a great trip and it wasn't over yet , i got back in good time and called into Siddlesham Ferry to try and see the family of Black Winged Stils that had recently breed near Pagham and was not disappointed .

One of the 3 youngsters 

Coming into land.

All 5 birds in flight.

Having a feed .

These are great birds to watch and i have been very lucky to be able to witness such a success story in two very rare breeding birds in the UK .

I had a quick look around Church Norten and added several Whimbrel and a couple of Med Gulls to my trip list.