Thursday 31 May 2018

Great Reed Warbler makes it onto my Kent Bird List...

30th May 2018  Dungeness Arc 

Great Reed Warbler from Hanson hide.

Regular readers of my blog know that i am often off on far flung twitches all over the country in the hope of seeing new & wonderful birds , however when i have been on these trips in the past i have often missed some great birds in my home county of Kent.

Although i am still prone to long trips (people keep tempting me , you know who you are ...) for new birds i decided a couple of years back to try and spend more time local birding and have seen some truly great birds in Kent as a result and in the process added some new birds to my Kent bird list.

Singing it's heart out.

Well yesterday the 30th May was one of those occasion's i added a new bird to my Kent bird list in the form of a Great Reed Warbler singing & showing well from the Hanson hide at Dungeness , i have dipped a couple of these in Kent in the past so when news came out yesterday morning i jumped in the car and headed straight there.

Steep forehead.

The news was negative when i arrived , it had not been seen or heard for an hour although it was still thought to be present , i gave it about  an hour then decided to try and see the adult Rose Coloured Starling which was only just down the road and come back later in the afternoon when hopefully the GRW would perhaps be more active.

Rose Coloured Starling.

Rose Coloured Starling's are absolutely delightful looking birds and i was really pleased i went to see this one, it was feeding by some feeders near some ones garden and i asked if it was OK to view and they couldn't be more helpful , many thanks to the homeowner.

I also saw a distant Black Redstart on the roof of another building,  there was also a large number of Starling's with plenty of young birds.

Juvenile & adult Starling.

Whilst watching these news broke that the Great Reed Warbler was again back in front of the Hanson hide , so i headed there and enjoyed some very prolonged views and added this bird to both my Kent & Dungeness bird lists. Here are some digi scoped photos of the GRW.

Having a preen

In full song

Great Reed Warbler.

27th May  2018  :  Bishopstone 

Adult Rose coloured Starling.

News on the the 26th May of an adult Rose coloured Starling at Bishopstone made up my mind to pop over there the next morning and try and see this superb looking bird , when i arrived i was told that i had missed it by approx 5 minutes (don't you just love that saying, 'it was here 5 minutes ago').

On top of a pine tree.

Well i had a walk round and eventually saw it first on top of a TV aerial and then on top of a pine tree , it often dropped down in to gardens to feed and was quite elusive.

Rose-Coloured Starling.

Although the light was awful for photographs this bird was a lovely coloured bird and a welcome addition to my Reculver bird list.

25th May 2018  :  Dungeness

Spotted Flycatcher.

On the 25th May i went to Dungeness for some birding and more or less the first bird i saw was a Spotted Flycatcher in the Old lighthouse gardens , in fact i saw 2 Spotted Flycatchers there and another birder informed me there was probably 3 birds as one had flown before i got there.

Cracking bird.

I could have watched these all day , however i dragged myself away and ended up at Dungeness Rspb reserve , there was lot's of Common Tern's on the islands plus a nice selection of waders : 2 Grey Plovers , Whimbrel, Curlew, 2 Turnstone, 4+ Dunlin , 2 Ringed Plover & 1 Common Sandpiper .

Common Sandpiper.

I walked around to the Firth hide and first there was 1 and then later 3 Little Gulls.

3 Little Gulls.

There was quite a selection of birds at Dungeness today and i added a brief flight view of a Bittern near the Arc pits plus Hobby, Lesser Whitethroat & 3 Avocets were all seen there.

Saturday 19 May 2018

European Bee-eater at Sandwich

European Bee-eater.

Yesterday the 18th May i heard that there was a European Bee-eater being seen on & off at Worth & Sandwich bay , later in the evening it had become loyal to one area opposite the entrance to Restharrow scrape.

I decided to try my luck and headed over there and arrived at approx 7pm , there was only one other birder there who kindly informed me that the Bee-eater was still here but a little bit more distant on the wires and sure enough there it was in all it's glory !!!

Taking off from the wires.

I had decent scope views but really it was to far to get any photos although i was quite pleased i managed a flight shot through my scope (see above photo).

Eventually the European Bee-eater flew closer and alighted in a much closer bush and the views through the scope were simple stunning.

Stunning colour's.

You can just about make out the red eye.

I took lot's of photo's (mainly digi scoping) but also some with my camera.

European Bee-eater.

On checking my notes this European Bee-eater is my personal first at Sandwich and a welcome new bird to my Sandwich Bay bird list.

I had a quick look from the hide over looking Restharrow scrape and added Comm Sandpiper to my year list plus Avocet, Little Grebe & Mute Swan amongst others were all seen.

Mute Swan.

I also had a drive along the Ancient highway and saw & heard lot's of Corn Buntings & Common Whitethroat's plus there was quite a few Swallows , i also had a brief view of a Short eared Owl.

Friday 11 May 2018

Some Local Birding...... Hard Going at Times

                                     4th May 2018 : Swalecliffe

Grasshopper Warbler.

On Friday the 4th of May i headed to Swalecliffe and run the normal gauntlet of Dogs (including a rather unfriendly looking pit bull type) to try and see the Grasshopper Warbler that had been showing well recently , it didn't take me long to hear this 'Reeling Warbler' and i soon picked it out on top of a bush 'Reeling'.

Nice shaped tail.

I watched this superb bird for a short time as i didn't want to disturb it , it was pretty much on show the whole time i was there only dropping down out of sight when said dogs came running past. Many thanks to Arnie & Chidders for local info.

8th May 2018 : Dungeness Seawatch

07.30am to 10.00am

Arctic Skua    1 DP east

Fulmar  2 east

Whimbrel  4 east

Bar Tailed Godwit  1 east

Black tailed Godwit  90 west 

Sandwich Tern  50+  east & west

Common Tern  50+   east & west

Little Tern  4  east

Common Scoter  60+  east

Shoveler  1 east

Swallow  2 in off

There was also at least 20 Great crested Grebes on the sea plus quite a few Porpoise further out.

Great crested Grebes 

Having a fly past.

I had a break from sea watching as it was quite slow  and the light conditions made it hard going , i called into the Arc pit and saw a couple of  Dragonflies which i was reliably informed are Four-Spotted Chasers, many thanks to all who helped with the id of these.

Four-Spotted Chaser.

I didn't see much at the Arc so went over to the Rspb and saw 3 Little Gulls and 4 Bar Tailed Godwits & 20+ Common Terns.

Little Gull.

Bar Tailed Godwit's.

However once again there just wasn't many birds around so i decided to have another go at sea watching and was pleased i did !!

Seawatch :  14.15pm  to 16.00pm

Arctic Skua  3 LP & 7 DP east

Pomarine Skua   1 DP  (full spoons)  east at 15.55pm

Manx Shearwater  1 east

Common Scoter  25+  east

Whimbrel  1 heard only

Kittiwake  2 west

Plus the usual Gannets , Common & Sandwich Terns moving east & west the same as this morning.

Flock of migrating Whimbrel.

11th  May : Oare Marshes


I called over to Oare marshes in time for high tide today at 10.00am , there wasn't much variation on the East flood , the usual Black tailed Godwits & Dunlin were the only waders on the flood , the water levels are still very high here , 

I bumped into MW & RR who had done the whole circuit and things seemed to be very quite all around , we did see a close Marsh Harrier and a distant Peregrine whilst chatting plus several Common Swifts made an appearance.

After MW & RR said their goodbyes i was lucky enough to be checked out by a Hobby which gave close views before drifting of west.

Close view of a Hobby.

I did also see a distant Turtle Dove  near the weather vane which was a most welcome addition to my year list.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Green Heron in Pembrokeshire

Green Heron .

News of a Green Heron being discovered in Narberth Pembrokeshire over the weekend caught the birding worlds attention , i was invited to go down there on Monday 30th April as my good birding mate had never seen one , i have been lucky enough to see 2 Green Herons before (Kent 2008 & Cornwall 2010) but i hardly ever turn down the opportunity to see great birds.

At full stretch.

We left extremely early and arrived at approx 9am , there had been no news at all on our journey and just as we pulled up news broke that the Green Heron was still present.

Initial views were restricted.

We eventually joined the already assembled birders and the Green Heron was out of view in the iris beds , after a short time my mate RR picked it out as it crepted through the reeds catching Newts & Rudd and was really feeding well.

Although we could see it the views were really restricted as it seemed quite content hiding away catching it's prey just giving very tantalising views every now and again.

A Red Kite drifted over head , which was the 2nd one we had seen this morning plus a Willow Warbler was singing away which was the first one i have heard this year.

In full view.

Eventually our patience paid of when the Green Heron walked through the reeds and out into the open and gave fantastic views.

The Green Heron then had a scratch and a preen.

Having a scratch.

And having a preen.

The Green Heron is an amazing coloured bird , the mantle had superb green feathers.

Green Heron.

Here's a photo of the Cornwall Green Heron i saw back in 2010.

Green Heron in 2010.

The journey home was long but well worth the effort , we added a further 10 Red Kites along the M4 plus several Common Buzzards.