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.

Friday 12 November 2021

South Landing Flamborough

                               6th November 2021 : South Landing Flamborough 



Red Flanked Bluetail


On Saturday the 6th November i travelled up to South Landing Flamborough in the hope of seeing Taiga Flycatcher & Red Flanked Bluetail.

There was no news as we travelled towards Flamborough, then positive news came out that the Red Flanked Bluetail was still present but negative news on the Taiga Flycatcher .

Remaining high up in canopy

However we carried on our journey in the hope of the Taiga Flycatcher being re found, 20 mins away from South Landing the MEGA ALERT went off !!!!


Lovely orange flanks

 We arrived on site and made our way around  through the woods having great views of the Red Flanked Bluetail as we went.

Red Flanked Bluetail

We eventually reached the area the Taiga Flycatcher was favouring and saw it more or less straight away, it was keeping high up in the canopy affording good but brief views, it was hard to pick out at times until it flew then you could locate and watch it preen or catch a bug to eat.

Taiga Flycatcher

We watched the Taiga Flycatcher for over an hour getting some really great views however it stayed high up most of the time.

We went for another look at the Red Flanked Bluetail which was still showing well, then we went back to the Taiga Flycatcher as there was less people there now and the noise level had dropped which unsurprisingly made the Taiga Flycatcher come down lower to almost eye level.

Here are a selection of photos :

Taiga Flycatcher


Wednesday 3 November 2021

Papa Westray ......

                                          1st November 2021  :  Papa Westray 


Varied Thrush

News broke of this fantastic looking Thrush on Wednesday 27th October and i contacted my long distance twitching pal RR to see if it was do-able ??

His reply was it's a logistical nightmare !!, so we both decided to accept we were not able to go, however after seeing the online photo's and the fact other birders had made the journey inspired us to revisit the possibility of going.

 We decided as late as Saturday afternoon to make the effort , so everything was booked and we were on our way the early hours of Sunday morning.

It hopped rather than run.

Well everything fell into place and we had fantastic views of this superb looking bird on Monday 1st November.

Here are a selection of photos of the Varied Thrush :

Varied Thrush.

We were also lucky enough to see the 1st winter Grey Phalarope near Knap of Howar .

1st winter Grey Phalarope.

We only had an half hour window Tuesday morning before our flight back to Kirkwall and joined  Papa Ranger (Great to meet you) to look for the Varied Thrush but sadly alas we couldn't relocate it again.

A 15min flight got us back to Kirkwall and then off to catch the ferry ,we did have time before our ferry back to Gills Bay to check the harbour area out and had superb views of a Black Guillemot close in.

Black Guillemot.

Many thanks to Jennifer & crew for a very pleasant stay and big congrats to David Roche for his remarkable find, and many thanks to RR for his help in making this great trip possible.

Varied Thrush.