Monday, 6 April 2015

** Oare Marsh. 5th April + Harry is back.**

Yesterday, 5th April I went to Oare Marsh with a couple of really good friends of mine. The weather was bright sunshine, but a little breezy. The night before, I checked on line to see if anything out of the ordinary had been seen there,and there had, it was a pair of Garganey, but alas the whole time we was there they never showed. we set up our spotting post in the lay by half way down the road.
There wasn't as many birds there as I thought there might have been, but there was enough to keep me interested. The largest number of birds species was Black Tailed Godwits, followed by Avocets. One of the Avocets had leg rings which was all above the knee. On it's left leg was blue above a green rings and on the right leg was from top to bottom, cream, yellow, orange. I am always curious to find out what I can about ringed birds so I did what I usually do and that is send my sighting to the B.T.O.
About 40 minutes later I had my first sighting of a SWALLOW. It flew across the east scrape heading north east. I also saw my first SKYLARK. Seeing and hearing Skylarks on a sunny day, is a nice thing, I also think it makes you feel good.
Watching the usual species of birds going about their business is always relaxing, then at times something turns up that excites you for a while, and for my friends and I, it was 2 MEDITERRANEAN GULLS. While scanning the water I got to where most of the B/H/Gulls was, and then these 2 birds stood out like a sore thumb, they was both in their full breeding plumage, bright red bill, black head,and broken white eye ring, with the bright sun on them made them look wonderful.
A G/B/B/Gull made a couple of passes over the scrape putting the birds up. I was hoping that it might bring the Garganey out of hiding, but no such luck. The occasional Marsh Harrier made a appearance, and 3 Common Buzzards was soaring together high up in the bright blue sky.
The total species seen was: Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Cormorant, Mute Swan, G/B/B/Gull, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Dabchick, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Avocet, Black Tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveller, Shelduck, Pintail, Starling, Skylark, Swallow, Magpie, C/Crow, W/Pigeon.
We stayed until about 3.30pm before leaving for home.

            My "Bird of the Day" was  the  **MEDITERRANEAN GULL**.
While writing this post I am happy to say that Harry my Hedgehog is back, it is just outside the french doors, about 2 feet away from me. It made it's first appearance 2 nights ago.
 I am assuming (and hoping) that it is one of the 2 hedgehogs I was feeding last year right up until they hibernated. I have been putting dry meal worms out for about a week now, but now it's back I am feeding my hedgehog Chappie mixed with dry meal worms (only the best for my little friend)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

** Red Kite in Halling **

Today I took a walk down Marsh Road to the river. When I arrived the tide was high so I wasn't expecting to see much on the water. There was only a few birds about, they was Cormorant, Common Gulls, B/H/Gulls, Mallards.
There was more birds in the flooded field on the left going down the road which I checked out on the way back, but the highlight of my day was a bird that had me very very excited, in fact I couldn't wait to tell Pam about it when she came home from town. It has always been my favourite (no1) bird ever since I saw my first one in Wales. As you may have guessed it was the beautiful RED KITE.
I was just approaching the kissing gate at 1:15 when I saw this large bird fly over the salt marsh. I was could see what it was but then when you see something special like this you think to yourself, it can't be, can it? I did managed to get great views of it.
As it passed over the tree's towards the flooded field. I made my way through the gate to scan the area, hoping for another good look at it, but it was now heading in a north easterly direction.
There has been one seen recently up on the north downs, so there is a possibility that it might be the same bird.
I then stopped off at the flood to see the bird there, but all the time thinking about the Kite. There was 4 Shelducks, 4 Gadwall, 5 Moorhen, 1 Coot, 5 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, and 2 Little Egrets.
So, bright sunshine, nice birds, and a lifer for Halling which was my one hundred and first  species made my day complete.
I have no need to do a Bird of the Day because it is pretty obvious what it would be. I would have to have seen a real rarity to beat the RED KITE but even then I am not so sure it would.
P.S.  Yesterday afternoon I had a male SPARROWHAWK fly in and land on the feeding pole, sitting there with the sun shining on it was a lovely sight to see.

Monday, 23 March 2015

** 3 Hour Home Watch. **

This afternoon was beautiful weather so I decided to sit at the kitchen window and see which birds was still coming in to feed.
As usual I would mention all the regular species, but it has now come to the point where I can add a male BLACKCAP to that list, because since it started visiting back before christmas it hasn't stopped returning to feed. It is coming to feed on a fat cake in a bush just 15 feet from the window. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker came to feed on the fat balls and peanuts.The male REED BUNTING is still here, and looking very dapper.
As the afternoon moved on the weather got better, wind dropped, more blue in the sky, and up in the bright blue was 3 COMMON BUZZARDS  enjoying the thermals, and at one point I found myself having to nip out into the garden to watch one of them go over,
The other species that flew over was: C/Crow, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull.

Before I write my days list, yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the lounge when I heard this strange scuffling type noise coming fom the kitchen. I turned around and there was this Long Tailed Tit flapping/hovering at the window and occasionally tapping it with it's feet. As I neared the window it flew off, shortly after it did it again. This left me well puzzled, anyway after I told Pam I put it out of my mind. Today I was sitting on the sofa and  Pam heard a strange noise. She turned around and she saw what was probably the same bird sitting on the window sill. She quickly told me and as I got up it lifted up, fluttered at the window as yesterday then flew off. Will it return tomorrow, watch this space.

My days list is as follows: Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, H/Sparrow,  Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Blackbird,  C/Dove, W/Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, C/Crow,  Common Buzzard, B/H/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull.

By home birdwatching ** Bird of the day **  has to be the = All singing, all dancing  *** Long Tailed Tit. ***

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

** First garden watch for weeks.**

For the 1st time for weeks yesterday(24th) I spent a short time in the afternoon having a look out of the kitchen window.
I had to go out and fill the feeders up as they have been empty for a couple of weeks, something I really didn't want to due to still feeling rough, I am trying to be a bit more now.
At first I noticed  lack of birds, but they soon started to return, guess they know where they are well off.
At first the usual birds was seen, but after a while the male Blackcap returned, then 2 male  Reed Buntings showed up on the hanging table, one showing more breeding plumage than the other, then later on while waiting for the kettle to boil out of the corner of my eye I saw a large Bird fly into the small tree, I soon knew what it was,  male Sparrowhawk.I think seeing the other birds make a quick exit (passerines 1- Sparrowhawk 0 )
The other birds seen was as followed:  Blackbird, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock.

Friday, 20 February 2015

** Still alive and kicking.......just. **

Just in case any of my fellow bloggers and readers have wondered what has happened to me, well Pam and I  have both been ill and are still recovering, me with a serious flu illness(god it knocks you for six)and Pam with bronchitis on top of her asthma, but as Arni says "I will be back."
I hope all you bloggers out there are having a great start to the year. I must start catching up soon with what is going out out there in the big wide world. Later guys.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

** Friday 16th January.. **Dungeness RSPB reserve via Walland Marsh and Denge Marsh Rd.**

This is my first day is my first proper day birding of the year, so I decided on Walland Marsh, and Dungeness RSPB reserve plus a trip down Denge Marsh Rd to see if the Cattle Egret was showing.
It was a lot of running around for Pam, but she was happy to do it in the hope I might see some of the decent birds that are around at the moment. We left home in the rain, and it didn't stop raining until we go to Dungeness.
We started off at Walland Marsh seeing all the usual/commoner species. We stopped off at the house with the feeders in the garden to see the TREE SPARROWS. I counted 8. After moving on I spotted a COMMON BUZZARD sitting on a post in the distance, and another one was seen about 400/500 yards further on. After having a good look at the first Buzzard we moved taking it easy in the hope of finding the Bewicks, and knowing that there was a good number of them it didn't take me to long to find the BEWICK SWANS. I counted 86, but after having a good scan I was not able to find the Whooper Swan that has been seen with them, but I was compensated by seeing the BEAN GOOSE that has been in the vicinity. I was not able to see if it was a tundra or taiga, so if anyone can tell me I would be grateful.
The total species seen en route to Lydd is as follows: Mute Swan, Bewick Swan, Bean Goose, Common Buzzard, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Pheasant, Moorhen, B/H/Gull, Herring Gull, C/Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, W?Pigeon, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Robin, Blackbird.
The rain hadn't eased off when we got to Lydd and I wanted to pop along to Scotney Pits to see what was showing, but by the time we got there it started raining harder, so it was birding from the car. I was not able to find any of the Emperor, or Barnacle Geese, all I was seeing was what you would expect to see, so not staying long it was off to Denge Marsh Rd to look for the egrets. I knew where to look because Alan Woodcock went there recently and he told me where to go. No sooner had I arrived and there they was, the 2 CATTLE EGRET. They was in with the cattle that was feeding, it was a wonder they didn't get trodden on. I did get some good views of them, albeit brief. There was also 2 Littte Egrets in the field with them.
From here it was on to Dungeness reserve. This was at about 1pm-1.15pm, and the rain had finally stopped, virtually no wind, but cloudy.
Now I have been to some reserves that have got bad approach tracks, but this one takes some beating. It has been pretty bad over previous years but this is bad, put it this way, I will not be going thee again until their track has been repaired.
Anyway back to the birds, There wasn't much on the notice board so I made Scott Hide my first stop. The first thing that I saw was Cormorants, dozens of them, many resting up in the trees on the island straight out in front of the hide. A couple of redhead SMEW was swimming in and out of the tree's to the right, 2 female GOLDENEYE was mixed in with the other wildfowl, A GREAT WHITE EGRET flew over head, and myself and another birder watched a Coot diving and catching fish, a first for me. Apart from the Smew and Goldeneye there wasn't anything out of the ordinary to write about. As we drove back to the centre a female Marsh Harrier passed over head.
Once again we had to take on the track that would give a 4x4 a run for it's money so that we could get to the ARC pits.
I was shocked when I entered the hide, I wasn't able to sit in 'Ken's Corner', still not the end of the world. plus the sun was now shining, about time to.
Coming over here was the place to be, I ended up seeing some good birds. GOLDENEYE(2m,4f)
RUDDY DUCKS(1m,2f) SMEW(3F) GOOSANDER(2F) GREAT WHITE EGRET(2) A BITTERN flew out from the reeds, far to the left, across the water and out of sight. Then shortly before I was leaving, there was just one other person in the hide at this time we was both treated to  a male KINGFISHER putting on a show. It flew in from left to right and sat in one of the overhanging tree's  not far from the hide. It watched the water from the upper branches, dived and brought it's catch up to the lower branches to feed.

As this happened shortly before I was going you could say that this was the icing on the cake.
The species seen on the reserve though out my visit was as follows: G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Coot, Moorhen, G/C/Grebe, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Little Egret, G/W/Egret, Grey Heron, Bittern, Shoveller, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Pochard, Wigeon, Pintail, Tufted Duck Goldeneye, Smew, Ruddy Duck, Goosander, C/Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Great Tit, Blue Tit, L/T/Tit, Kingfisher.

My "Bird of the Day" is   ** The KINGFISHER.**

Saturday, 3 January 2015

**New years day, birding at home.**

Well here I am again, starting my 2015 bird list. Unlike most years when I normally go out for the day  this one had to be started off at home, because since Boxing Day Pam has been ill with bronchitis, and having asthma as well is not good.
I suppose I spent about 5 hours on and off making my list. As you would expect I saw all the usual species of birds but in between those, that is when you hope for that something different. I wasn't asking for anything that would make me say "Yess"  although that would have been nice, just some of the not so common visitors to turn up, it is always nice to clock them up early in the year.
The first uncommon bird to drop in was the Jay doing what it normally does when it visits, fills up with as many peanuts as possible then flies off. About 3 hours into my watch I was rewarded with not 1 but 2 Jays, they did exactly as they did last year, 1 stood quite contently on the ground until the other was finished before going to feed. At one point last year I had 3 visit  in one go. The peanuts might go down quick when the Jay arrives, but what a cracking bird to come and feed in the garden.

Shortly after the Jay left a male Blackcap flew in, straight for the apples on top of my home made apple tree. He stayed for quite a while, before heading off , but he didn't stay away for long, in fact the Blackcap hung around for most of the day, he always seemed to be there when I looked, on one occasion the female turned up while when he was feeding but she left as quickly as she arrived, I personally would have liked it to have been the female that was here all that time.

The last species to arrive was the female Reed Bunting. Once it arrive in the garden and started feeding on the seed with the H/Sparrows  it stayed for a fair while.
A Magpie dropped in  couple of times for a few scraps but that's not unusual.
Away from garden birds I also kept an eye on the sky. I saw a Cormorant fly over heading south, and a Common Buzzard sitting on a pylon. Other birds that passed overhead was C/Crow, Herring Gull, Common Gull (which are quite common around here) B/H/Gull.



As for my first *Bird of the Day* of the year I am going to pick that multi-coloured bird, the **
JAY **

(I took a gamble and bought myself a bridge camera at Christmas after reading that they can take good pictures, which if it does would be easier for me to take out and about when carrying my scope. The above pictures was taken using it through the kitchen window, but the condition of them is down to me by trying to improve the look, which I have overdone)