Monday 31 August 2020

Seawatching at Oare Marshes

                                     Saturday 29th August  :   8.15am - 11.25am  


Juvenile Long Tailed Skua  Photo by Dominic Mitchell.

On Saturday the 29th i headed to Oare Marshes to do a seawatch as strong NNW winds were forecast , already present in the hide were MW,RR,DM,Y & another birder i can't remember their name (sorry about that) , i joined AE & DS outside of the hide.

Here are my personal totals :

LONG TAILED SKUA        2 Juvs     New bird for my Kent & Oare Marsh bird list.

GREAT SKUA                     65+

ARCTIC SKUA                   90+

FULMAR                              3+          New bird for my Oare Marsh bird list.

GANNET                             200+

BLACK TERN                     4

ARCTIC TERN                    8

COMMON TERN                20+

SANDWICH TERN             8+

LITTLE GULL                     2 Adults

KITTIWAKE                        2+

EIDER                                  1 imm

TEAL                                    4

GUILLEMOT                      1  on Swale

MERLIN                               1  over Swale

COMMON SWIFT              1  over Castle Coote

Really great seawatch in good company, Long tailed Skua being a particular highlight especially the first bird which appeared out of nowhere in front of the hide. 

Dominic Mitchell manged to get a very good photo and allowed me to use it on my blog, many thanks Dominic.

                                        Sunday 30th August  :   7.50am - 10.45am

Great Skua.

After yesterdays sea bird spectacular another visit to Oare marshes beckoned this morning as the NNW-N wind was still strong and high hopes of the continued Skua passage were anticipated .

Needless to say there were quite a few more birders here than Saturday when there was only 8 of us, and the sheer numbers of  Skuas were mind blowing.

Here are my personal totals :


LONG TAILED SKUA              7 juvs

GREAT SKUA                            65+

ARCTIC SKUA                          175+

SABINE'S GULL                       1 Adult       New bird for my Oare Marsh bird list.

KITTIWAKE                             3+

ARCTIC TERN                         1

BLACK TERN                           1

COMMON TERN                     20+

SANDWICH TERN                   5+

EIDER                                         2 imm's    near Castle Coote

PINTAIL                                     11

WIGEON                                    10+

COMMON SANDPIPER          4    in front of hide.

RAVEN                                        2   over Swale.

Once again a truly remarkable sea bird passage , i have never seen so many Skuas, the reported actual total of Arctic Skuas for the entire day was 500 birds !!!!

It was good to see and catch up with so many Kent birders today which makes the whole experience more rewarding.


Arctic & Long Tailed Skua.


Friday 21 August 2020

Bearded Vulture & Pacific Golden Plover Away Days

                                 8th  August 2020  :  Crowden in Derbyshire  


Bearded Vulture imm ♀

On the 8th August i paid homage to the long staying Bearded Vulture at Crowden in Derbyshire, a long uneventful journey saw RR, AE & myself arrive around 8.30am and the BV was showing distantly on rocks from the layby.

I have seen some amazing photos of this bird but sadly it remained distant all morning so not lucky with the camera this time.

However we had some amazing distant flight views as it was being mobbed first by a Common Buzzard which gave us great size comparisons and later 4 Kestrels joined forces in mobbing the Bearded Vulture and they looked like swallows chasing after a Buzzard for scale of the BV size.

Digi scope photo of the Bearded Vulture.

There has been alot of debate about this birds origin and is it countable as a wild bird or not as it is presumed wild bred from reintroduced but not self-sustaining population in the Alps, which i think makes this a 2nd generation bird ???

Either way it's an amazing bird to see in all it's undeniable glory and worth a trip as who knows how long it will stick around for or when we will see one again in this country.

17th August 2020  :   Boulmer in Northumberland

Pacific Golden Plover 

Once again i teamed up with RR & AE and this time we headed for Boulmer in Northumberland, another long uneventful journey and as we got closer to the site the weather got worse , rain turned into heavy rain plus there had been no news (unsurprisingly) of the PGP !!

We started our quest to find the PGP, with rough directions we took from RBA & BG from the  previous days sightings and without any local knowledge , we checked every bit of beach until eventually RR picked out the Pacific Golden Plover some way off near  Longhoughton Steel.

By this time the rain water was running of us , however the views of this superb wader were amazing as it just kept coming  closer & closer, we saw it wing stretch a couple of times where you could easily see the grey underwings, the long legs seemed very long almost Stilt like.

Black undertail coverts.

PGP note the very long legs.

This was a new bird for both RR & AE and a very much welcome year tick for me , we also saw 2 Adult & 3 juv Roseate Terns (1st juv Roseate Terns i have seen) plus Fulmar, Kittiwake,Gannet & Eider were all seen close in.