Bempton Cliffs.

Bempton Cliffs.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

** Dungeness RSPB Reserve. **


I wasn't sure as to know where to go today but I chose Dungeness. Before going to the reserve Pam and I went for lunch at The Pilot Inn. After that we headed to the reserve when I saw a couple of birders at the roadside by the entrance to the power station. I stopped to ask what they was looking at and I was told that there was a Common Crane flying high over the power station, it was Dave Walker that told me, from the observatory. After being there for about 5 minutes or so a police motor pulled up and asked us what we was doing, apparently someone phoned them, but after Dave explained all was OK.
It never appeared, it had flown off towards Denge Marsh.
When we got to the reserve I went into the centre and asked about the crane and I was fold that a short while ago it flew over there, typical.
I went to the Makepeace Hide, not somewhere I normally stop at, but I am glad I did. There was a few wader species on various islands, those being, WHIMBREL, GREY PLOVER, RINGED PLOVER, OYSTERCATCHER, and LAPWING. There are still a couple of Pintails and Wigeon there along with all the usual birds those being: G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, B/H/Gull, G/C/Grebe, Dabchick, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveller, Shelduck. Quite a few of these was seen at the places I looked. There was also 7 COMMON TERNS putting on a good display feeding, but the highlight for me was was watching 4 HOBBY'S.
From here I went to Denge Marsh Hide which was quiet, but I did manage to add a few more species to the days list, Marsh Harrier, Grey Heron, Greylag Geese. When I got back to the car I realised that I had lost a lens cap off of my bins, so I walked back to the hide, but no luck,but just as I got back Pam said that there was a bird of prey bird sitting on a post not far from the car, I quickly got the bins on it and it was a Hobb, I have never seen a Hobby sitting on a before.
Final stop off was ARC Pit. I was the only one there which suited me. There was many SAND MARTIN and SWALLOWS about, on the way to the hide CETTI'S WARBLERand SEDGE WARBLER was in good voice, and on the way back to the car I added CHIFFCHAFF ,a Great Tit, and a Pied Wagtail.
While I was preparing to leave I heard a very distinctive call, that of the CUCKOO. It didn't sound too far away so I scanned the area and I found it sitting on the top of a tree to the right of the hide, I was even able to zoom the scope up to 60x, it looked terrific, it then flew low over the water into a tree to the left of the water tower.
My " Bird Of The Day" is the ** CUCKOO **


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

** Dungeness RSPB Reserve And Some Good Birds Seen **

Took another trip to Dungeness RSPB reserve today because apart from the birds, I promised Pam a meal at The Pilot Inn. We didn't leave home that early so by the time we got to the reserve it was about 2pm. I didn't do many hides today, I started off at the Firth Hide, but after a good look around I didn't see anything out of the ordinary apart from a couple of Dunlin, and 3 Oystercatcher, so my next was to be the Denge Marsh Hide, but not before stopping off at the dipping pool. I stopped of to see if the LONG EARED OWLS was still about, I did see one, along with 3 other people, but there was no sign of the other owl.
At the Denge Marsh Hide I stayed quite a while because I was looking for 1 particular bird and it didn't take long to find it, because it was grazing with the Greylags, the bird in question is a WHITE FRONTED GOOSE. There was a few Marsh Harriers about, doing what they do best, and some really nice Great Crested Grebes in their breeding plumage, but that was about all.
There was 2 stop off points I was going to go, the first was the pool on the right when you come passed the farm house, I cannot remember the name of it, but after parking up for a while and looking all over with the bins I found it, the RING NECKED DUCK. It was a lot easier this time because it was hanging around with the Tufties. 
So, so far so good, there was one to look for and this one was going to be a bit harder, I knew it was about and where it was hanging out. It wasn't the looking that was going to be the hardest, it was where to park, it was on the new diggings and only really visible from the road, well I say road it is more like a race track, I am sure a lot of you know what I mean. Anyway we parked up at the very end on the left in a nice pull of place where one can get good views of the pit. I did get out of the car, but it was so blowy it was not easy standing there, so I asked Pam to turn the car side ways on so that I could check it out from inside. I looked up and down as best I could, half of the pit was in a direct sun so I had to forget that bit, but after a short while I saw this small bird on the left side not far out from the bank. It spent equal amount of time on the surface as it did diving, but when it was up and showing well it looked really resplendent in it's breeding plumage, oh the bird I am talking about is a BLACK NECKED GREBE. It was close enough to see it's yellow/gold ear tufts against it's black head and neck. Why it is still here I have no idea, but I am glad it is.
The next bit is very easy, my "Bird Of The Day" It can only be the  ** BLACK NECKED GREBE **




** Oare Marsh On 6TH April 2017 **


Yesterday afternoon Pam took me down to Oare Marsh, the temperature was 16c. I was surprised that it wasn't very busy, We had no problem parking down the road. After setting up my scope and settling down on my seat I got ready to start scanning around, but the first thing I had to do was take a couple of pictures of Marsh Frogs that was calling from all directions.
Back to the birds.The most numerous birds there was Black tailed Godwits, I am not into counting large numbers, all I can say is there was a few hundred about, quite a few was in breeding plumage. The other waders there was Avocet, Redshank, Oystercatcher Curlew, and Lapwing. On the duck front was: Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Shoveller, Shelduck, Mallard. Other species seen on the East Scrape was: Greylags, Cormorants, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen and Dabchick, not including the gulls, those seen was L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, and B/H/Gull. Also while I was scanning through the group of B/H/Gulls I discovered that there was 2 MEDITERRANEAN GULLS  in breeding plumage and looking resplendent. I also spotted a B/H/Gull with a ring on it's right leg with 2FPX on it. Birds of prey seen was: Marsh Harrier(M&F), Buzzard(5), and a male Kestrel. Small birds seen: LINNET, SKYLARK, Reed Bunting, on the Reed Bunting front, the 2 males that have been feeding in my garden all winter are still here), Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Cetti's Warbler, Starling, Robin, Green Woodpecker, plus C/Crow, Magpie, W/Pigeon,

I had no problem picking my Bird Of The Day and that is the bird with the crimson breast and that is the ** LINNET **
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Below are a few scenic shot that I took from Oare.
The oil seed rape shot below was taken en route.







Sunday, 26 March 2017

** Day Out To Leysdown. **

Pam and I took a run down to Leysdown yesterday(Saturday 25/3/2017) seeing as it was such a nice day. We drove down to the beach area and parked up for a while, there was a few birds feeding at the water's edge, they was: Herring Gull, B/H/Gull, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, and Curlew.
I did take a couple of pictures of a few gulls, but birds in flight is something I struggle with.







When we left it was getting on for sunset so we took a drive down Harty Ferry Road and parked up a Capel Fleet and waited. Here are a couple of pictures that I took.







Tuesday, 21 March 2017

** Good Weather & Good Birds @ Dungeness RSPB Reserve.**

After waking up today to a sunny morning I decided to make the most of it and go out birding to Dungeness.I spent my time on the reserve knowing that there was some good birds there, knowing is one thing though, seeing them is another, but as it happens all came good. First place visited was Christmas Dell Hide where I had great views of the drake SMEW. I was hoping to see it before it leaves, and I don't know if I will see one next winter. I then had a quick look from Scott Hide but all was quiet there apart from c25 Tufties all huddled together in the right corner out of the wind and some Cormorants nest building.
I then spent quite a while in Firth Hide.There was a good number of birds on the water, nearly all of what one would expect to see, apart from a couple, the first being a couple of female GOLDENEYE and 2 lovely female GOOSANDER which was preening on one of the islands near to the Makepeace Hide. The other species seen was: Mallard, Gadwall, Shelduck, Shoveller, Teal, Pintail, Coot, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Cormorant, G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, B/H/Gull, C/Crow. The only waders seen here was 2 Oystercatcher.
I couldn't leave this part of the reserve without looking at the LONG EARED OWL, I say owl because only one had been reported being seen.
I then went to Denge Marsh Hide, and by now although it was still bright sunny the wind had suddenly increased. I did see 1 of the 2 EGYPTIAN GEESE that have been reported. Other birds added to those seen so far was: Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, G/C/Grebe, 2 Marsh Harrier(1 stunning male), Moorhen, Mute Swan, Lapwing, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Magpie,  Jackdaw.
From here it over to the ARC Pit, Hanson Hide. With the wind hitting the back of the hide and all calm in front made  it a delight to sit there. It wasn't brimming with birds, but what had to be the brightest bird on the water was a drake GOLDENEYE, there was also 2 females with him and another 4 female in the far right corner, but what I wasn't expecting to see, although I don't know why not because it is about that time for them to arrive and that was 2 SAND MARTIN. I then decided to make my way back to the car, I had kept Pamela waiting long enough.
So,  my "Bird of the Day" is to be the ** SAND MARTIN**. Watching these little birds franticly feeding and then thinking about the hours on the wing that these two have spent to get here, many don't make it, makes these two of the lucky guys.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Mediterranean Gull Still Around at Sharps Green. **

Last week Pam went to Sharps Green just along from Riverside Country Park, Gillingham, where she was chatting her friend on hers way back from Rainham, and when she got home she couldn't wait to tell me that she saw a MEDITERRANEAN GULL  there on the beach car park with the B/H/Gulls, so being in the area today we went there for a look. We got there at 15:45, and it flew in to join the other gull just before 4PM. It was so close that I could admire it without getting out of the car, but through the bins and being in full breeding plumage it looks wonderful. My photo's don't do it justice.
Below: BLACK HEADED GULL
Below: COMMON GULL.
The other birds there was 5 Turnstones on the beach, There was a mixed flock of Redshanks, Oystercatchers, and a wader species that I haven't seen this year until now and that was GREY PLOVER. They was roosting on the old steel hull out in front. On the water was Cormorant, G/C/Grebe, Mallard, and Teal.
I cannot exactly pick a bird of the day so it will have to be a Bird of the Hourand it can only be the ** MEDITERRANEAN GULL **.
This morning I saw this bird a sitting admiring itself on a car mirror near home. It came back a couple of times, vanity or curiosity?

Thursday, 2 March 2017

** Successful Trip To Dungeness RSPB Reserve.**

I went to Dungeness RSPB reserve a short while ago looking for 2 particular birds, but I dipped out so I thought I would give it another go. It was a Lovely day apart from the strong wind. When I got there I called in the centre to see if they had been seen today and I was told yes, brilliant all I had to do was find them, but that was easier than I thought because other had found them before me, so all I had to do was ask them where to look. If I say that the first was at the back of the dipping pond then that should be a big clue, the bird or should I saw birds was sitting in the trees  at the back, it was just my luck, there was branches in front of them which ruined the chance of any decent pictures of them, plus the sun was in front of me, the birds in question are the 2 LONG EARED OWLS. Picture below is crap but hey it's a record shot.


So 1 down 1 to go, and this one is one of my top 3 birds. I was told that it was at either at Christmas Dell Hide, or Firth Hide so we drove around to Scott Hide and I then took a very slow walk. I scanned from here for about 20 minutes but nothing so I headed back. Now when I got back to the car for some reason I decided to pop into Scott Hide, call it a omen but when I entered and saw about 6 birders all looking in one direction I asked them what they was looking at and when they told me I thought "Yesss", and there it was out in front close to the Cormorant island the fragile looking drake SMEW. What a bird! So now I could relax and enjoy the other birds that was around. Apart from male and female GOLDENEYE I saw nothing unusual. The Marsh Harriers was have a tough time battling in the wind. I didn't go to the ARC Pit today I called it a day. The full list of species I saw was as follows:
G/B/B/GULL, L/B/B/GULL, HERRING GULL, COMMON GULL, B/H/GULL, CORMORANT,  MARSH HARRIER, L/E/OWL, COOT, DABCHICK, G/C/GREBE, MUTE SWAN, CANADA GEESE, GREYLAG GEESE, MALLARD, POCHARD, TUFTED DUCK, GADWALL, TEAL, SMEW, GOLDENEYE, SHOVELLER, WIGEON, SHELDUCK, LAPWING, C/CROW, MAGPIE, JACKDAW, W/PIGEON, C/DOVE, STARLING, REED BUNTING, GREAT TIT, L/T/TIT, BLUE TIT, H/SPARROW, CHAFFINCH.
We went home via Walland Marsh because I had read that there was some new born lambs about, I love seeing them they are amusing, I think watching them cheer up anyone. We did see the, there are quite a few, including about 5-6 black ones, normally we only see 1 or 2.



As we drove slowly up the road there was a sheep with 2 little ones right close to the fence, and she did not like us being there one bit, she lowered her head and stared at us with the look of protection for her young.
We then went on our way, and between there and the main road we saw a Marsh Harrier and good views of 2 Common Buzzards.
So, my ** Bird of the Day** has got to be the one and only ** DRAKE SMEW.**