Friday, 24 December 2010


Arriving at Stodmarsh car park just before 7.00 a.m. Marc and Martyn had already made their way to the Lampen Wall in anticipation of a "Harrier Fest".  In the near dark a Water Rail almost walked over Heathy and two more skated over a frozen stream.  Soon the Harriers left the roost with 36 Marsh Harriers recorded and 3 HEN HARRIERS including the very smart male.  At one stage 23 Marsh Harriers were in the air together which was a terrific sight.  A Sparrowhawk whizzed overhead and the first of two Cetti's Warblers called weakly.  Whilst walking back to the Marsh Hide two Redwing made the notebook. 

During breakfast a single BITTERN flew across the frozen lake and mooched around for a few minutes before deciding it was too cold and disappeared into the reeds.  Another was sighted around half an hour later and as the birds dried up discussion on Kent Bird of the year finally decided, not surpirisingly on the White-tailed Lapwing and the Wilson's Phalarope a close second.  All of us felt that a Roller next year would fulfil our wishes and hopefully a Lesser Yellowlegs for the Valley.  Martyn and Heathy flushed a Woodcock and on my way home I counted Geese with Mike Gould in the stubble fields outside Stodmarsh village finally agreeing on c90 EURASIAN WHITE FRONTED GEESE and 200 Greylags.  I couldn't resist Stonelees again this afternoon and with little traffic c300 Waxwings were there.  With a thaw in situ two large pools of water were outside the Golf Course entrance and up to 60 birds were drinking about 10 feet away before returning to the bushes.  A fantastic end to another good day's birding.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Arriving at Reculver just before 7.20 a.m. I waited for Marc to arrive with a dull morning outside.  On emerging from his car a very "pallid"  looking Heathy was as grey as this December morning.  We climbed to the top of the hill and scanned the fields eventually finding the WHITE FRONTED GEESE  more by luck than judgement.  A Marsh Harrier spooked all the geese and as they sat on the sea 46 WHITE FRONTED GEESE  were joined by c300 Brent Geese.  A raft of duck on the sea were made up of c 375 Wigeon, Mallard, 4 Pochard, 3 Common Scoter and a few Gadwall.  A Peregrine sped past the Towers and 62 Skylark and Curlew flew over our heads.  As we left Reculver 6 Grey Partridge were feeling very exposed in a field.

Onto Stonelees to allow Marc a photo opportunity for Waxwings approximately 40 were sitting in a tree and after parking in Stonelees and returning to the road c200 WAXWINGS flew over our heads in a huge flock.  We were soon joined by Dylan, Steve Ashton and Mike Gould.  Over the next 45 minutes birds came and went allowing the "Pros" to take a few more snaps.  An estimate of c100 Redwings, a few Fieldfare and a small party of Siskins feed with the Waxwings.  Steve lead a little trip down the A256 to see the ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD and we were rewarded with excellent views very close to the road.  All in all a pretty good  morning in dull overcast conditions

Saturday, 18 December 2010


After last week's rather lame headline at least today it is a realistic one.  Deciding to stay fairly local I hoped to connect with some Wawings this morning before the expected snow arrived.  Drawing a blank at Pysons Road, although there were still many berry laden bushes I moved onto the Haine Road Industrial Estate where a flock of approximately 35 birds were seen yesterday.  Again there was no sign of any birds.

Finally, I hoped to find some at Stoneless where incredible numbers had been recorded midweek.  Passing the entrance to the Golf Course I immediately saw approximately 40 birds and they were soon feeding on the berries along the lane.

About 10.15 a.m. another 56 birds arrived to make a total of 96 WAXWINGS.  I watched them for another 20 minutes and they seemed extremely settled.  However, when a lorry passed all the birds took to the skies and flew over the Golf Course.  There are still an incredible amount of berry laden bushes and there is no reason why they should move on.  Apart from the Grove birds of 2008 this is the closest I've been to Waxwings and a great opportunity for any photographers or Birders to "Connect" with these fantastic birds.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Arriving at Reculver just before 7.00 a.m. Heathy had once again been cruising" the lanes for owls.  After a cup of coffee and deep thought provoking conversation we started our walk along the sea wall.  A Sparrowhawk whizzed past the Towers and fourteen Mute Swans were grazing happily in the fields.  A flock of approximately 75 Golden Plover flew overhead and the first of 10 Little Grebe were sighted in the Oyster Farm.  Along the beach Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Redshank, Curlew and Shelduck made the notebook but by far the largest number of waders were an amazing c60 Dunlin.  Arriving at Cold Harbour around c300 Brent Geese were on the sea and in the fields joined by1 PALE BELLIED BRENT GOOSE .  One Marsh Harrier quartered by the lagoon and as we walked inland numerous Redwing were joined by a few Fieldfare.  As we returned to the sea wall we encountered the last of 4 BEARDED TITS seen today and retracing our way back to the Towers a SPOTTED REDSHANK made its presence felt by the Oyster Farm.  Determined to photograph something, anything Marc took 100 images of a very obliging Stonechat.  Three  SNOW BUNTINGS flew overhead and as we reached the end of our session 5 more SNOW BUNTINGS were observed on the beach.  Other birds to make the notebook 1 Kingfisher, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Dunnock, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, 5 Reed Bunting and 1 Grey Heron.

Hopefully, Marc and the family made it to the Vue for the Midday showing of "Narnia" and he didn't have to take a toilet break half-way through!

Sunday, 5 December 2010


To stop Marc eventually being arrested for 'cruising' the lanes of East Kent I agreed to meet him 'early' this morning for a spot of Owl hunting.  One Barn Owl and two LONG-EARED OWLS  later we arrived at a distinctly chilly Reculver at just after 7.00am.  Fifteen minutes later Heathy managed to park his car on the verge and we set off along the sea wall.  Fifty-one Mute Swans were grazing in the field and two Shelducks were sitting on the sea along with rafts of duck which consisted of Teal, Mallard, Wigeon and Gadwall.  Around the Oyster Farm we noted four Little Grebe, Dunlin, Redshank and Kingfisher.  Ten Bar-Tailed Godwits flew West in three separate groups whilst c400 Brent Geese were around Cold Harbour.  Twenty-four Lapwing soon became twenty-three when a persistent Peregrine finally achieved his quarry.  Along the shore Sanderling, Turnstone and Grey Plover and fourteen Ringed Plover made the notebook.  On our walk back from Cold Harbour a MERLIN was noted at sea and a Marsh Harrier battled with the Peregrine for the remnants of the Lapwing.  Two SNOW BUNTINGS flew overhead and a single bird allowed Marc a photo opportunity.  Exchaning greetings with the Hindles we made our way back to the Towers seeing a single Eider sitting on the sea.  The Kestrel was again occupying its favourite window sill on the Towers.

Returning to Broadstairs I decided to pop-in to Park Avenue to see if any WAXWINGS still remained.  Pleasingly thirty-seven birds were still there feeding on the bushes and trees by the bus stop. To paraphrase Dr. Johnson "A man who is tired of Waxwings is tired of life".

Hopefully, this posting will satisfy those literary giants Heath and Chidwick who were very quick to point out my failure to spell MARTYN correctly last week.