Sunday 23 November 2014

Green-Winged Teal at Grove Ferry

Green Winged Teal from the Ramp.

A really wet and dull day was brightened up by the news of a partial eclipse Green Winged Teal showing from the ramp at Grove ferry this morning , a really great find by Martyn Wilson and many thanks for the info from both  Chiddy and Martyn , 

Prominent white crescent on flanks.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos which were all digi scoped , the light conditions and rain are my excuse and i am sticking to it lol .

Lacks most of yellow stripe on head.

The face pattern is quite different to normal Teal in the fact it lacks most of the yellow stripes on the side of its head.

Bold white crescent.

Alongside normal Teal for comparison.

Other birds of note were several Bearded Tits , a couple of Cetti's Warblers calling but remaining unseen , approx 200 Teal and a similar number of Lapwings were in attendance , plus 2 Common Snipe flew over high calling .

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Great Grey Shrike .......Finally at Chilham

Great Grey Shrike at Chilham.

I popped over to Chilham in Kent yesterday in the hope of seeing the Great Grey Shrike and to keep along story short after spending 3 hours dodging heavy rain showers and hunters carrying large shot guns i drew a blank , although it was good to meet up with some Kent birders .

Digi scoped photo of the GGS.

So today i tried my luck by getting to the site by 9.30 am and saw the GGS straight away as i made my way to the little bridge which is probably the best place to see the bird , what a difference a day makes , really pleased to connect with this bird , i have been lucky enough to have seen 3 of these this year but this one was by far the closest one out of the 3.

On telegraph wire.

Spreading its wings.

The above photo is not the best but wanted to show it's large white wing patches , the GGS perched up in a berry bush for awhile.

Distant pic of the GGS in berry bush.

A really cracking bird to see and if it over winters on this site i can see me having one or two more visits.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Raptors & Wood Mice on Sheppey

Female Marsh Harrier.

I made a trip to Capel Fleet on the Isle of Sheppey this afternoon , the weather was very overcast with some pretty heavy showers , i had hoped to connect with some raptors on this superb site for birds of prey , i stopped along the road on a couple of occasions and counted up to 15 Marsh Harriers either perched on posts or quartering over the fields .

There was a large number of Geese in a distant field which mainly consisted of Greylag & Canada Geese however further back in the main flock i counted at least 48 Pink Footed Geese grazing which is probably the largest amount i have seen in Kent.

I then carried onto the Raptor watch point mound and set up my scope in anticipation of what might turn up and was soon rewarded with a fairly close Ringtail Hen Harrier which was one of my target birds , i was joined by a few more birders on the mound and as we were waiting for other raptors to appear a very small Mouse started to run around us even sitting underneath someone's tripod.

Wood Mouse.

Having a chew on someone's shoe.

Wood Mouse.

Thanks to my friends on twitter the mouse has been identified as a Wood Mouse , really cute mouse lol .

As the afternoon light faded i did pick out a Barn Owl which briefly landed in a nearby tree and i was also lucky enough to pick out a single Short Eared Owl which was another target bird , other birds of note were : Corn Bunting , Water Rail ( Heard ) , 25+ Marsh Harriers and 5 + Common Snipe.

Monday 10 November 2014

Waldo & Franky in Hampshire

Waldo the returning Ring Billed Gull.

On the   9th November my destination was Blashford lake for another look at the Franklin's Gull which has been coming into roost there , however first i went via Gosport for the  returning Ring Billed Gull which has been given the nickname of  " Waldo " , this is the 13th winter it has returned to this area , heaven knows where it goes in the summer ??


Flying off with his prize.

Small " mirrors  on primaries.

Coming into land.

From here i headed off to Ibsley lake , Blashford and duly found a decent place in the hide to view the gulls when they come into roost , this bird is still drawing in the birders as it didn't take long for the hide to fill up , whilst i waited i had plenty to keep me occupied , 2 Black Necked Grebes , male and female Goldeneye , Kingfisher , Yellow Legged Gull plus several Egyptian Geese.

Four Egyptian Geese.

And at 4.22 pm exactly the Franklin's Gull was picked out right at the back of the gull roost , the light wasn't to bad and it was on view for a good 15 mins until the light faded quite rapidly , the gulls all took flight and the Franklin's was lost to view .

Franklin's Gull. 

Smart looking gull.

Great days birding with a couple a year ticks as a bonus. 

Saturday 8 November 2014

Another Day Another Trip to Reculver


As the title says , another day another trip to Reculver and my main aim this morning was to see the Shorelark that was there yesterday , i walked along the sea wall and saw the Desert Wheatear displaying to his audience and i noticed one or two familiar faces among the crowd , i carried on and joined up with a couple more birders , as we were walking we were checking every bird mostly Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails , we also saw a Northern Wheatear briefly as it flew along the beach .

Superb plumage on this bird.

As we continued our trek the Shorelark flew over us calling and then landed more or less right in front of us , wow great bird in superb plumage , i managed some photos as this cracking bird put on a show for us.

Feeding well.

Black edging to yellow supercillium.

Shorelark .

Great watching this bird go about it's business and nice to bump into some familiar faces along the sea wall , i had another look at the Desert Wheatear on my way back .

Desert Wheatear.

There were lots of Goldfinch moving along the beach plus at least 2 Stonechats and the usual Dark Bellied Brent Geese grazing in the fields 

Thursday 6 November 2014

Desert Wheatear & " Flying Lemon " at Reculver

Desert Wheatear on sea wall.

News of a Desert Wheatear being found along the sea wall 200m from the Towers at Reculver had me grabbing my birding gear and heading straight over there , a quick walk along the sea wall and there it was in all it's glory , a cracking looking Desert Wheatear  , this is my 2nd one i have been lucky enough to have seen  in Kent and both have been at Reculver.

Lovely colours on this bird.

Black legs.

Black throat patch.

Black Tail with buff coloured rump.

Desert Wheatear.

The Desert Wheatear showed very well along the sea wall however it was often flushed by either bike riders or Dog walkers , it flew inland a few times before finally settling on the rocks the seaward side of the path. Other birds of note were a single Black Redstart by the Oyster farm plus a single Pale Bellied Brent Goose among approx 400 Dark Bellied Brent Geese .

I spent a couple of hours at Reculver then headed home and whilst sorting through my photos news of a Little Auk on the sea by Reculver Towers had my setting off back there to try and see the " Flying Lemon " ,  ( if you don't know that is what Little Auks are nicknamed as looking like in flight ) .

Little Auk .

Digi-scoped Little Auk.

Great scope views of the Little Auk were obtained and a cracking bird to add onto both my Year and Reculver list.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Another session with the Lapland Bunting ...Plus Purple Sandpiper

Lapland Bunting at Swalecliffe.

I decided to pop over to Swalecliffe again this morning to have another look at the Adult winter Lapland Bunting as the weather was much brighter then last Sunday , here are a selection of photo's i took this morning.

The Lapland Bunting was still near the wooden bridge when i first arrived and then after being flushed by a dog flew towards the start of the grass path and proceeded to show very well in glorious sunshine .

After enjoying great views of this delightful Bunting i decided to call in at Hampton Pier and try and add Purple Sandpiper to my year list, it didn't take me long to find a single Purple Sandpiper on the rocks among several Turnstones and Gulls , i took several digi scope shots and here are a small selection.

Purple Sandpiper behind a Turnstone.

Purple Sandpiper.

Having a snooze.

Monday 3 November 2014

Lapland comes to Kent ......Plus Another Quick Dash to Hampshire

Adult winter plumage Lapland Bunting .

I popped over to Swalecliffe early yesterday morning the 2nd November to see the very confiding Lapland Bunting and wow what a cracking looking bird , i think there is some debate on the age of this bird however i am pretty sure its an adult in winter plumage , the black spotting on the breast being the key id feature as i believe 1st w / juvs have streaking on the breast .

Note Black spotting on breast.

These are fantastic looking birds and i never tire of looking at them , the reddish nape and rufous  wing panel are  really stand out features , this particular bird was often flushed by dog walkers and joggers but always returned to the same area after doing a little flight call.

Reddish nape.

Rufous wing panel .

Lapland Bunting.

There were plenty of Dark Bellied Brent Geese on the tide line including some juv birds plus there were several Turnstones actively feeding by turning stones.

3 of many Turnstones.

As i made my way home i decided to try and see the Franklin's Gull that had been coming into roost at Isbley lake in Hampshire , an uneventful journey soon had me   crammed in the hide with many other birders waiting for the big event.

 I did take note of at least 3 adult Yellow Legged Gulls among the thousands of gulls and at exactly 17.02 the adult winter Franklin's Gull was picked out and thankfully i was straight onto the bird , fantastic bird to see and there was just enough light left to be able to see all the key features , this bird was my 2nd lifer of the month already.

Franklins Gull 

The Franklins Gull is in the middle at the back of the Gulls in the above photo .