Friday 29 January 2016

Brief Visit to Oare Marshes

Male Pintail.

I paid a brief visit to Oare Marshes last Saturday the 23rd January in the hope of seeing the drake Scaup  (a species i don't see to many of during the course of a year) , i parked in the car park and walked back to view the East flood and instantly saw several Pintail and as it was high tide there were lots of waders on the flood including good numbers of Black Tailed Godwit , Dunlin , Avocet & Grey Plover.

Drake Scaup.

I had a quick scan over the flood and found the drake Scaup at the back of the flood more or less straight away , it was keeping company with a small amount of Tufted Ducks ,although it was awake when i first located it the Scaup soon went to sleep!!!

Sleeping Scaup.

I then proceeded to check through the waders and located the winter plumage Little Stint which was busy wading through the Dunlin .

Little Stint photo taken November 2015.

I also saw two Peregrines on one of  the pylon's near Faversham creek , i had a quick look over the Swale where there were plenty of Avocets & Grey Plovers on the river bank on the Sheppy side of the Swale plus i could see a distant Marsh Harrier hunting over the fields on Sheppy , there were plenty of Dark Bellied Brent Geese on the Swale including a very close bird.

Dark Bellied Brent Goose.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Gulls steal the show at Dungeness

Female & Male Goldeneye.

I paid two visits to Dungeness over the last week , my 1st trip was on Saturday 16th Jan , and i started off checking the geese at Scotney hoping to see the Tundra Bean Goose but sadly i once again failed to see it , then i called into Dungeness reserve and added plenty of Goldeneye with a few male birds displaying to the females , i then walked around to the viewing ramp at Hookers in an attempt to see the Penduline Tits however this drew another blank , i bumped into Neil  and he informed me of a Slavonian Grebe that had been seen that morning in one of the back pit's.

Slavonian Grebe at Hookers.

I headed off and saw the Slavonian Grebe plus 4 or 5 Bearded Tits flew past me on my walk , i returned to the viewing ramp just in time to see a Bittern fly up from the reeds plus a Great White Egret was nearby.

Great White Egret coming into land.

I eventually headed to the sea front and more or less straight away saw the 1st winter Caspian Gull near the fishing boats. Here are a selection of photo's i took.

1st winter Caspian Gull.

Dark tail band & long winged.

White under wing.

Long legged & white head.

Bold breasted & anchor markings on mantle.

Really great views of this bird which seems to favor the area by the fishing hut along Dungeness road. I then headed back to the Rspb reserve and saw two Long Eared Owls roosting behind the dipping pond by the visitor centre.

19th January 

1st winter Glaucous Gull.

My main purpose of this trip on the 19th was to see the 1st winter Glaucous Gull that i missed on the Saturday , it took me the best part of the day to finally catch up with it though.

Taking off.

Huge bird .

1st winter Glaucous Gull

There were 1000's of gulls out with the fishing boats with plenty of Cormorants & Great Crested Grebes on the sea , i also saw several Razorbills on the sea plus 3 Red Throated Divers flew past , oh and the 1st winter Caspian Gull was also on the beach near the fishing boats.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Mourning Dove on Shetland

Mourning Dove at Lerwick on Shetland.

On Saturday the 9th January i  headed to Shetland to try and see the Mourning Dove. 

Tail is very pointed.

I arrived on site and explored the likely areas the Dove has been but without success , however there were plenty of  Collared Doves around so i was fairly confident it would still be here.

Very small compared to Collared Doves.

Eventually some other birders turned up with one of the local birders who had permission to access the favoured garden through the owners garage , i was duly invited to join them and there it was coming down to feed and also perching out in the open , Mourning Dove in the bag.

All fluffed up.

Black spotting & blue eye ring.

Size comparison next to a Starling.

                                                                       Having a good feed.

Mourning Dove.

A really enjoyable birding adventure .

Friday 8 January 2016

Day Trip to Norfolk

Record shot of the male Golden Pheasant at Wolferton.

  On Wednesday morning the 6th Jan at 5am i headed to Norfolk with a few target birds in mind , first stop was at Wolferton Triangle near Kings Lynn and my target bird here was the often elusive Golden Pheasant , i arrived at about 8am and after several drive rounds the triangle without success i decided to just wait and see on the North side as this seems to be the favoured side for sightings , my patience paid of when the Golden Pheasant walked out from the undergrowth onto the road briefly in full view before heading back in and out of sight.

Great start to the day with my first target bird in the note book , my next destination was Flitcham for the Pallid Harrier , however on route i saw several Grey Partridge and a very close  Barn Owl.

Barn Owl 

I arrived at Flitcham and joined the  assembled birders already there who very kindly informed me of a Merlin perched in a distant tree , awesome bird to see , the news was negative as regards the Pallid Harrier , it was seen at approx 8am but not since , i decided to give it a bit of time as there were other birds to look at including Yellowhammer , a fly over Brambling , Stock Dove and a Common Buzzard .

In the meantime i was scanning over another field when i noticed all of the Wood Pigeons got spooked and then all of a sudden the Pallid Harrier appeared over the hedge in full view, i quickly called out to everyone , the Pallid Harrier did a circuit around the field affording everyone great views before it once again flew off into the distance.

Juvenile Pallid Harrier.

So that's two sites visited and two target birds seen , my next destination was Choseley and my target bird here was Rough Legged Buzzard , i had a scan over the fields and hedges but without success , a few Yellowhammers , Linnets & Pied Wagtails were nice to see and news came through via the pager that a RLB had been seen near from where i was standing approx half an hour ago , another birder seemed to know where it was so i joined him in the search and sure enough we were all soon looking at a distant Rough Legged Buzzard perched on top of a tree , decent scope views were obtained especially as it was preening it's tail.

Record shot of Rough Legged Buzzard.

Digi scoped photo of Rough Legged Buzzard.

The RLB flew from one tree to another giving good flight views , i decided to head to Thornham and hopefully connect with some Twite and sure enough i saw a flock of 25+ birds near the car park.

Some of the Twite flock.

My final destination of the day was at Lynford Arboretum where i added several birds to my year list including Marsh & Coal Tits , Treecreeper & Goldcrest i missed out on Hawfinch (again) but did hear a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker , a really great days birding.

Monday 4 January 2016

New Year Birding ......... Dungeness & Pett Level

Glossy Ibis at Pett Level.

I started the New Year off on the 1st at Pett Level then headed to Dungeness , i saw the often elusive Glossy Ibis more or less straight away , lots of waders were also present , mostly Curlew , Lapwing , Redshank and 2 Ruff.

I then headed to Dungeness sea front and after awhile  i managed to see a 1st winter Caspian Gull & an adult Yellow Legged Gull both from the road , my next stop was Dungeness Rspb reserve where i saw the wintering Long Eared Owl.

Long Eared Owl roosting.

Digi scoped photo of Long Eared Owl.

There were lots of wildfowl on the reserve , mainly Shoveler , Wigeon , Gadwall , Pochard & a several Goldeneye & a single redhead Smew.

There were lots of Tree Sparrows around by the feeders near the entrance of the reserve.

Tree Sparrow near the feeders.

I made my final stop at Scotney and had decent views of a Black Necked Grebe plus good numbers of Greylag Geese however despite searching i couldn't locate the Tundra Bean Goose.

Black Necked Grebe at Scotney.