Thursday 21 December 2023

                                                       MERRY CHRISTMAS

Just like to wish everyone who has visited my Blog this year 








Tuesday 12 December 2023

Afternoon with the Owls at...........Elmley Marshes

                                            6th December 2023 :  Elmley Marshes


Short-eared Owl.

There has been very good numbers of Short-eared Owls reported on the Isle of Sheppey this winter so after checking the weather forecast i decided to head to Elmley Marshes to try and see some for myself.

 A slow drive down the entrance track towards the car park produced 2 Cattle Egrets, 1 Merlin & several Marsh Harriers.

I also had some very close views of Lapwing, 3 Ruff & several Skylarks.

On my arrival to a very packed car park i straight away saw 3 Short-eared Owls sitting out on posts.

Another Short-eared Owl on a post.

The weather was glorious , not a breath of wind & the sun was shinning , probably a little bit to much for photographs.

There seemed to be Short-eared Owls everywhere , i was reliably informed there is in fact 30 Short-eared Owls on the reserve !!!

I estimated i saw 15 in total. Here are a small selection of photos i took of the fabulous Short-eared Owls :

Short-eared Owl

Thursday 9 November 2023

Dungeness Seawatch plus Cooks Pool

                                                   4th November 2023 

                                                  Dungeness Seawatch

                                           830am - 1030am   &  12pm - 3pm

LEACH'S PETREL     1  west  (Mid distance view)


GREAT SKUA   3 west

ARCTIC SKUA  3 DP & 1 LP west

LITTLE GULL  20+  west

KITTIWAKE  200+ west

MED GULL  10 west & east





                                             Seen near Containers






                                                         RSPB : Cooks Pool 


3 Glossy Ibis.

GLOSSY IBIS  3  showed very well near road along entrance track.


Glossy Ibis.

Both Leach's Petrel & Purple Sandpiper were new species for my Dungeness Bird List !!

Tuesday 31 October 2023

New Bird for Kent & A Lifer .......... Solitary Sandpiper

                                    27th & 30th October 2023 



Solitary Sandpiper photo by Steve Clinch.

News of a Solitary Sandpiper seen at Stodmarsh on 15th October had got most Kent birders in a bit of a frenzy , a photograph had appeared online, however the area it was taken from was all a bit vague ?! which everyone involved in birding knows to well this can lead to doubt and all sorts of hidden plots can start to form.  

There were cry's of hoax by the dipping birding scene the very next day, however one thing was for sure everyone agreed it was a Solitary Sandpiper, however no one could recognize the place the actual  photograph was taken , 

Solitary Sandpiper photo by Andrew Lipczynski.

There was no other sighting of this bird until the 26th October so once again i headed to the Reed bed hide at Stodmarsh on the 27th and was joined by the Who's who of Kent birding .

After 2 hours 30 minutes and a few false alarms with a Green Sandpiper building our hopes up the Solitary Sandpiper was picked out feeding in the foliage at the back of the pool, i watched intently for roughly 1 & half mins trying to get all the ID details that make this a Solitary Sandpiper !!!

It didn't stay long and flew off to the left down the channel and out of sight, i spent another 2 hours in the hide but it never reappeared.

The Solitary Sandpiper showed really well on the Saturday morning from the Reed bed hide (however i was at home !!), a brief 2 hour visit Saturday afternoon drew a blank so i decided to head to the Boathouse on Monday morning.

30th October 2023


Another 4 hour vigil at Stodmarsh this time looking at a small patch of mud near the Boathouse , heavy rain came & went but no Sandpiper !!

I went back to my car for a drink and rest my back deciding whether to either give it a couple more hours or go home and be content with my Friday views ??

Then the magical Mega alert went off , the Solitary Sandpiper was back in the pool near the Tower hide, so off i went and finally after approx 10 hours in total i had the views i really craved for of this superb Solitary Sandpiper !!!

Here are a selection of photos i took of this superb bird :

Solitary Sandpiper

And here are a couple of Digi-scoped photos of the tail showing the dark bar running through the rump and tail plus the barring.

Dark through the rump & tail.

Barring on the tail.

The Solitary Sandpiper is not only a 1st for Kent but a new bird for me to.

Many thanks to Steve .C. & Andrew .L. for the use of their photos plus a big congrats to the original finder of the Solitary Sandpiper.



Monday 16 October 2023

New Bird for My Oare Marsh Bird list............Plus a Lifer in Wales

                                          22nd September 2023 

                              St. Govens Head Wales


Magnolia Warbler. Photo by Steve Clinch.

An early morning trip to South Wales proved very successful with superb views of this amazing Magnolia Warbler.

We saw it several occasions fly catching and just generally moving through the bushes, many thanks to Steve Clinch for letting me use his superb photo.

We also saw several Chough & Ravens.


29th September 2023
Oare Marshes


On the 29th September i went to Oare Marshes with AE and we had timed it right for high tide, there were huge numbers of waders coming into the East flood which kept us busy.

After awhile it quietened down a little bit and i got chatting to SC & others and then all of a sudden AE says,  '' i have got a DOTTEREL '' !!!!


I first thought it must be flying with the Golden Plover , so i was really surprised to see it close in to the Pull-in !!!

Dotterel all the above photos are by AE.

I took some Digi scope pics :


This was a proper confirmed Oare Marsh Life tick for me, i had seen one before distantly flying off with Golden Plovers and never felt happy with that view , so many thanks to AE for another great find !!!!

Monday 25 September 2023

New Bird for Kent ........American Cliff Swallow

                                                19th & 20th September 2023

                                                        Joss Bay  Margate 


American Cliff Swallow.

On Tuesday the 19th September i was at home recovering from a bad back which has been plaguing me for a couple of weeks when news of a Red Rumped Swallow at Joss Bay in Thanet appeared on BirdGuides, although i was tempted to head to Thanet  to see it the weather outside was overcast & very windy plus my back was still not 100% better.

Then everything changed !!!!! News then came out that this bird was indeed a possible American Cliff Swallow !!!!!!!!!

Bad back or no bad back i just had to make the effort and go, i loaded my car with Bins & camera , couldn't manage the scope but to be honest i didn't think i would need that anyway.

Eventually i reached Joss Bay car park not knowing if the possible American Cliff Swallow had been confirmed or not plus was it still here or had it buggered off whilst i was on route ???

I could only see one other birder looking over the Cliff edge , he didn't look like he was going to jump off , so that was a good sign i hoped !!

Then i saw 2 or 3 hirundines fly over his head and heading towards me, i checked them out and the first bird i saw was :


American Cliff Swallow.

This was an amazing experience , the views were absolutely superb , quite often very close overhead and even flying between us at times, i went down to the beach a couple of times and enjoyed some lower views as it flew very fast past the cliff face and much to fast to get a photo (for me anyway).

I did manage some however from higher up :

American Cliff Swallow.

The American Cliff Swallow is a first ever record for Kent and many congratulations to the finders and a big thankyou for putting the news out so quickly, this bird was also present on the 20th September.

It was also great to bump into so many familiar Kent birders on site & many thanks to Steve Ashton for giving my camera the once over (hopefully my photos will improve in due course).  

Thursday 31 August 2023

Red-Footed Booby on Bishop Rock

                                            21st August 2023 :  Bishop Rock

                                            Isle of Scilly plus Scillonian Crossings  


1st summer Pale Morph Red-Footed Booby.

As the title of this blog states, on Monday 21st August i joined my birding pal RR on the Scillonian MV heading towards St. Mary's, Isle of Scilly and then on to the pelagic vessel the Sapphire out towards Bishop Rock.

Our target bird was the quite exceptional Red-Footed Booby which had been remarkably seen on one of the previous weeks Pelagic trips!!

It was refound by the same expert crew from the Sapphire roosting on the Bishop Rock lighthouse a few days later.

We arrived on St. Mary's at approx 12pm and then went straight onto the Sapphire and we then headed off towards the Bishop Rock lighthouse, there had been no news all morning if the Red-Footed Booby was still present or not ??!!

We eventually reached Bishop Rock and the holy grail was sat up high  on the mesh , a huge sigh of relief & joy throughout the boat as we all connected with this remarkable bird.
Here is a small selection of the photos i took of the Red-Footed Booby :

Having a preen

Reddish feet

Pinkish bill

Red-Footed Booby.

The captain of the Sapphire Joe Pender did a great job manoeuvring his boat to get us the best possible views for which i am very grateful.

Other birds seen from the Sapphire were several close Cory's Shearwater, 1 Great Shearwater & a possible Scopoli's Shearwater.

Here are a selection of Cory's Shearwater photo's :

Cory's Shearwater.

Here are a couple of photo's of the possible Scopoli's Shearwater (any opinions on this appreciated)  :

Possible Scopoli's Shearwater.

We had a great crossing both ways on the Scillonian where it was great to bump into Rafael Mitchell & Mark Dawson .

We saw 70+ Cory's Shearwaters, 2 Great Shearwaters, 3 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 100's of Manx Shearwaters, 25+ Storm Petrels, 1 Arctic Skua & 1 Adult Long Tailed Skua.

We also saw a Risso's Dolphin & several Common Dolphins from the Scillonian plus a Sunfish & several Grey Seals  from the Sapphire.

Manx Shearwater.

Manx Shearwater.

Long Tailed Skua photo by Mark Dawson.

Long Tailed Skua Photo by Mark Dawson.

Many thanks to Mark Dawson for allowing me to use his superb photos of the Long Tailed Skua on my blog.