Tuesday 28 May 2019

Star Terns at Dungeness plus a Red Backed Shrike

                                   20th May : Dungeness Rspb

Adult Whiskered Tern

On the 20th May a superb adult summer plumage Whiskered Tern appeared on Burrowe's Pit at Dungeness Rspb reserve , i didn't get down there until late afternoon and managed some superb views of the Whiskered Tern both in flight and at rest.

Constantly twisting and diving.

The light wasn't great for photography (my fave excuse....) however the Whiskered Tern put on a tremendous display in front of Dennis hide.

Whiskered Tern.

Whilst we were all enjoying the Whiskered Tern DW from the bird observatory picked out a Roseate Tern on call alone (Wow) and sure enough a superb pink flushed Roseate Tern flew in and landed among the Common Terns.

Here is a small selection of photos i took.

Pink flushed Roseate Tern.

In flight.

Roseate Tern with a Sanderling.

Roseate Tern getting some Coot aggro.

Roseate Tern.

We also managed to see both the Whiskered & Roseate Tern in the same field of view at times.

Roseate & Whiskered & Common Terns

Roseate Tern Flying over Whiskered Tern.

22nd May :  Dungeness NNR

Adult male Red backed Shrike.

On the 22nd a male Red backed Shrike was seen in the moat by the Dungeness bird Ob's early in the morning and then went missing for most of the day.

It was relocated early afternoon back at the moat , so plans were made and i was soon heading to Dungeness in the hope of seeing this superb bird.

Eating a beetle.

The Ob's staff managed to catch and ring the Red backed Shrike so we were all treated to viewing this stunning bird close up in the hand.

Although i am not a fan of birds being displayed like this i have to say the Observatory staff were very professional and handled the Red backed Shrike with all due care and attention , they did not keep it for to long before releasing it where promptly it ruffled it's feathers and perched out in the open preening.

Red backed Shrike.

A superb male Black Redstart was also seen nearby plus plenty of Common Whitethroats, a Peregrine was constantly heard but remained unseen somewhere in the Power station.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Delightful Serin Plus more Kent Birding

                                              11th May :  Oare Marshes
Turtle Dove.

A wonderful morning at Oare marshes resulted in one of the highlights of the Spring, seeing 2 Turtle Doves displaying in the Paddocks, their wonderful 'Purring call' gave their presence away and we were treated to some fantastic views of these very vulnerable birds.

Turtle Dove.

                                            15th  May ;  Broadstairs Harbour

Pied Crow.

On the 15th May i was in Thanet to meet up with some old work colleagues and i took the opportunity to try and see the much travelled Pied Crow.

I failed to see it at Forness point, Botanty Bay or Joss Bay during the morning, so after i had met up with my friends news had come out the Pied Crow was back at Broadstairs Harbour , i eventually caught up with it foraging on scrapes with the local Gull population.

Pied Crow.

Will it ever be accepted by the powers that be ?? i very much doubt it to be honest , however i thought the very same about Chinese Pond Heron & Dalmation Pelican !!!

Whatever the outcome it's an interesting bird to see.

16th & 18th May : Littlestone-on-Sea 

Male Serin.

I headed to Littlestone-on-Sea on the 16th and had brief but decent views of a superb male Serin, high up in some pine trees, i heard it calling as soon as i got out of my car.

Viewing was really tricky as it often could be heard and not seen but with a bit of patience it showed every now and again.

I revisited Littlestone-on-sea on the 18th May to try and get better views and i was not disappointed.

Singing out in the open.

Bright Yellow rump.

I also saw it in a small tree opposite the Golf club house on one occasion whilst i was talking to the postman !!

Male Serin.

However it soon returned to the Pine's where it continued to sing in the hope of  attracting a mate.

Singing Serin.

The Serin was a very welcome addition to my Kent Bird List.


Tuesday 14 May 2019

Red Footed Falcon in Suffolk plus some surprises

I am a little bit behind with news of my recent birding trips on this blog so apologises for that, hopefully i will soon be back up to date.

 Starting with a planned trip to Minsmere on the 4th May  but with a couple of diversions on route.                                         

                                                             Abberton Reservoir in Essex

News of the 5 Adult summer White winged Black Terns reached me and it was to good to resist and so that was the 1st diversion, distant but good scope views were obtained of these stunning Terns , sadly to far for photos but what a great start to the day (Thanks RR for info). Then onto Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk.

                                                                Rendlesham Forest Suffolk

♂ Red Footed Falcon.

Having now arrived at  Rendlesham Forest to hopefully see the male Red footed Falcon ,  we were not disappointed , Wow what a bird, this was my 10th RFF in the UK and i have had some great views of this species but this one topped the lot !!!

Coming into land.

Digi scoped photo.

Red Footed Falcon.

Sadly my photos don't do this bird justice (the light was awful) , but the views were great as it constantly swooped down to catch bugs to eat showing off its glorious red under parts.

Minsmere Rspb reserve.

Sand Martin.

We stopped and had a look over the heath on route to the reserve and were rewarded with flight views of Woodlark.

Once on the reserve we headed straight for Island Mere hide to have lunch , the hide was pretty busy but good views of Sand Martin & Swallows were had, you could just about hear the Savi's Warbler 'Reeling' in the distance (the hide was sadly just to noisy) but eventually i managed to get the Savi's Warbler in my scope and it was fantastic to watch it 'Reeling' .

Sedge Warbler.

From Island Mere hide we headed to the scrape and had great views of Sedge Warbler on route, the scrape was very busy with 100's of Black headed Gulls , the keen eyed could also pick out several Mediterranean Gulls.

Adult Black Tern.

Moving around the scrape several Common & Sandwich Terns were seen and also on one of the islands a stunning adult Summer Black Tern showed really well, i was also very pleased to see a single Little Tern.

There was a clear lack of waders with only a single Bar tailed Godwit , 3 Knot & 1 Turnstone seen , the usual large numbers of Avocet were present plus Oystercatcher & Redshank in much smaller numbers.


Moving round to the public hide we saw pretty much the same variety of birds we had already seen but added some really close views of Kittiwake.

The last hide we visited gave us the reward of a 1st summer Caspian Gull which was a welcome addition to a really great days birding.

Cute Rabbit.

Thursday 2 May 2019

Local April Birding plus a Trip to Essex

 I had a really busy April birding in Kent with some wonderful highlights plus an away day to Essex, here are a selection of some of my birding trips .   

                                 10th April : Sandwich Bay

Ring Ouzel by the Obs.

This stunning Ring Ouzel near the bird observatory showed really well at times and was my personal 1st record of this species in Sandwich.

♂ Ring Ouzel.

15th April : Conningbrook CP Ashford

Black Tern.

Neil Burt has been patching Conningbrook for many years and has found some really great birds in that time, and in times of large housing development this site is under tremendous pressure, however Neil is still toughing it out and has had an amazing spring finding some rare and scarce birds , sadly i missed most of them but i did see this delightful Black Tern.

Black Tern .

Watching this bird twisting and diving for fish with the back drop of several warblers singing was amazing, keep up the good work Neil.

20th April : New Hythe & Elmley Track


A  visit to New Hythe to hopefully see or at least hear Nightingale was amazing , i was afforded my best ever views of this wonderful songster with 2 birds in particular giving a tremendous close show as they chased each other and now and again stopping to give a vocal show unrivalled.

Nightingale in full song.

There were so many other birds in full song it was quite an amazing site to visit , from here i headed to Elmley and drove up & down the track a couple of times.

Yellow Wagtail.

Lot's of birds to see along the Elmley track plus plenty of Brown Hares but the highlight for me was superb views of  Yellow Wagtail.

Yellow Wagtail.

25th April : Abberton Reservoir 

Ortolan Bunting.

I joined RR for a trip to Essex to see the Ortolan Bunting and although it was quite distant i had some really great scope views.

It was mainly feeding in the grass & nettles but the lovely bright colours were very evident even at this range.

Hybrid Blue headed x Yellow Wagtail.

We also saw this complex 'Yellow Wagtail' , stunning bright yellow underparts with a curious head colouration, birders on site were calling it Channel Wagtail !?

Channel Wagtail.

We popped into the visitor centre then had a brief view over the reservoir and saw good numbers of terns, mainly Common Terns but RR picked out an Arctic Tern then 2 Black Terns flew into view, another cracking days birding.