Thursday 30 December 2021

Final Bird List Totals for 2021


Hoopoe at Stelling Minnis.

Once again in a difficult year with Covid effecting most things including further lockdowns    birding was once again the one consistent which proved to be very successful both in Kent & further a field.

                                         Here are my final bird list totals for 2021

                                               KENT  BIRD YEAR LIST 2021

My Kent Bird Year List Total finished on 212, which included 3 new birds for my Kent Bird List :

Red Throated Pipit at Worth Marshes.  (Sadly no photo).

Pied Wheatear at Reculver.


Pied Wheatear at Reculver. Photo by AE

Black Guillemot at Swalecliffe.


Black Guillemot at Swalecliffe. Photo by FC.

Many thanks to both AE & FC for the use of their photos.



My UK Bird Year List finished on  260 with a remarkable 9 new species added to my British bird list which are :

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD  at Lona Avenue Exmouth Devon.

Northern Mockingbird.

AMERICAN HERRING GULL  at Newlyn Harbour Cornwall.

American Herring Gull.

RED NECKED STINT  at Blyth Estuary Northumberland.

Red Necked Stint.

BLACK BROWED ALBATROSS  at Bempton Cliffs Rspb Yorkshire.

Black Browed Albatross

GREEN WARBLER  at Buckton Yorkshire.  (Sadly never managed a photo)

LONG TOED STINT  at  St.Aidans Rspb West Yorkshire.

Long Toed Stint.

VARIED THRUSH  on Papa Westray.

Varied Thrush.

TAIGA FLYCATCHER  at South Landing Flamborough Yorkshire.

Taiga Flycatcher.

BELTED KINGFISHER  at River Darwen Samlesbury Lancashire.

Belted Kingfisher.


Garden Birdwatching is something i really enjoy and my Garden Bird List now stands at : 74 
i added 7 new species this year which are :

WOODCOCK seen on 2 occasions flying over garden.

HEN HARRIER Ringtail bird seen flying over garden.

LINNET 3 birds seen & heard flying over garden

FIRECREST heard only several times.

COMMON TERN  2 birds seen flying over garden.

WILLOW WARBLER heard only several times.

BRAMBLING heard only in flight over garden.

As you can see from my added new birds i count everything i can see or / and hear from within my garden  which obviously includes flyover birds. 


So that wraps up  my Birding totals for the year, it's been an incredible year with far to many highlights to mention, let's hope 2022 is just as amazing for birds.

Happy New Year & I wish you all  Great Birding in 2022.

Juvenile Goldfinch.

Friday 24 December 2021

2nd Time Lucky.......What a Belter !!!

                                           23rd December 2021  :  Samlesbury


Belted Kingfisher !!!!

After our dramatic dip of the Belted Kingfisher on the river Ribble a couple of weeks ago,  RR & myself were given a 2nd chance when the Belted Kingfisher had been refound on the River Darwen near Roach bridge at Samlesbury.

This time we were joined by AE on our early morning drive up from Kent, leaving at 02.30am, an uneventful drive saw us arrive at 7am .

white wing patch on dark blue wing.

We made our way around to the area by the river Darwen and joined the assembled birders waiting with baited breath, i think it's the anticipation , hope and keeping everything crossed that makes the twitch so exciting (or maybe thats just me ...).

Daylight broke and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife as the hope , anticipation, dreams and then the unspoken doubt & dread in all our minds as we waited for the appearance of the much wanted to see Belted Kingfisher.

Then we all heard the unmistakable 'rattling' call of this magnificent bird echoing around the river below us, the shear relief that we all felt that the Belted Kingfisher was still present.

Broad blue breast band & white underparts.

And then the wait was over as the Belted Kingfisher gave it's self up to it's admiring crowd , i had really great scope views as it perched on various branches, i was also lucky enough to see it in flight on several occasions.

The slope of Death seems along time ago now, but it was all worth it to see this great bird.

Having a preen.

Belted Kingfisher.


Monday 20 December 2021


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







Tuesday 14 December 2021

Recent Kent Birding Highlights

                                          2nd December 2021  :  Worth Marshes


White Stork.

I managed to catch up with the unringed White Stork on the 2nd December at Worth Marshes, 
Wild or not it was a great bird to see !!

White Stork in flight.

4th December 2021  :  New Hythe

Greater Scaup.

A trip to New Hythe on the 4th December was rewarded with great views of a ♂ Greater Scaup on Brooklands Lake.

Greater Scaup having a splash.

The Greater Scaup was keeping company with approx 200 Tufted Ducks plus a single ♂ Goldeneye.

Greater Scaup with Tufted Ducks.

♂ Goldeneye.

9th December  :  Reculver Marshes  &  Scotney

Black Brant with Brent Geese.

A walk along the sea wall at Reculver on the 9th December produced close views of a Black Brant in the company of Dark Bellied Brent Geese.

Broad white collar & white flanks.

Black Brant.

A walk further along the sea wall soon found us watching a new bird for my Reculver bird list :  Dartford Warbler.

Dartford Warbler.

Really pleased to add this Dartford Warbler to my Reculver bird list , such a showy bird and also called on occasion.

The Dartford Warbler spent sometime in the grass and was often seen in the company of Stonechats.

Dartford Warbler in the grass.

From Reculver we headed to Scotney and saw 18 Bewick's Swans (12 adults & 6 juvs).

6 of the 18 Bewick's Swans

Adult Bewick's Swan

2 Juv Bewick's Swans.

11th December 2021 :  Capel Fleet

♂ Hen Harrier

A long days birding around Kent was finally rewarded with superb views of a ♂ Hen Harrier near the Raptor watch point at Capel Fleet on Sheppy.

Hen Harrier.

A Ringtail Hen Harrier was also seen plus a cracking looking Barn Owl was seen nearby.

12th December 2021  :  Oare Marshes

Redhead Smew.

A txt message from MW (Thanks Murray) on Sunday morning informing me that a Redhead Smew was currently showing on the East flood at Oare soon had me grabbing my birding gear and heading there.

This was only my 3rd ever Smew seen at Oare Marshes and a very welcome year tick, an added bonus was a vocal Spotted Redshank which briefly dropped into the East Flood before flying out again calling.


Monday 13 December 2021

Dipping Kingfisher

                                           29th November 2021 :  Ribble River

I headed to Lancashire with RR to try and see the Belted Kingfisher that had been seen along the Ribble River , however things didn't go to plan how we had hoped !!

We arrived at approx 07.30 and not really sure of where to go we made our way to the river, we found a well beaten path and followed it down to the river, it was quite steep but not as steep as i was expecting, for example i had seen on twitter terms like , ' Death Slope' &  ' Mudslide'   etc.

So i did wonder if we had gone down the right path ?? well as it turned out we did & didn't, the path we went down was another area to look for the BK but as it turned out not the best place to view from.

The BK was seen whilst we were there but from the other viewing place, it takes about a 30 minute walk , climb, slide & scramble to get there from where we was !!!

By the time we had got there the BK had flown down river and not seen again that day !!!

We spent about 5 hours in the vain hope the BK would reappear but alas it was not to be , the climb back up the 'Death Slope' was very hard indeed , don't think i will ever forget seeing RR's legs going about 100 mph on the mud bank trying to gain some traction then sliding back past me.......

I faired no better ending up on my backside several times absolutely covered in mud, the big question was would we ever get up this slope ??? well we did eventually and although we dipped the BK it will go down as one of my most memorable twitches ...... Lol

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Sandwich Bay & Dungeness NNR

                                            18th November 2021   :   Sandwich Bay 

Snow Bunting.

After spending the morning at Langdon Cliffs  we decided to head to Sandwich Bay to have another look at the Snow Buntings near the Golf course by the 10th Tee.

We had really great views of a close in Red Throated Diver & 3+ Razorbills on our way to look for the Snow Buntings plus we also saw a rather tame Brent Goose.

Eventually we located the 3 Snow Buntings on the 10th hole and had superb views of them, however every now and again the golfers would flush them of the course onto the beach.

3 Snow Buntings

On one such occasion we noticed a 4th bird had joined them as they flew low over the beach and out of sight , however this was no Snow Bunting !!!

We managed to locate them below the shingle ridge and to my delight the 4th bird was a Lapland Bunting (♂ winter).

Lapland Bunting & Snow Bunting

Lapland Bunting.

The Lapland Bunting was happily feeding with the Snow Bunting for approx 15 mins before a Skylark flew over them, the Lapland Bunting then proceeded to fly after the Skylark where we could hear the flight call.

Eventually the Lapland Bunting flew onto the golf course towards the 9th hole with 4 Skylarks and dropped down out of sight.

This was a new bird for my Sandwich Bay Bird List (187th) .

20th November 2021  :  Dungeness NNR

♂ Black Redstart

The plan today was a visit to Dungeness , we started of at Galloways only to find the Red flag was flying so we couldn't check the area out, we then headed to Scotney to try and locate yesterdays reported Slavonian Grebe.

Well after alot of scanning we could only find a Black necked Grebe which was great to see, i was surprized on how many Egyptian Geese were there, at least 60+.

On the way back to the car news broke that Dungeness Obs had caught a Red Breasted Flycatcher in the nets and were going to release it at 10.05am !!!!

The time was 9.58am by the time we got back to the car !! will we make it on time to see it ??? well all i shall say is i parked up in the Obs car park at 10.06 am !!

Red Breasted Flycatcher

I have to say i am not a fan of birds in the hand however the guys at Dungeness Bird Observatory are very professional and handle the bird with great care and attention, they only showed it for a very short time indeed and released it in the moat where it stayed happily for the rest of the day.

The Red Breasted Flycatcher spent most of it's time in the Sallows near the road and every now and again you could hear it call.

This was a new bird for my Dungeness Bird List   (250th).

After the excitement of the RBF we had a walk down past the 'Patch' and had superb views of a quite stunning ♂ Black Redstart.


Wednesday 17 November 2021

Like Buses...... 2 New Kent Birds

                                                            11th November 2021 

                                                              Reculver Car Park


Pied Wheatear

We spent the morning on Sheppy checking the bushes at Leysdown for migrants without success however there were plenty of Finches moving overhead, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll & Chaffinch all in double figures.

We had a look for the Shorelarks and saw 4 fly up from the car park near Neptunes cafe and they flew inland to feed in the fields.

A walk out to the Blockhouse at Shellness produced more flyover Finches and a single Brambling in the car park the best of it.

Pied Wheatear

We decided to head to Swalecliffe and look for the Black Guillemot (A rare bird in Kent) which had been reported as showing well all morning.

Well despite scanning the sea for nearly an hour we had no luck , we were joined by Frank & Tom.C, plus Andrew Lipczynski but with the tide being out we could not locate the Black Guillemot.

Then Frank informed us that either a Pied or Black Eared Wheatear had just been found on the rocks at Reculver car park, we all abandoned our search for the BG and headed straight to Reculver.

Well 15 minutes later we arrived at Reculver and had great views of the now confirmed Pied Wheatear !!!

Here are a selection of photos taken by AE :

Pied Wheatear.

Congrats to Matt Hindle for a great find and putting the news out for us all to enjoy, this was a new bird for my Kent Bird List (354th).

Really enjoyed watching the Pied Wheatear  feeding on small insects on the rocks , then news came out that the Black Guillemot was again at Swalecliffe on the incoming tide.

I only had about an hours light left so decided to try again for the BG, I arrived on site and there was not a birder in sight to get any info from , i just scanned the sea with no luck and was joined by another birder, we decided to split up  to broaden our search.

I went further east towards the wooden bridge and scanned again and this time i got lucky and found the 1st winter Black Guillemot , great scope views were obtained and this was my 2nd new Kent bird of the day (355th)  !!!!

Black Guillemot Photo by Frank Cackett

I was soon joined by other birders including Frank Cackett who kindly let me use his photos on my blog (Thanks Frank).

Black Guillemot.