Wednesday 28 January 2015

Bossenden Wood & Brief visit to Oare

Blue Tit.

I met up with Chidders at Bossenden Wood yesterday afternoon the 27th January for a session photographing woodland birds , Chidders showed me what settings to use on my camera which i really appreciate , thanks Chiddy .

Coal Tit showing it's white crown & nape stripe.

Coal Tit.

There were lots of Tit species as you would expect mainly Blue & Great Tits but also at least 2 Coal Tits put in an appearance.

One of many Great Tits.

There was also male & female Chaffinch a single Robin and a single Treecreeper which was seen on a few occasions and i was very lucky to get a photo of as Chiddy couldn't see it from his position.



However the star of the show was a stunning Nuthatch which came into feed and showed very well, here is a small selection of photo's i took.


A really enjoyable session and thanks again for your help with camera settings Chiddy , from here we made a quick visit to Oare and birds of note were : Barn Owl , Kingfisher , Marsh Harrier and really good numbers of Pintail.

Male & Female Pintail's.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Night Heron .... Nickoll's Quarry

Juvenile Night Heron.

I gave into temptation yesterday the 23rd January and went to Nickoll's quarry in Hythe to have a look at the Juvenile Night Heron that had first been reported early January , i was a bit concerned about going there as other birders had en counted a very aggressive bailiff who has been patrolling the site as parts of it are private areas .

Apparently  he has even threatened some birders with a gun !!!   However i never encounted this guy and had no problems at all , i parked near the Solway garden centre along Burmarsh road and walked south down the public foot path  and crossed the railway crossing , walked right about 50 meters and viewed the bird from the green trailer .

Obscured Night Heron.

The Night Heron was mostly obscured looking through the branches of it's favoured tree but decent views all the same .

Lovely markings on this bird.

I didn't see much else from here so headed of to check out the Purple Sandpipers along Western Parade but couldn't find any , however i got a close view of this Carrion Crow .

Carrion Crow.

There is also a new video of the Night Heron on my YouTube channel , the link is on the top right of my blog.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Winters Day Birding .....On Sheppey

Little Egret.

On Tuesday 20th January i decided to have a winters day birding trip to the Isle of Sheppey , i had quite a few target species in mind especially Grey geese and raptors , i drove through some light snow flurries on my way to Sheppey and finally ended up at Capel Fleet which in my opinion is one of the best sites in Kent for Raptors .

I parked up at the top of the hill and located hundreds of grey geese in the distance , 200+ White Fronted Geese  were busily feeding in the fields and were keeping company with 300+ Greylag Geese , despite my best efforts and nearly an hour of scanning  i could not pick out any Bean Geese , they were just to distant .

Marsh Harrier.

There were lots of Marsh Harriers and i saw a single Peregrine fly over head being mobbed by a Kestrel which was quite spectacular to see , i then headed down to the Raptor watch point and saw a male Merlin perched on a very distant fence post plus several more Marsh Harriers , 2 Common Buzzards and up to 5 Kestrels , there was a supporting cast of Little Egret , 2 Green Sandpipers , Water Rail and pinging Bearded Tits.

Sanderling running along the tide line.

After another hour standing in the cold i headed of to Leysdown for a warm up in my car and to check for waders and Gulls , i saw several Sanderling & Turnstones plus Redshank , Curlew & Oystercatchers .

Turnstone & Sanderling in flight.

On my way back out of Leysdown i checked out a small gull roost on the playing field and was rewarded with an adult winter Med Gull among the Black Headed & Common Gulls.

Adult winter Med Gull.

We have take off.

I decided to head back to Capel Fleet in the hope of seeing Owls as it was now late afternoon , as i drove down the hill at Capel i could see that the grey geese had moved a bit closer but still quite distant so i decided to have another go at trying to locate the Tundra Bean Geese , i spent another 30 mins scanning the flock and was about to give up on my quest when a couple of cows which were standing in front of part of the geese flock decided to move off and i had one more scan and there they were 2 Tundra Bean Geese .

Tundra Bean Goose in front of the Greylag Goose.

Both Tundra Bean Geese.

I was really pleased to see these as i never saw any last year , smaller than Greylag Geese , dark headed with quite thick necks and only a small amount of orange on a dark bill are the main id features.

As i sat in my car feeling very pleased and having another warm i could hear a little Wren singing its heart out on a post .

Braving the cold , Wren.

I then headed to the Raptor watch point again and after about an hour i was rewarded with both Short Eared Owl & Barn Owl which was the cherry on top of a really enjoyable Winters day birding on Sheppey.

Barn Owl.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Chilham & Oare Birding

Great Grey Shrike at Chilham.

I was debating whether to drive to Nicholls Quarry for the Night Heron or stay more local , i didn't fancy the hassle or walk for the Heron so opted to try and see the Great Grey Shrike at Chilham which i saw quite well although it was a bit flighty today , however i did manage a couple of photos of it perched on the wires .

Great Grey Shrike 

I also added Song Thrush and Green Woodpecker here which were also new birds for the year for me.

I then called into Oare Marshes for the first time this year and pulled up in the " Pull in " it was fairly quite looking out over the East Flood , lots of Tufted Ducks , Shoveler , Teal and Pintail.

Male Pintail.

Male & Female Pintails.

Close male Teal .

I parked up and had a walk  along the sea wall and added several wader species , Dunlin , Curlew and Redshank in good numbers plus 200+ Avocets were busy feeding and flying up and down the Swale , i only saw  singles of Grey Plover & Oystercatcher plus a couple of Turnstones , however i did add 2 Rock Pipits to my year list.

Friday 16 January 2015

New YouTube Channel

Steppe Grey Shrike in Norfolk 2014.

I have created a YouTube Channel to post bird videos on , see link on  top right hand side of this blog , just click on my my name :  " Robs Birding " and a new tab should open and my bird videos should appear ( hopefully ). 

Sunday 11 January 2015

Lesser Yellowlegs revisited ... Plus Dunge & Pevensey Levels

Lesser Yellowlegs .

I headed to Pett Level on the 10th January in the hope of seeing the Lesser Yellowlegs , on arrival there was only one other car there and the Lesser Yellowlegs was nowhere to be seen , after a short while it flew in and i was  soon enjoying some very close views of this cracking wader , i have seen several over the years but this is the best views i have had of one.

Lesser Yellowlegs alongside a Dunlin.

Balancing act.

Just to prove it does have two legs.

From here i headed to Dungeness checking out the Cattle Egrets along Denge marsh road and got some decent views .

Cattle Egret.

Both Cattle Egrets together.

I went down to the fishing boats to check out the gull roosts in the hope of a Caspian Gull but despite my best efforts i could not locate any , a quick look out to sea produced a few year ticks such as : Gannet , Guillemott , Kittiwake and Fulmar.

The weather was quite awful , very strong winds and lashing rain at times so i retreated to the RSPB reserve and saw a single Great White Egret and 3 Redhead Smew , i then called into the Hanson hide and saw the Kingfisher on its favoured perch performing for the crowd .

One of two Kingfishers .

I also saw Redhead Smew and several Goldeneye from here.

Redhead Smew.

Male Goldeneye.

I called back into Pett Level where i had some more really great views of the Lesser Yellowlegs .

Lesser Yellowlegs.

And then i headed to Pevensey Level where i had decent views of two Hen Harriers which were both ringtails , there were several Stonechats which was new for the year and also a Raven which was also a new bird for the year , my main purpose here was to look for Short eared Owl however whether it was due to the strong winds i never located any , i did see a  Dartford Warbler.

Record flight shot of the Dartford Warbler.

It was then time  to head home after a cracking days birding.

Thursday 8 January 2015

Egret Central .......Dungeness

One of two Cattle Egret's .

I spent the day down Dungeness and Pett Level area yesterday the 7th January , i started of checking out the Swan herd on Walland marsh and counted 70+ Bewick Swans and a single Whooper Swan plus a lone Greylag Goose was keeping them company plus flyover Sparrowhawk & Marsh Harrier were great to see.

From here i went to Egret Central and had close views of the two Cattle Egrets along Denge marsh road.

Cattle Egret along Denge marsh road.

These are really confiding birds and look very settled in the cow field they have made their home , i then checked Scotney and saw 3 distant Black Necked Grebes , i bumped into another birder who informed me the Lesser Yellowlegs was showing at Pett Level so of i set , i pulled up along the road , and saw the Lesser Yellowlegs in my bin's and just as i was about to try and get a photo the bird took to flight flew around above me calling then flew high and out of sight towards Rye , other birders told me it often does this but always returns , 1 hour later still no further sign .

Very close Turnstone.

Other birds in this area included 5 Ruff , 8 Dunlin , 300+ Lapwing and 5 Turnstone including 1 very close bird , wildfowl were well represented with good numbers of Wigeon , Teal , Mallard and Shoveler.

I headed back to Dungeness via Scotney where i managed to locate the 1st winter male Scaup and then i called into the RSPB reserve where i had a distant view of a Redhead Smew plus Great White & Little Egret.

Great White Egret.

Great White & Little Egret size comparison.

With time getting on i paid one last visit to the Hanson hide over looking the ARC pits and was rewarded with cracking views of a Kingfisher which was feeding right in front of the hide.

Kingfisher with one of many fish caught.

I really enjoyed watching this master fisherman catching fish and was a real high point of my day , i also saw another Great White Egret here plus a Bittern was seen walking through the reed bed the other side of the pit .

Male Goldeneye.

There were 3 female and 1 male Goldeneye from this hide as well , and that concludes a very good days birding .