Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Caspian Tern at Rush Hill scrape Potter Heigham

Jim needed Caspian Tern for a life tick so we headed north this morning to the small village of Potter Heigham. We parked by the church and walked up the lane and then down the hedge line towards the trees. A quick walk through the trees and we arrived at the footpath. Turning East (right) we walked through the gate and arrived at the hide to find the Caspian Tern flying around behind the scrape.

Caspian Tern Rush Hill Scrape Potter Heigham
Caspo dropping in
Distant but great scope views!
A very obvious large bird with a very obvious large red bill. After a while the bird came back in and landed at the back of the scrape giving great scope views. Also on the scrape were a Little Stint with a few Dunlin, Green and Common Sandpiper, Avocets, Ruff, Blackwits, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Lapwing.

We left after a couple of hours and dipped Swallowtail Butterfly on the way home.

Year list now 250

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Black Redstart at Dungeness

A quick trip down to Dunge today rewarded me with a couple of year ticks.

Swallow at Dunge
First I found three Black Redstarts between the lighthouse and Observatory then on the beach a local put me onto a Yellow-legged Gull although apart from that and the usual Terns the only other bird of note was a single Arctic Skua. Two Peregrines hunted around the power station and took a pigeon whilst I watched them taking the kill back to the pilons to eat.

Hundreds of Swallows and Sandmartins sat on the wires along the back of Denge Marsh and I counted at least five Wheatear along with good numbers of Willow Warbler.

Sand Martin
Sand Martin
From Hanson hide I only found a couple of Ringed Plover and Common Sands along with Redshank, Lapwing, Blackwit, Ruff and Golden Plover on the wader count.

So two year ticks taking the year list to a pretty low mid August total of just 249.

Black Redstart
Resting Fox

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare Marsh

Another visit to Oare Marsh today in order for Jim to connect with the Dowitcher.
We arrived at about 7am and with the sun in our face from the path we walked up to the sea wall and quickly found the Bonaparte's Gull out on the mud to the east of the slipway. Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank and Turnstone added to the list here before we walked around the wall to view the East flood from the East with the sun behind us.

Long-billed Dowitcher ( and Curlew Sand, Ruff, Blackwit, Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank etc)
Long-billed Dowitcher (distant cropped record shot)
Dowitcher in flight
Bonaparte's Gull

The Dowitcher was showing well from here and gave great scope views as it walked up the edge of the reeds before flying out to join the Blackwits and roost. Two Curlew Sands and a pair of Spotshanks, Ruff , Dunlin, LRP and Snipe added to the wader count. A few Yellow Wagtails were present and Bearded Tit "pinged" as we stood watching the Dowitcher.
Back at the road and we added Common Sand and Little Stint to the day list before setting off for Elmley which was a total disappointment with zero water and zero birds!


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare Marsh

A meeting in Orpington today put me close enough to Oare to try for the LB Dowitcher that returned yesterday.
I arrived at 4.30 in the rain and scanned the hundreds of waders finding Blackwits, Avocet, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotshank, Knot, Snipe and Little Stint before eventually getting a shout from another guy that had located the Dowitcher in the far North East corner of East flood.

The drive home was a nightmare in heavy rain with the M25 and A2 being a real mess but I somehow cut through the traffic and made it home in about 90 minutes.

Year list now 247

And another Fox pic to add some colour.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Cley birds

A few images from Cley

Bearded Tit /  Bearded Reedling
Bearded Tit
Three of the eight feeding in the bush
Same bush different bird
Sedge Warbler
Meadow Pipit
And apologies but here's a few more Fox shots!.


Blue Rock Thrush accepted

Life list now 385

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Missing Monty

Another trip to Norfolk in search of Montagu's Harrier and another trip home without seeing any despite scoping some very promising habitat.

We did encounter a nice Barn Owl on the way up and a stop at Titchwell was good without any really noteable birds.

Barn Owl
Shame about the gloomy light
Lot's of Ruff, Avocet, Black & Barwits along with the usual waders. Three Spoonbill sat out on freshmarsh and we picked out a couple of Little Gulls and a few Med Gulls in the roost. On the sea a couple of Arctic Skua came close and both Little and Sandwich Terns hunted the shore line.

Despite some useful information on the Norfolk Monty's we found only Buzzard and Marsh Harrier although one particular Buzzard was almost entirely white.

Avocet at Titchwell
Another Fox in the rain 
Reed Bunting at Titchwell

No ticks but a nice days birding all the same.

PS: So it now transpires that a single pair of Montagu's Harrier had nested in Norfolk this year (one of just a handful to breed in Britain in 2017) Sadly I had waited until the time when the young would be flying to go in search of any to save any disturbance to the nest site. The info I had gathered was totally wrong and my search sites were well off track from the actual site and the birds fledged three young to add to last years two but then tragedy struck when the female went missing losing her radio signal around the start of the glorious 12th when posh folk entertain themselves by blasting birds out of the sky.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

New hanging bird table

I received a new bird table this week and the locals have enjoyed using it.
My old table was a pretty sad looking thing so it was nice to hang this much improved dining area out for my feathered friends. 

The hanging feeder
I added some softbill ( Prosecto Insectivorous) food and within minutes of putting the feeder up it was being visited by Blue Tits. Great Tits, Robins and Starlings. The Pigeons found it challenging and the Magpies found it interesting.
The table is really well made using solid timber and the rustic rope adds to it's appeal. The  Food stays dry in the rain and I think it'll stand the test of time too as it appears well preserved. I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for one so much so that I'll probably buy another for the bottom of the garden.

A couple of links here to the good people at Haith's who supplied the table and the food.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marsh

Another trip to Oare today to get the old fella a year tick with the Bonaparte's Gull which we very quickly found feeding out on the mud to the right of the slip way.
A couple of Whimbrel was the only other bird of note on the mud but back on the reserve we had a couple of Turtle Dove, at least nine adult Curlew Sandpipers, a single Spotted Redshank and the other usual waders etc in good numbers.


Bearded Reedling

A quick stop at Cliffe on the way was disappointing  as the Marsh Sandpiper had been flushed by a Peregrine early this morning and failed to show during our stay. We'd seen it before but wanted a closer look from Radar pool. Large numbers of Greenshank roosted and a couple of Common Sands were seen before we left for home and an appointment with some skirting boards I'd promised to keep. Of note was the massive flock of Hirundines numbering well over a thousand as we left Cliffe heading for the M2.

Year list now 246

Friday, 21 July 2017

Another day another Fox

No apologies......just some more Fox shots!

Fox focus
Fox watching pigeons
Just chilling
Fox looking me in the eye
My favourite

Monday, 17 July 2017

Swallows at Minsmere

A few more images from the weekends trip to Minsmere.

Looking at me looking at you
Swallow at Minsmere

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Vagrant Emperor Minsmere

With the Jims needing Roseate Tern for a life tick I took them up to Minsmere today arriving at about 6.30am. We headed out along North Wall and plotted up in the Public hide that overlooks South scrape. With no sign of the target we continued to scan finding twenty plus Little Gulls with some in full summer breeding plumage. A Little Tern and several Sandwich Terns mixed up the count with the breeding Common Terns. Med Gulls have had a good year here and a trio of Kittiwakes was a nice find too.
The wader count was pretty good with Spotted Redshank, Green Sand, Common Sand, Lapwing, Blackwit, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher to name a few.

Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tits showed themselves along with Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Stonechat and the usual Warblers but for me the star birds were the Swallows at the sluice gates.

Unfortunately despite a six hour shift we failed to connect with the Rosie Tern so that tick will have to wait for another day but any day at Minsmere is one to be remembered.

Little Stunner
what a star!
Common Tern
Young Robin in the garden 3rd single bird brood this year!
Young Stonechat at Minsmere
And another Fox to finish.
Oh and on another note....Jimmy just text to say the Dragonfly we took a photo of today may be a rare visitor (we wouldn't know!) He put it out on twitter hoping somebody would put a name to it and it seems to be considered a Vagrant Emperor which he's been told is quite twitchable in the dragonfly circles so here's my shot hoping it helps with a positive ID for those interested.

Vagrant Emperor at Minsmere ?
Note: Jimmy has now had the ID confrimed by the British Dragonfly society