Sunday 30 July 2017

Pectoral & Wood Sandpiper at Dungeness

Pectoral Sandpiper.

Yesterday the 29th July i popped into Dungeness Rspb reserve around lunch time in the hope of seeing the Pectoral Sandpiper , i went into the Dennis hide and was informed that the Pectoral Sandpiper  had just walked out of sight but was still present , i waited for approx 30 mins before it reappeared and it showed well with great scope views , however not great for photography at that range.

Breast band clearly noticeable.

Digi scoped photos .

The light was not great but at least the rain had held of for now , there was at least 2 Common Sandpipers plus 2 Dunlin briefly put in an appearance.

My other target bird was Wood Sandpiper and although it had been seen earlier this morning it had not been seen for a couple of hours , not one to give up i walked around to the Firth hide .

There were another 3 Common Sandpipers from here plus a superb Turnstone , whilst checking the islands i thought i saw the Wood Sandpiper disappear behind some foliage on one of the furthest islands , it took sometime before it re-appeared but Wood Sandpiper it was !!!

Digi-scoped record shot of  Wood Sandpiper.

Very pleased to see this bird as they are one of my favourite waders , shame it was so distant but once again it was great through the scope.

I lastly walked to the Makepeace hide adding 4 Black Tailed Godwits & 3 more Common Sandpipers to my totals , there were hundreds of low flying Sand Martins and then the rain came forcing many of them to ground on the islands.

Sand Martin.

Grounded on the islands.

A really enjoyable birding session with both target birds seen .

Thursday 20 July 2017

Little Stints at Oare Marshes

Adult Little Stint.

I made a brief visit to Oare Marshes yesterday morning the 19th July to try and see the Wood Sandpiper & Little Stints that had been reported earlier , i parked up in the pull-in and more or less saw 2 Little Stints straight away quite near the road.

4 adult Little Stints.

Whilst watching these i also saw a Garganey a little bit further out , i then had another look at the Little Stints which had been joined by two more birds , one of the new birds did look bigger and was much darker in plumage than the 3 other Little Stints.

Little Stints.

I was joined by Murray and we had a real close look at the slightly larger bird and we more or less concluded it was just a Little Stint at the extreme end of it's size range plus the slightly darker overall appearance is just a plumage variation. 

Darker bird at the back.

Slightly larger & darker overall.

Little Stint.

The Bonaparte's Gull had flown towards the creek before i got there plus the Wood Sandpiper was seen earlier that morning but had flown west , i did see 2 Turtle Doves plus large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits , Redshank & Avocets.

There was 2 Golden Plovers in summer plumage & several Ruff & 1 Reeve plus 2 Common Terns were briefly on the East flood , the water levels had risen slightly after the overnight storm but hopefully in the coming weeks it will drop and more exposed mud will appear.

Friday 14 July 2017

Marsh Sandpiper at Cliffe

Marsh Sandpiper.

Yesterday the 13th July i headed to Cliffe Pools in the hope of seeing the recently reported Marsh Sandpiper , a very slow careful drive along the Black barns track and we were soon parking up near the second mound , there were already 2 birders there and they had both seen the bird but it had flown towards the Flamingo Pool having been chased off by the Black Winged Stilts about 30 mins earlier.

Black Winged Stilt.

The Black Winged Stilts are a real success story here at Cliffe with at least 7 chicks so far surviving , great work & dedication by the Rspb and volunteers .

Now back to the Marsh Sandpiper which flew back in to view into the nearest pool in front of the mound and gave superb views through the scope , i managed some Digi scoped photos but even at that range were not that great.

Digi scoped photo of Marsh Sandpiper.

Marsh Sandpiper.

I attempted a photo with my Canon 7d mark2 .

Marsh Sandpiper taken with Canon 7d Mark 2.

I watched the Marsh Sandpiper for about 5 mins in the closest pool before it flew further back into the Black Winged Stilt pool where it settled for a preen before it was once again chased off by the Black Winged Stilts, i left there about 9am as the heat haze wasn't helping viewing at that range .

There were lots of Avocets with young here plus a i saw quite a few Bearded Tits.

Bearded Tit.

In the evening i joined a couple of birding pals and went to Church Wood and heard 1 Nightjar plus saw 2 Tawny Owls , there were a couple of Bats which were quite small presumably Pipistrelle ??

Sunday 9 July 2017

Bonaparte's Gull ..... At Oare Marshes

Bonaparte's Gull.

Yesterday the 8th July i heard news that the adult Bonaparte's Gull had returned to Oare Marshes for it's fifth summer in a row !!!!

When i got there and parked up in the pull-in i quickly scanned the East flood and saw the Bonaparte's Gull quite close in , i took several Digi scoped photos and videos for my records , really pleased to see this cracking bird and it had returned on the exact same date as last year.

Slight moult around base of bill.

Bright red legs.

After a preen the Bonaparte's Gull decided to have a rest and promptly found a comfortable place to roost amongst the numerous Black Headed Gulls .

Bonaparte's Gull.

I had quite an interesting chat with fellow local birders about where the Bonaparte's Gull goes for the rest of the year when it's not here , several theories were suggested including maybe it is one of the wintering birds from elsewhere in the Country or perhaps it has come in from France or Holland , the Black Headed Gull numbers had certainly increased since my last visit here on the 6th July and i would think it has come in with them from a colony somewhere.

I guess that's one of the many magical things about nature it's always throwing up questions and mysteries .

There were several really smart looking Med Gulls on the East Flood plus at least 3 Common Gulls.

2 Adult Med Gulls.

Med Gull.

3 Common Gulls.

There was the usual large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits & Avocets plus 2 Ruff & 1 Reeve and a brief view of a single Little Ringed Plover.

There were plenty of Bearded Tits including 4 birds on the far side of the East Flood on the mud presumably feeding on windswept seeds of the mud.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Brief visit to Luddenham & Oare Marshes

Spotted Flycatcher.

I called into  Luddenham this afternoon the 6th July in the hope of seeing Spotted Flycatcher , it didn't take long for me to find one as it flew around 'fly-catching' and often perched out in the open.

Looking for prey.

The Spotted Flycatcher often flew back to it's favoured perch affording very good views , i also saw a young Spotted Flycatcher deep inside one of the bushes , i didn't stay here to long as i didn't want to disturb them to much.

Spotted Flycatcher.

From Luddenham i popped into Oare Marshes and had distant views of 2 summer plumage Spotted Redshanks , there was good numbers of  Avocet , Black Tailed Godwit & Redshank plus 20+ Lapwings flew over the East Flood, whilst watching these i bumped into local birder Johnathan who was looking for a Ruff  which he had seen from the hide,
and as we were speaking  the cracking partial summer plumage Ruff near the pull-in on the East Flood came into view.


I also saw a very close Sedge Warbler by the pull-in with a beak full of food disappear into the undergrowth.

Sedge Warbler.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Grove Ferry & Oare Marshes

                                               30th  June  :  Grove Ferry

Young Bearded Tit.

Yesterday the 30th June i headed over to Grove Ferry to try and see the Red Footed Falcon , as i walked along the entrance track i could instantly hear a superb Turtle Dove 'purring' , a Chiffchaff was 'chiff chaffing' from a high perch and a Lesser Whitethroat was 'rattling' from somewhere unseen , a great start .

I made my way around towards Harrisons and spoke to another birder who gave negative news on the RFF , but it was still fairly early so it probably was still roosting (my logic for what it's worth).

Anyhow i decided to wait where i was in the hope the RFF would appear , whilst i was waiting i had superb views of a young Bearded Tit.

Bearded Tit.

Whilst i was talking to a good birding mate of mine he noticed the Red Footed Falcon flying low and then out sight (it had woke up) , we walked further along towards the Marsh hide and then relocated the RFF on a bush.

1st summer male Red Footed Falcon.

We got some other birders onto it before it flew further away and then landed on a different bush , this was pretty much the pattern of this bird , it often spent ages perched and every now and again would have a fly around catching dragonflies.

Record flight shot of RFF.

Red Footed Falcon.

This is a superb looking bird and in the right light the colours were amazing, i watched the RFF for well over an hour however sadly the light was not very good for photos (that's my excuse anyway) .

Of note i did see at least 5 Norfolk Hawkers which were a new dragonfly species for me.

                                            23rd June  :  Oare Marshes


On the 23rd June i spent a couple of hours at Oare Marshes and was pleased to see an immature Spoonbill  roosting on the East flood , the high tide wader roost wasn't that impressive to be honest with only the usual Black Tailed Godwit , Avocet & Redshank in good numbers , i did see a single Knot .

Spoonbill near the sluice.

I walked around to the South east corner of the flood hearing a 'Purring' Turtle Dove as i went past the paddocks , the Spoonbill seemed to have followed me as it went onto the small island near the sluice and went to sleep.

I checked out some more waders from this view point and was pleased to see 3 Spotted Redshanks in summer plumage.

1 of 3 Spotted Redshanks.

I was also very pleased to see fairly well grown Avocet chicks.

2 Avocet chicks.

There very good numbers of Common Swifts flying over the East flood and i once again tried to get some photos.

Common Swift.