Saturday 23 April 2016

200th Thanet Bird ......... Iberian Chiffchaff in Margate

Iberian Chiffchaff at Northdown Park.

News broke of a Iberian Chiffchaff at Northdown Park in Margate this morning the 23rd April 
I couldn't get down there until after 11am , i parked up near the Library and made my way over towards the football pitch , but wasn't entirely sure where to look ??

 As i made my way over to the area i could hear the Iberian Chiffchaff calling i then saw another birder , David Mairs , good to meet you.

Partially hidden behind leafs.

The Iberian Chiffchaff was in full voice and started to show really well , this is the 200th different bird species i have seen in the Thanet area so as you can imagine i was very pleased to see it .

Iberian Chiffchaff.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Lady Amherst's Pheasant ......... At Lidlington

Male Lady Amherts's Pheasant.

I hadn't seen Lady Ameherst's Pheasant since the late eighties in North Wales and more or less thought i would never see one again til news last year broke of the sole surviving bird at Lidlington became public knowledge , i  went several times without success , only hearing the bird on every occasion.

Fantastic long tail.

So this year when news that the Lady A had survived another winter i once again tried my luck   on Monday the 18th April for another attempt at seeing this elusive bird , same result as last year sadly , just heard it calling , ok this is becoming a real challenge !!!! 

Strutting it's stuff.

I once again tried one final time and went on Wednesday 20th April .

I arrived at 7.30am and instantly heard it calling as i walked through the cemetery , it was seen the day before from the lower ride and not entirely sure exactly where this was i deducted it must of been from the more open area before the main woodland.

Anyhow i waited here in the hope of being successful and was joined by other birders who came & went as the morning went on until finally there were 5 of us waiting patiently and then the shout went up at 10.15am  " There it is " , fantastic the male Lady Amherst's Pheasant was standing in all it's glory in the middle of the path and my patience and perseverance eventually had paid off .

Lady Amherst's Pheasant.

I also saw Red Kite , Common Buzzard , Kestrel & Sparrowhawk from this view point plus i heard and saw plenty of warblers such as Common & Lesser Whitethroat , Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff & Blackcap.


Red Kite


Saturday 16 April 2016

Dungeness in the Rain

Summer plumage Black Necked Grebe.

I met up again with Richard yesterday the 15th April and we headed to Dungeness , last time we were out it was glorious sunshine however today it was overcast & raining.

We headed straight down to the Dungeness sea front and checked the Old lighthouse garden and surrounding gorse bushes for any migrants without success apart from a single Goldcrest calling from deep inside the gorse bushes .

We then decided to have a look at the sea to see if there was any movement , a single  Arctic Skua plus several Sandwich & Common Terns which were new birds for the year for me , 2 Common Scoter , 3 Red throated Divers and several Dark Bellied Brent Geese were pretty much it .

From here we had a look around the Long pits and added Common Whitethroat to the year list plus heard both Blackcap & Chiffchaff.

Black Necked Grebe.

We decided to have a look on the Rspb reserve from the hides as the rain just kept on coming down , really great views of a summer plumage Black necked Grebe was an obvious highlight , it was also calling  which was great to hear,  really stunning plumage on this bird .

Black necked Grebe calling.

I also saw  several Sand & House Martins quite high up which were also new birds for my year list , there were at least two 2nd summer Med Gulls flying around Burrows pit which were very nice to see.

2nd summer Med Gull.

It was then decided to try and see the summer plumage Slavonian Grebes which were on new Diggings and mainly viewed from the road which is never easy or very safe along that stretch of the road , however we parked out of the way and luckily the Slavonian Grebes were fairly close in , the weather was awful , raining & overcast but i did manage some photos.

Summer plumage Slavonian Grebe.

Having a preen.

Both birds together.

Really enjoyable birding session despite the rain.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Oare Marshes in the Sunshine

Cetti's Warbler in the paddocks.

I called into Oare yesterday morning the 12th April in the hope of seeing some migrants and the Glossy Ibis which was seen the day before on the West flood.

  i did a scan of the East flood and then made my way towards the paddocks , i heard a Nightingale but couldn't locate it then my attention was drawn to 2 Cetti's Warblers which were very active and one bird in particular was singing out in the open.

Cetti's Warbler.

I  then saw a male Blackcap make a brief appearance .

On route to the sea wall i heard then saw a Sedge Warbler which was my first of the year, several more were heard and seen during the morning.

Sedge Warbler.

I eventually made it to the sea wall and as i was walking along the Glossy Ibis quickly dropped into the flood after being spooked by a Marsh Harrier , it took only a short while for me to locate it walking around the back of the flood however the views were distant and brief so sadly i never managed any photos.

Glossy Ibis at Stodmarsh in 2013.

I spent a good deal of time here but the Glossy Ibis had walked out of sight behind the tall reeds (although it was seen several times later on) , i headed back to the car to go visit another site but not before i was treated to some great views of Bearded Tits near the car park.

Bearded Tit.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

GYR on North Uist

Summer plumage Black Guillemot.

I met up with friends  last Friday night at 10.30pm the 1st April and we then set of on a 13 hour drive to Uig in Scotland .

We heard positive news on Saturday morning at approx 9am that our target bird the Gyr  was still present on North Uist however the earliest ferry across was not until 2pm !!!!

We arrived at the ferry port at Uig in good time and spent sometime checking the area for birds whilst waiting for the ferry , Black Guillemot , Eider & Razorbill showing well from the harbour wall .

Black Guillemot with a crab.

Back at the cars we were chatting with another couple of birders when someone picked out a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a couple of Common Buzzards over the hills .

Time was ticking on and we were all getting anxious about if the Gyr would still be present , we would not get to North Uist until 4pm as the ferry takes 1 hour 45 mins which would give us about 3 hours of day light to see it and there had been no further news since 9am this morning !!!

The ferry back off was at 11am Sunday morning however we did have the option of staying Sunday night if we were not successful , so everything was crossed it would still be there.

GYR at Loch na Reivil.

We eventually reached Lochmaddy port on North Uist and were on our way to Loch na Reivil , after a slight bit of confusion on exactly where the Loch was and  scaring the life out of the locals driving like Lewis Hamilton !!! we eventually reached Loch na Reivil and we were soon watching the Gyr on the fence post .

Wow , wow, wow what a bird , words can't really describe how i felt seeing this magnificent falcon , i have seen plenty of rarer birds in my birding career but this whole experience tops the lot , as you can imagine i took lot's of photos and here are a selected few .

Gyr Falcon.

A truly sensational iconic bird , we watched the Gyr feeding on a Greylag Goose carcass at very close range using the car as a hide , it then flew back to it's favoured post and preened for quite sometime , having watched for over two hours we decided to move on and check out nearby rspb reserve Balranald , we had distant views of the Great White Egret & Whooper Swan plus lots of Barnacle Geese , we also checked out the beach and saw the 1st winter Glaucous Gull which was also distant.

Record shot of the Glaucous Gull.

We then had one more look at the Gyr which was still perched on the fence post and as the light was fading we headed back to our B&B , a celebratory pint at the pub was most welcome although a hot meal would have been better (we missed last food call by 5 mins) never mind : GYR !!!

Sunday morning soon came around and we had enough time to check out Loch na Reivil again but there was no sign of the Gyr this morning however the weather had closed in with torrential rain and quite windy , so we explored some of the island making our way back to Lochmaddy to catch the 11am ferry , we saw a stunning male Hen Harrier , 2 Corn Buntings and back at the harbour we saw a cracking Otter swimming and feeding very well. Other birds of note over the weekend were several Great Northern & Red Throated Divers, Twite plus a White Tailed Eagle.

Great Northern Diver

Otter at Lochmaddy.

The ferry arrived at Lochmaddy and the journey back Uig was pretty uneventful , a hearty breakfast was very well received and the long journey home was ahead of us.