Bempton Cliffs.

Bempton Cliffs.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

** Elmley NNR With Satifaction.**

Today's birding was between Elmley NNR and Stodmarsh, I chose Elmley.I was there from 13:15 to 16:20. It was a beautiful day, calm, warm, ans sunny. I stayed in the Wellmarsh Hide,  I sat in "Ken's Corner", I initialled that spot shortly after the hide was moved and rebuilt in 2003, the other hides are a no no for me. But all the same it turned out to very enjoyable. On the wildfowl front there was a good number of birds, at the far end was a largish gaggle of Brent Geese, with smaller flocks of Canada and Greylag Geese.
All the duck species was looking good with the sun on them. Species seen was: Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveller, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall. Waders was very scare, as usual Lapwing was in good numbers,

other species was a few scattered here and there, Avocet (3) Curlew (9)Turnstone(1). There was 3 Red Legged Partridge preening on a mound just to the right of the hide.
My main aim was to look for birds of prey, and owls. I was expecting to see quite a few MARSH HARRIERS about, which there was, and up in the blue was even a pair sky dancing. I also saw 10 COMMON BUZZARDS. From here on it was a matter of waiting and looking, and my patients paid off, I managed to get 3 more species, 2 KESTRELS a female MERLIN on a post, and a PEREGRINE FALCON on a post eating it's catch. So I did manage to see some great birds, and I went away very happy...........BUT if someone had told me I was going to see what I did about a 1/4 to 1/2 way down the track leaving the car park I would not have believed them. When you see a couple of cars parked up one just has to stop and look, and it turns out to be 2 SHORT EARED OWLS.  1 would have done but 2? IT Didn't end there, another one was  on the opposite side of the track, Pam spotted it, bear with me, so there was the 2 out of the passenger window which I was watching, the 1 Pam was watching, and then another 1flew across the road behind us between us and another car. I could not believe what I was watching, I am willing to bet I will never see this again. Below is a few shot, it was difficult because the sun was behind this one just off to the left.

I could have stayed and watched them for ages but it was now 16:20 and the gates locked at 17:00.  There was also 7 Hares showing well.
The other species seen was: Mute Swan. Grey Heron. Herring Gull. B/H/Gull. Cormorant. Coot
(large numbers) Moorhen. Pheasant. Dabchick. C/Crow. Magpie. Stonechat. Robin.
This is where I pick my bird of the day, but today it has to be ** Birds Of The Day** and that is the ** SHORT EARED OWLS**.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

** Waxwings At East Malling (With Help)**

Today Pam and I had to go to Salisbury's at Larkfield so I had a brainwave of stopping off at East Malling to see if I could see the Waxwings.We parked up at the church and I had a wander along the path but to no avail. I had read about the path near the railway line to scan from but I hadn't looked in that area yet.
I watched the usual places but nothing so I walked to the end of the path, and as I got to the road a motor pulled up and the driver spoke to me, I must admit I didn't recognise him at first because I haven't seen him for ages, it was Ross of "The Bald Birder and Moffer" He told me where they had been seen and I felt privileged as to have been taken by him to the spot,but after checking the area out they wasn't there, but I did see FIELDFARE. He then dropped me off at the path where he met me and I started off back to the car and Ross headed back to work. Before I got far he phoned me and said that he has just seen some WAXWINGS, so he came back for me, he's a good lad When I got to his motor he was talking to Adam Whitehouse of who followed us back to see them. Adam stayed with me  to see them which was great, and afterwards he run me back to Pam who was waiting at the church. Thank you Adam.
As we left I asked Pam to drive me round to where I had just come from, apparently there is a cafe there where the public can go for a cuppa, I hope it is OK me mentioning it, anyway we parked at the gate for a few minutes and a short distance in the field on the first pile of apples was a nice flock of 29 WAXWING.
I took my camera out with me but there was no way I was going to get any pics, not in that wind, but still I got what I went for.
Anyway, thank you Ross, thank you Adam for all your help.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

** My Big Garden Bird Watch.**

On Sunday 29th January 2017 at 10:30 I did my 1 hour Big Garden Bird watch, below is the birds I saw:
At the end of the hour I made a coffee and sat and watched for a little longer, hoping that I might get to see all 3 Reed Buntings feeding together they have been turning up most days, but today wasn't to be one of them, what did turn up was the Grey Wagtail again with the Pied Wagtail following it, and just as  I was leaving the L/T/Tits came to feed. Still, "That's birding for you", but the main thing was the pleasure I got from doing it.

Friday, 27 January 2017


Yesterday I spent quite a while birding from my kitchen window to see what birds turned up, and I wasn't disappointed, in total 20 species touched down either on the ground or on the feeders. The usual species turned up which now includes a GREY WAGTAIL which is turning up on most days and keeps coming back through out the day, it loves feeding on fat ball droppings as well as what ever else it can find, I am having trouble getting a picture of it through the double glazing as it seldom comes that close.
The other birds coming to feed is REED BUNTING , 2 male and 1female turned up yesterday, plus 1 male BLACKCAP and 1 female. I am hoping these birds turn up when I am doing my BIG GARDEN BIRD WATCH.
Finally I thought out some old soaked bread and I was surprised just how quick B/H/GULLS see it. They, being 4  was very unsure, they wanted drop in and take some but still circled over the garden, until one brave bird decided to go for it, and it landed and started eating,
the others wasn't so brave, but they did eventually swoop down, grab a bit and go. The rest was taken very quickly by a CARRION CROW, now that is a rare bird to have in my garden, and just as it filling was filling it's bill a Magpie had the same idea, but only got a few scraps.
The total list I had is: Carrion Crow. Magpie. B/H/Gull. W/Pigeon. C/Dove. Blackbird. Starling. Chaffinch. Goldfinch. Greenfinch. G/S/Woodpecker(m). Great Tit. Blue Tit. Long Tailed Tit.

Dunnock. Robin. Blackcap. Grey Wagtail. Reed Bunting. Song Thrush
I have got some good bird to choose for my ** BIRD OF THE DAY.** but I am going for the ** BLACK HEADED GULL.** I know it might me a strange choice to some people, but to watch it walking about on my lawn eating is something I may not see again.
Below are a few pictures, sorry about the quality.

Finally a very bad pic of the 2 male Reed Buntings.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

** Waxwings at Strood.**

I took a trip to Northfleet today to look for the Waxwings, and while I was there I had found out by one of the locals that they had not been seen, so after a short while I went back to The Bounty pub in Strood. I arrived just before 13:30 and Pam saw some birds fly up into the big tree opposite the pub, I quickly got my bins on them and I saw that there was  8 WAXWINGS in all. They spent most their time in this tree, but they did fly across to the small tree in the garden a couple of times. I stayed there until 3ish, and then left. The last time I saw them was at 2.45.
I may not have seen all of those at Northfleet but at least I did see some.
 I still cannot take pictures of birds up in trees, don't know what I am doing wrong, I will have practise at home. I did get a picture of one, it's not brilliant but at least  it is a record shot.

Friday, 6 January 2017

** Thursday & Friday 5th/6th Jan. Garden Birdwatching.**

I have spent the last 2 days doing a bit of garden birding, mainly because I haven't been able to get out and about yet.
DAY 1: Yesterday turned out to be a good day, apart from the usual species, 4 others dropped in to feed, the first was one I expected to see on new years day and that was a Greenfinch,the next one was a SONG THRUSH, then I had my first BLACKCAP, a male drop in to feed on the apples. The last one for yesterday     was a bird that I have only ever had visit when the weather has been bad, and that is a GREY WAGTAIL. No sooner had it landed when it made it's way over to the lumps of fat balls on the ground, after it's first visit it came back most of the afternoon. The other birds for that day was as follows: Blackbird, Starling, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, C/Dove W/Pigeon, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Magpie.
My first Bird Of The Day is the ** GREY WAGTAIL.**
DAY 2: Today started well, while waiting for the kettle to boil I looked out the window and I saw one bird on the hanging feeder, straight away I knew it wasn't a sparrow, it was a male REED BUNTING, the continue of it's wagging tail  gave it away, so if I saw nothing else different I was happy to add another one to my years list. Next job straight after coffee was to top up bird baths and then  the feeders, I should have done it the night before but I forgot. As yesterday and most other days the usual visitors, until 10:40 I had my first PIED WAGTAIL of the year drop in to feed on the same food as the grey wagtail did the day before, and to my surprise I turned to Pam and said " The GREY WAGTAIL is back". I couldn't believe, 2 wagtails feeding in my garden at the same time.
I spent more time watching then I intended to, sometimes it is hard to tear oneself away. I thew some old soaked bread out on the grass after lunch and while watching I saw a few 3 Black Headed Gulls over head, but they didn't want to drop in for any bread, all they did was to circle over head, until later in the afternoon while watching the Grey Wagtail again, which I hope will come back again tomorrow, one brave BLACK HEADED GULL decided to swoop down grab a slice of bread and fly off, that was the last I saw of them, but that wasn't the only birds with their eye on it, I have had magpies in the garden feeding but not a CARRION CROW, I have had them sitting in the tree's before and flying over low but not come in for food, it visited twice all told.
Now for today's Bird Of The Day, that is going to be the CARRION CROW, for coming to feed in my garden.

Monday, 2 January 2017

** New Years Birding. Lists Starting.**

So another year goes by, and a new years listing begins. I normally like to go further out than Halling on the first day of the year, but this time I decided against it. Considering how many others would be out doing the same thing, list making I have decided to go a few day later, but it will have to be soon, there are some good birds at Dungeness at the moment, so I thought I would start from home then wander around Halling to see what was about.
I watched from the kitchen window for quite a while from early morning and as I expected the regulars came in to feed apart from a PIED WAGTAIL which is a rare visitor for me. the other species that visits on and off is LONG TAILED TITS but I don't see as many as 11 at once. The other birds was: Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, C/Dove, Wood Pigeon, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, H/Sparrow, Starling, Robin, fly overs was: B/H/Gull, C/Crow, Magpie.
I left home on my walk at about 11am, the weather wasn't brilliant, dull with threats of rain. My first stop had to be to feed Bailey in the paddock around the corner, she loves her apples. I then made my way to the river, nothing different was seen on the way. Once there I saw the usual, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Mallard, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Redshank, C/Crow. After a longish rest I made my way around to Marsh Road, to get there I have to go through a large grassed area by the play ground, and no I didn't stop at the swings. There was quite a bit of activity on the grass, first of all a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER  flew across in front of me, then the was 3 SONG THRUSH'S picking at food, and they was not alone, spread out there was many blackbirds with them I don't think I have ever seen so many at  one time.I didn't stop anywhere else on the way, well it wasn't far down the road to the 5 bar gate at the cattle field.
Once I was there I got myself settled and started scanning around, firstly looking for the winter thrush's that I had seen recently, it didn't take me long, there are a lot of berry bushes and tree's over to the right. I didn't see a great number this time, but there was a small gathering of FIELDFARE and REDWING. I was pleased with that. At this point it started spitting, I was just about to find a tree to stand under when something else caught my eye along with the  many Moorhen that I usually see, it was SNIPE. Now on my last visit I saw a few together but I wasn't sure I was seeing what I was. There was Snipe as far out as the Moorhen feeding, and I started counting them and from there, right back to the wet boggy area under the berry tree's there was a total of 11. Now I had to count them again and I wasn't imaging it. for a moment I was lost for words.
I took my flask of single malt with me as I do at this time of year and if I ever needed a sip it was now.
The light rain stopped and after the Snipe I could start looking around the rest of the field. The Teal was doing what they do and a something else caught my eye, 6 wildfowl circled around and dropped in at the back of the field. I haven't see these for a few years here and that was on the river, they was GADWALL, 4 male, 2 female.I thought to my self "I am glad I came out".  I had had a good day and I had almost had enough, hurting by now, but I wanted to stay to see if the 2 other species turned up, I have seen them on each occasion lately so I had to hang on so I squatted on the gate the best I could, it started spitting again but  it is surprising how quickly you can ignore something, as I hoped the GREY WAGTAIL arrived feeding in the same area as a Pied Wagtail, on the sodden remains of the straw bales, I was able to see if it was male of female I didn't get that good a view, but hey, I saw it. Well I might have over done it but it was worth it, especially when a MEADOW PIPIT landed in the field at the top of Marsh Road. A couple of other species that I saw on my way back that never came in to feed in my garden was Greenfinch and Dunnock.
Well I wasn't feeling too good when I got home I had been out longer than normal, but boy was it worth it, finding what I did yesterday meant more to me finding them on my local patch then all the others that I would have seen else where, what I saw here I may not see again.
I normally pick a "Bird of the Day". I have decided to go for quantity not looks, and that honour has to go the **SNIPE.**.