Bempton Cliffs.

Bempton Cliffs.

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.
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:
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.**


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

** Halling Walk. **

I took a stroll to the river today to see if I could find something new for the year list, I went via Bailey the  local horse, there is no way I can go that way without taking some food with me, I have been feeding her for so long when she sees me, as she does with others who feed her, she starts to walk over, today it was a carrot and a apple, although she is partial to extra strong mints, yes strange I know. I got to the river which was at half way to high tide, and the first birds seen was the usual Mallard, B/H/Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and Moorhens. I scanned the mud banks to look for any waders that are often feeding there  and today I found the bird I was hoping for because I haven't seen one there this winter, there is normally one present all winter, and that bird is a COMMON SANDPIPER. It was a bit distant at first but I did get a closer look later. The other wader species was Redshank, in total there was 10 of them. No Lapwing today.
My last stop off as usual was Marsh Road. The cattle field is well flooded now , which threw up a good number of Teal (32) Gadwall (9) and Moorhen (25). There was 9 Greylag Geese grazing at the back of the field, 4 male Pheasant was wandering about, and 2 Shelduck flew in to feed.  The Snipe seem to have disappeared. I did happen to see my first Bee of the year.
When I got home I put up the second of my 2 tit boxes,  both was used last year, one by Blue Tits, and the other by it's cousin the Great Tit, all birds fledged.
I then made myself a cuppa and did a garden watch and it turned up some good birds, The male BLACKCAP was having a good feed on the apples, the PIED WAGTAIL is constantly here, it flies straight in and lands on the bird bath just outside the window, it isn't bothered by me being there, the REED BUNTINGS I don't have to wait long for them to turn up, today there was 2 male and 2 female, one of the males in in it's breeding plumage looking very resplendent , the other one is not far behind. The surprise for me was seeing a solitary REDWING land on the top of the big tree at the bottom of the garden.
The other birds seen saw as follows:
Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon Magpie, Blackbird, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, Dunnock.
My " Bird of the Day " is the ** COMMON SANDPIPER **

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.