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 !