Sunday, 28 June 2015

Spoonbill at Scotney Gravel Pits

We popped down to Dunge this morning and enjoyed a very quiet sea watch with Gannet numbers building and a decent count of Common and Sandwich Terns passing but with the wind in our face and the sea quiet we moved on and did the moat walk where the Jim's went off to find Black Redstart for year ticks whilst I sat myself down and enjoyed the moat life. First a young Fox cub popped out from the bramble but quickly ran for cover when he noticed me. Whitethroat were calling and showed well after a while as did Dunnock but there was little else to report. We did eventually find the Black Redstarts on the power station perimeter fence.

Herring Gull at Dungeness
Dunnock and Whitethroat
Common Whitethroat
A quick drive along the reserve track gave views of Marsh Harrier and a few Warblers but was otherwise quiet and the reserve was closed when we arrived at 9.15am which seemed a little strange.

We moved on to Scotney Gravel Pits in search of Spoonbill and after a while located two at the Sussex end of the pit. A drive further down the road into Sussex and we managed a couple of shots from the road. A nice mornings birding and home for lunch too so all's good in the browny point department.

Spoonbills on Scotney Gravel Pit

Year list now at 243

and an afternoon in the garden gave me the opportunity to grab a couple of images too.....

House Sparrow
Young Robin

Saturday, 27 June 2015

River Roding




Little Egret



Half hour along the River Roding this morning delivered the above along with a couple of Little Owls that didn't quite sit up for the camera. I did manage a small improvement in the Swift shot but I've still left room to improve so I'll keep trying to get the image I want with a bit more sharpness.

Grabbed the below Swift shot too....still not quite what I want it to be but a small improvement on the first efforts.


Friday, 26 June 2015

Baby boom

Just sitting out in the garden today I couldn't help notice how many young birds are enjoying my feeding station. I put out seed all year and the local feathered population seems to benefit.

Today alone I have had young, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Robin and Starling all taking full advantage of the feeders and enjoying picking insects from the leaves in the trees too.
Just good to see so many doing so well and I hope that my stocking up of the feeders has helped in some small part. The garden is alive with parent birds tending newly fledged birds and it's great to see.

Who'd have thought Frankentit could have produced this little charmer
ps....Last night I tried to get a shot of one of the regular Swifts that hawk over the garden but fell at the first. Back in the saddle I'll be trying to improve on the image below.

Tia "The special one"
Tia has enjoyed watching the birds too today, that is the small ones anyway, Doves, Pigeons and Magpies are quickly chased off to allow the smaller guys to get a look in.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

A bit more Bempton

Barn Owl at Bempton Cliffs RSPB
Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Northern Gannet at Bempton Cliffs RSPB
3rd year bird gaining more of the adults white plumage
Adult Gannet
4th Year bird retaining some dark feathers in the tail and wings

Trying to land amongst the Kittiwakes
Gannet at Bempton
Just great birds to watch!
Just a stunning place to visit.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Another trip "up north"

I've had three days in Yorkshire this week so took in a couple of hot spots during my stay.
First stop was Blacktoft Sands where a walk to Singleton hide revealed the Ring-necked Duck and a female Montagu's Harrier. The duck was tucked away and only just viewable in the scope whilst the harrier put a great show flying across the back of the reedbed for about forty minutes. Sadly the male bird didn't show whilst I was there but Marsh Harriers did in good numbers. The reserve volunteer told me the Montagu's were feeding young so that's encouraging and the Marsh Harriers raised twenty one young last season so they're doing something right here. A very nice reserve with a good selection of hides with easy access and only a short walk from the car park. Singleton is best to watch for the Monty and it's only a five minute walk.

Marsh Harrier
I also visited Bempton Cliffs and enjoyed great views of a Barn Owl hunting from the visitor centre and lot's of Tree Sparrow around the feeders. At the cliff face Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Guillemot and Puffin were all well represented and the noise was impressive. I love these seabird colonies as they're just so alive with constant comings and goings and little drama's on every ledge as birds look after young and try to find a little space to land etc.  Throw in a quick stop of at Flamborough Head and my whistle stop tour was over but it did bag me three year ticks taking the list to 242

Tree Sparrows making little Tree Sparrows
Barn Owl
Barn Owl 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

return of the Oare Marsh Bonaparte's Gull

So the Bonny Gull has returned to Oare Marsh in Kent and this helped us decide on todays trip. Being quite local and having a decent bird we opted for Kent against Norfolk and the possibility of Marsh Warbler and White-rumped Sandpiper. Leaving home at 5am we pulled into Oare at 6.05am and watched a Barn Owl hunting over the marsh. With no sign of the gull I left the Jims and walked to the hide where I quickly located the Bonaparte's Gull on East Flood and after putting news out and calling the Jim's I sat back and enjoyed first the Barn Owl and then a Marsh Harrier along with the Gull and the large number of waders on the flood.
Godwits and Avocets were present in decent numbers with the odd Curlew, Ostercatcher and Redshank out on the mud.

Barn Owl 
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
Bonaparte's Gull always distant but showed well in the scope
Black-tailed Godwit
We visited Elmley on the way home where we had Hobby, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Yellow Wag, Stock Dove and Skylark to mention a few. Lapwings and Redshank are still present but in very small numbers as the fields are now very dry moving most waders out onto the estuary. We encountered an entertaining group of Linnets and Swallows visiting a puddle on the way out of the reserve so stopped to grab a few images before making our way home.

Stock Dove

Young Swallow
A decent day in Kent with the weather being grey windy and very cold for the end of June but the year list has trickled up to 239 now