Sunday, 28 November 2010


Snow Buntings at Snowy Sandwich

Shorelark at a Snowy Sandwich

Just Snowy Sandwich, thanks Martyn for the pics.

Arriving at a frost bound Grove Ferry at just before 7.00a.m. this morning, the temperature guage on the car read minus 3'C !  Walking down the entrance track a solitary Redwing was happily feeding on the berries offered.  Meeting Mark Chidwick and Matrtyn Wilson on the ramp two Curlew drifted over the ice bound main lake where half a dozen miserable Lapwing congregated.  Over the next hour, twelve Marsh Harriers and a single Ring-tailed Hen Harrier left the roost.  A stroll down to the Feast Hide added Bearded-Tit, Cetti's Warbler and Green Woodpecker to the notebook.  It was decided by Martyn and myself to visit Sandwich to search for the Shorelarks which had been seen recently.  Chidders headed off to Stodmarsh and we soon arrived at New Downs and parked next to Dylan.  A quick look at the nearby pond/lake/reservoir yielded 18 Tufted Duck and two Pochard while a party of nine Long-Tailed Tits and a sinlge Great Tit flitted in the trees above.  During the stroll to the Point 6 Fieldfare and one Redwing were observed feeding in the lane.  Twenty minutes later Martyn almost simultaneously spotted Dylan and two Shorelarks.  After a few seconds they flew over Dylan's head.  Chatting for a few minutes we decided to walk slowly back as Dylan had spotted two Snow Buntings on his walk down.  Almost immediately quite a heavy snow fall began but about 200 yards later two more Shorelarks were sighted feeding with five Skylarks and a Reed Bunting.  Both Dylan and Martyn mangaged several photographs and after the Shorelarks decided to find their chums the two Snow Buntings presented themselves.  The rest of the return journey was fairly uneventful although 20 Grey Partridge huddled in a field, Goldcrest, Golden Plover, two Snipe and a Grey Wagtail were recorded.  An excellent morning in top company and remember for all those who missed it last Sunday - RUSTIC BUNTING - IT'S JUST A BIRD !

Sunday, 21 November 2010


First of all, apologies for the lack of postings over the last two weeks but my Saturdays have been tied up at Twickenham watching England in the Autumn Internationals. However, after seeing Marc's impressive list at Reculver yesterday I was hoping for something exciting perhaps in the Grebe or Diver department.  I'd been working on improving my 'headings' and with the Hooded Crow still hanging around the Oyster Farm I had come up with the hilarious alliterative 'Counting Crows'.  Not surprisingly though there was no Hooded Crow today and only about 15 Carrion Crows.  Heathy had been prowling the lanes in the pitch black listening for owls and I am certain he will be arrested very soon.  He also assured me that it would be good sea watching weather with a Northerly forecasted.  45 minutes later, 50ish Cormorants, 9 Red Throated Divers and 2 Auk Sp's later we gave up and walked up the sea wall.  Yesterday's Black Redstart was in a very similar position but stubbornly refused to be photographed.  Continuing our walk Steve Ashton phoned for the first time asking about the location of the Black Red and I wished him luck.  Two Redshank, one Curlew and numerous Pale Bellied Brent Geese flew past us and Dunlin, Sanderling and a Common Gull were happily mooching about on the beach.
Amazingly, the two Tree Sparrows found by Marc yesterday were in the same bush and were joined by 2 chums.  Now those who bird the Stour Valley and Reculver regularly  know how big a tick Tree Sparrow is, so I was genuinely pleased.   Returning on our walk back to the towers Heathy spotted three Velvet Scoters zooming past and a good morning had become an excellent one.  Other birds which made the notebook were Meadow and Rock pipit, 37 Golden Plover, Stonechat, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, 2 Kestrel and a single Shelduck.  Returning to the car just before ten I wished Marc an enjoyable week at his magnificent educational establishment.  However, little did I know I would be seeing him an hour and a half later in Whitstable. On returning home Steve Ashton phoned me for the second time and told me of a Rustic Bunting at Whitstable Golf Course.   Many thanks for the early alert Steve, and soon I was driving sensibly at 68mph towards 'Whitstable and Seasalter' Golf Course - (my wife will be reading this).  The rest is history, a top bird and a very nice addition so late in the year.  Great to see professional birder, Steve Ray, Martyn, Rick Smith in his camouflaged jacket - must be on covert ops and Chidders in his Matt Cardle X-Factor hat !