Thursday 31 December 2020

Final Bird List Totals for 2020...........

                                           KENT BIRD YEAR LIST 2020

 In a very difficult year birdwatching has been the one consistent i have enjoyed more then anything and was a good way of escaping the difficult times we all live in at the moment.

My Kent Bird Year List Total ended on 225 , which included 4 new birds for my Kent bird list : Gull Billed Tern, Long Tailed Skua, Masked Shrike (1st for Kent) and Crag Martin (1st for Kent).


Crag Martin at Kingsdown.

Masked Shrike at Shuart.


I also kept a UK Bird Year List and although the virus restricted what i could do and my Shetland holiday was cancelled i still managed a reasonable 244 bird species for 2020.

I was also very lucky to add 2 new bird species to my British Bird List : Siberian Thrush & Eastern Rufous Bush Chat.

Siberian Thrush photo by Oli Mockridge.

Eastern Rufous Bush Chat at Stiffkey.


I really enjoy Garden birdwatching and have several feeders up plus a bird bath.

My Garden Bird List is now on : 67 species and i added 12 of those species in 2020.

The new additions are : Greenfinch (2), Fieldfare, Raven (2) , Green Woodpecker. Siskin (25+) , Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Common Crossbill, Lesser Redpoll (25+), Skylark (3), Brent Goose (Heard only) and finally Greylag Goose (25+).

Most if not all these birds were seen flying over the garden, i get regular Curlew & Cormorant over the garden plus in recent weeks 2 Grey Wagtails have started to feed around my drive.

Greenfinch & Goldfinch on feeders.

So that about wraps up my birding totals for 2020 , i would just like to wish everyone a Happy 2021 with plenty of good bird & nature watching to help keep us all sane !! 

Tuesday 22 December 2020



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






Local Kent Birding......

                                       December  19th  :  Reculver Marshes


Snow Bunting.

A pleasant walk along the sea wall at Reculver on Saturday with the hope of locating the small flock of Snow Buntings the main target birds.

Lot's of birds seen included Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Curlew & Redshank plus good numbers of Dark Bellied Brent Geese.

I eventually reached the environment agency steps where the Snow Buntings have been favouring and sure enough all 3 birds were there happily feeding away.


Snow Bunting.

December 19th  :  Oare Marshes

Red Breasted Merganser

After a really pleasant walk at Reculver i ended the day at Oare Marshes , bumping into DS who very kindly informed me of a male Red Breasted Merganser which was showing well in Faversham creek.

Having a stretch.

So after a quick look over the East Flood where there were plenty of Pintail and at least 200 Avocets.

The weather was closing in and the rain came pouring down, so the decision was made to head to Faversham creek and superb views of the bedraggled Red Breasted Merganser were obtained.

Red Breasted Merganser.

There was a least 20+ Little Grebes on one of the pools plus a superb Kingfisher successfully feeding along the creek.

Several Redshank plus 4+ Greenshank and a single Green Sandpiper were also seen.



Monday 30 November 2020

My Kent November Birding Highlights .....

                                         November 14th 2020 :  Hythe in Kent


Love the Purple colour on the  feathers.

Purple Sandpiper.

With Covid-19 lockdown in force i was abit confused on how far you could travel so early in the month on the 14th i headed to Hythe to try and see the Glaucous Gull.

Whilst looking for the Glaucous Gull i also enjoyed fantastic views of 2 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks, in the above photo of the bird sleeping it's worth enlarging the photo to see the purple colouration on the  feathers.

I had no luck with the Glaucous Gull so headed to Dungeness for a 'Seawatch' ,

Dungeness  ' Seawatch'

Great Skua .

An hour & a half sea watch from the fishing boats was very productive , 4 Great Skuas , 1000+ Gannets, 250+ Kittiwakes , a ♂ Merlin in off were all great to see but the highlight was a superb Sooty Shearwater .

Sooty Shearwater.

Plenty of Razorbills & Guillemots were seen as was 1♂  3♀ Common Scoter.

Common Scoter.

I headed back to Hythe and this time i got very brief views of the Glaucous Gull in fading light.

Record shot of Glaucous Gull.

November 21st , 23rd & 25th  :  Kingsdown


Needless to say i really enjoyed this bird , i have been lucky enough to have seen Crag Martin in the UK before however to see one in Kent is absolutely fantastic.

Here are a selection of photos from all 3 visits  :

1st winter Crag Martin

November 28th  :   Swalecliffe

2 Slavonian Grebes.

Really pleased to catch up with the 2  Slavonian Grebes at Swalecliffe , i also saw several Red Throated Divers & & ♀ Red Breasted Merganser.

From here i popped around to Hampton Pier and saw a roosting Purple Sandpiper & another Red throated Diver on the sea.

Roosting Purple Sandpiper.

News of the Crag Martin still being present but now relocated to Samphire Hoe was tempting me all day so i finally gave into temptation and went for yet another look at this superb bird.

Crag Martin.

Well that concludes my November Kent birding highlights fingers crossed December has one or two surprises in store to.

I would just like to say although i have done several trips through the lockdown period and i have only ventured approx 30 mins from home (not including Dungeness which in hindsight was probably to far to go) and i have maintained social distancing on every trip (although that proved challenging at times), hope everyone stays safe . 



Thursday 29 October 2020

My Kent October Birding Highlights.......

                                           October 3rd  :  Dungeness Area


Glossy Ibis

First bird i saw going along the track at Galloways on the 3rd October was a very bright looking Yellow Browed Warbler, however  only brief  views were obtained of this really smart leaf warbler.

Common Redstart.

The trapping area held 2 each of Common Redstart & Garden Warbler, plus 25+ Lesser Redpoll & 100+ Siskins overhead, on checking my notes the Siskin is a new species for my Dungeness bird list.

2 Glossy Ibis from the Rspb entrance track was another good bird to see today.

                                                 October 6th  :  Oare Marshes



An undoubted highlight of October was this superb Wryneck seen on the 6th , and new bird for my Oare Marshes bird list, i had  really good views of this superb Woodpecker species on & off for approx 1 hour.


October 14th  :  Dungeness NNR

Red Flanked Bluetail

Another trip to Dungeness NNR with 2 target birds on offer, well for me it was about seeing the Red Flanked Bluetail as it would not only be a new bird for my Dungeness bird list but it is also a stunning bird to see !!!

Lovely Blue tail.

Thankfully the Red Flanked Bluetail showed really well , with fading light and the weather closing in i tried for the Short toed Treecreeper which was seen in the Old Lighthouse garden.

Sadly i never managed to see this bird but having seen 2 Short toed Treecreepers at Dungeness before i wasn't to disappointed and who be after seeing the superb RFB.

Red Flanked Bluetail.

October 16th  :  Oare Marshes

An afternoon visit to Oare Marshes and this time my target bird was Dartford Warbler, a walk out from the car park towards Dans Dock and i was soon enjoying some views of the Dartford Warbler which was keeping close company with 2 Stonechats.

This was a welcome addition to my Oare Marshes bird list.

October 17th  :  Shuart Farm

1st winter Masked Shrike.

I have already done a blog post this month on the Masked Shrike seen at Shuarts farm , however i could not leave it out of my October highlights, a truly remarkable addition to my Kent bird list.

Also seen this day at Chambers wall was a delightful Pallas's Warbler which also showed well at times.

Pallas's Warbler.

October 20th  :  Oare Marshes

American Golden Plover with Golden Plover.

A morning spent at Capel Fleet & Leysdown which resulted in seeing a superb male Hen Harrier over the fields at Capel Fleet plus several Goldcrest & Redwing in the bushes at Leysdown on Sea.

An afternoon visit to Oare marshes was rewarded with superb views of the moulting American Golden Plover  which was roosting with a large number of Golden Plover.

24th October  :  St. Mary's Bay & Capel Fleet

Red Backed Shrike

Having seen lot's of photos of the 1stw Red Backed Shrike online, temptation got the better of me and a trip to St.Mary's Bay on the 24th was the plan.

A long story short , the Red Backed Shrike showed very well indeed and was a very tame bird , the only RBS as tame as this one i have seen before was on Shetland.

Red Backed Shrike.

There was also a showy Shorelark nearby which was keeping company with Meadow Pipits.


An afternoon visit to Capel Fleet was rewarded with distant but good scope views of the Great Grey Shrike which is a new bird for my Sheppy bird list , great to see 25+ Corn Buntings in the bushes here to.

Well that about covers my October Kent bird highlights, let's hope November is just as good !!!



Tuesday 20 October 2020

Crazy Saturday & Mega Monday Birding

                               October 17th :  Hampshire & Kent

                                            Keyhaven Marshes 


1st winter Wilson's Phalarope.

On Saturday the 17th October we headed to Keyhaven Marshes in Hampshire in the hope of seeing the long staying Wilson's Phalarope.

However approx  1 & half hours into the journey the MEGA alert went of informing us that an Eastern Rufous Bush Chat had been found at Stiffkey campsite in Norfolk.

Our heads were spinning at this point , do we divert to Norfolk or carry onto Hampshire, we decided to carry on to Hampshire for fear of the huge crowds (covid-19 being the real fear) which would no doubt descend on Stiffkey .

Digi scoped Wilson's Phalarope.

Having made the decision we kept on going and just as we reached Keyhaven Marshes the MEGA alert went off again , the message read : MASKED SHRIKE Shuart Kent !!!!!

Now this was becoming a joke , a first for Kent no more then 25 mins from my home and i am in Hampshire !!!!!!

Wilson's Phalarope.

Well as you can see we had some fantastic views of the Wilson's Phalarope and having now seen 5 of these superb waders i have to say this is the best & closest views i have ever had of one.

We spent an hour watching this superb bird in all it's glory , however we decided that it was time to head full speed to Shuart in Kent for the Masked Shrike !!

Shuart Farm    Kent

1st winter Masked Shrike.

So after a 3 hour long drive from Hampshire and hearing from a couple of birding friends telling us how great the views of the Masked Shrike are (not feeling gripped at all) we finally joined the assembled birders in the field and had some wonderful views of the 1st winter Masked Shrike , 

A really great find by dedicated 'patch watcher' Derek Smith and many thanks for putting the news out for us all to enjoy.

Cracking looking bird.

The  Masked Shrike is a first record for Kent and only the 5th record for Britain, we watched this bird on & off for 1hr & 30 mins before we left to try our luck at Chambers Wall.

We reached Chambers Wall which was less then 10 mins away and walked along the concrete track towards the fisherman's car park hearing Lesser Redpoll & Redwing on route , we no sooner arrived at the car park when we saw the delightful Pallas's Warbler buzzing around with several Goldcrests.

Pallas's Warbler.

That was one crazy Saturday but a fantastic day with great birds.

October 20th :  Stiffkey Campsite  

Eastern Rufous Bush Chat

I finally gave into temptation and teamed up with RR & PE and headed to Stiffkey in Norfolk , we decided to wait on news before we set of and sure enough positive news came through at approx 9.45am Monday morning.

An uneventful journey (apart from some nail biting & plenty of butterflies in the stomach) saw us  arrive on site at 1.25pm, a quick dash around to the stubble field and after a short wait the superb  EASTERN RUFOUS BUSH CHAT showed briefly in flight, the pale overall plumage was clear to see as was the striking rufous tail.

Record shot.

We had to wait a bit longer to get the view we all craved for and eventually the Rufous Bush Chat once again flew up and this time landed out in the open in a hawthorn bush and promptly started to pump it's glorious tail .

The best views came after another period of time without any sign of it, it flew up into a dead tree where i had superb scope views for over a minute.

It was good to see social distancing was generally being observed. 

My photos are only record shots and are all Digi scoped , i just spent most of my time enjoying watching this bird, my 2nd lifer of the year and what a bird it is to !!!!

Eastern Rufous Bush Chat.