Saturday 29 December 2018

My Top 5 Highlights of 2018

It's that time of the Year again when i look back over the birding trips i made in 2018 with very fond memories.

So here are my Top 5 Highlights of 2018 :

                                  Number one :  GREY CATBIRD

Grey Catbird.

News of a Grey Catbird at Treeve Moor near Lands End in Cornwall in October  was to good to be true , i had not had a sniff of a Lifer all year and it was beginning to look like i would not get one this year.

However when i finally laid my eyes on this stunning American passerine i was in birdwatching heaven , a really cracking bird to see and to see so well made the whole experience of such a rare bird so much more special, hence why it's my number 1 highlight of 2018.

Grey Catbird.

Number two :   LITTLE SWIFT

Little Swift roosting.

A Little Swift seen on the 11th November in Hartlepool got the pulses racing as i had never seen one before in the UK , and when it was seen going to roost that evening my mind was made up to go the very next day.

We arrived in time to see the Little Swift roosting by the window ledge and great scope views were obtained , it left the roost at 7.18am and we saw it really well flying right over are heads at times by the Town Moor , simply breath taking views made this wonderful bird fly into my number two highlight of 2018.

Little Swift

Number Three :  PALLID SWIFT

Pallid Swift.

Pallid Swift has to be my number 3 highlight of 2018 , as i have dipped and been unable to go for so many of these 'hard to get Swifts' over so many years.

I have heard it called 'Tarts Tick' & 'Bogey Bird' but sometimes it just comes down to pure luck if you see them or not (in my book anyway...!!!).

So on my umpteenth time of trying to see one i finally did on the 13th November at Joss Bay in Thanet , in fact i saw 2 Pallid Swifts together , just like buses.........

Pallid Swift.


White Billed Diver

Kent bird ticks are quite hard to come by these days for me but when a White Billed Diver was seen on Friday evening of 2nd November of Ramsgate (Great find by Scott.H.) i was ever hopeful it would still be around the next day.

Thankfully it was relocated off Botany Bay on the 3rd November and it was quite simply in stunning summer plumage and giving some very close views at times.

This is a very rare bird to see in Kent let alone Thanet and in full summer plumage makes this easily my Number four highlight of 2018.

White Billed Diver.


Great Shearwater.

It's incredibly hard to choose just 5 highlights of the year , however i decided to choose my trip to the Isle of Scilly for a Pelagic weekend birding adventure as my Number 5 highlight of 2018

We did not get the huge numbers of birds we hoped for however we did see pretty much all target species with incredible views of Great Shearwater & Wilson's Petrel.

Plus some amazing views of a Blue Shark.

Blue Shark.

Great Shearwater.

Well that concludes my Top 5 highlights of 2018 , i have had a good years birding and my final totals are :

YEAR LIST :  243



Just like to say many thanks for everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog this year and wish you all  Great Birding for 2019.               


Thursday 20 December 2018


Just like to wish everyone who has visited my blog this year a






Monday 17 December 2018

Kent Birding .....& A Royal Dip

                 3rd December : Alpha Pool  Cliffe Marshes

Black necked Grebe with a Tufted Duck.

News of both Red necked & Black necked Grebes on Alpha pool at Cliffe marshes made up my mind to go and try and see them , Cliffe marshes is not somewhere i go to visit to often to be honest and i had never been to Alpha pool.

So after some directions kindly given on twitter and from Frank.C. (many thanks) i made my way around to Alpha pool with RR and got very muddy in the process !!!

We eventually reached Alpha pool and it was great to see so many Little Grebes & Great crested Grebes but we could not locate any Red necked Grebes.

RR soon picked up a Black necked Grebe in fact we saw 2 birds together , we watched these for awhile whilst constantly scanning  over the pool when i was once again watching a single Black necked Grebe and RR was still watching 2 Black necked Grebes at the same time making 3 birds in total.

Red necked Grebe.

We eventually saw 1 of the 2 Red necked Grebes nearer the castle and although distant  good scope views were obtained.

The walk back was just as muddy however we did see good numbers of both Fieldfare & Redwing.

8th December  : Dungeness Area

Great white Egret.

A trip to Dungeness on Saturday 8th was rewarded with some good birds , starting of near Horse bones farm a Great white Egret flew through but no sign of any Bewick's.

Next stop was at Cocklesbridge and this time there was 3 ad & 2 juv Bewick's Swans amongst the herd of Mute Swans.

Red necked Grebe.

Lade was hard going looking for the Humes & Dartford Warbler's as the wind was very strong and not really good for looking for warblers , however some really good views of the Red necked Grebe were obtained.

Red necked Grebe.

A look out to sea produced several Red throated Divers, Guillemot , Razorbill , Gannet & Kittiwakes but was very cold.

Calling into the Rspb reserve was the next destination and from the Firth hide there was 5+ Goldeneye and an adult Yellow legged Gull.

Closer views of the Yellow legged Gull from Makepeace hide plus  a second adult bird was seen, there was also 2 Cattle Egrets along the entrance track .

Adult Yellow legged Gull

Obsessed with this stick.

Yep likes this stick !!!!

Yellow legged Gull.

12th December :  Anglesey

A very long trip to Traeth Lligwy on Anglesey in the hope of seeing the American Royal Tern quite frankly resulted in a right ROYAL DIP !!!!

That's birding or rather twitching for you , all the old cliche's come to mind , 'you have to be in it to win it' or ' you won't see it by staying at home' etc , etc, all offer very little comfort when you do dip a bird after travelling so far.

However i have dipped on many occasions over the years and it effects me less these days and i just try to make the most of the day out regardless.

That said i spent most of my time in the hope the Royal Tern would make an appearance (it didn't) i did head off to Llyn Llygeirian to see the ♀ Lesser Scaup which was a welcome year tick and a delightful bird to see.

♀ Lesser Scaup.

The pick of the other birds seen today were : Sparrowhawk , Great Northern Diver , Red throated Diver, Common Scoter, Guillemot & Black Guillemot.