Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Meeting Heathy at just after 9.00 am.m this morning the early signs seemed promising as we immediately found 3 Wheatears, newly arrived, sitting on the wall of the Towers.  Out to sea numerous Swallows were flying in and during or walk we counted over a 100.  Passing the Oyster Farm 5 Little Egret made the notebook along with 2 Little Grebe.  Marc got reasonably excited when he thought he had a Ruff in with some Redshank but it turned out to be a Knot.  On our walk down to Cold Harbour singles of Dunlin, Greenshank and Sandwich Tern made our totals for the day and as we sat down at Cold Harbour we had a little bit of excitement as 5 LITTLE TERN and 3 BLACK TERN were sighted.  We had a little bit of a raptor fest with Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Hobby and 2 distant Common Buzzards which we noted.  A stroll to Chambers Wall and back added very little despite some vigorous 'bush bashing' from Marc and on our return only Green Sandpiper and 3 Sanderling made it into our books.  Dropping Marc off at Shuart to look for Derek's Darter will the pull of Bonelli's at Dunge be too much for him tomorrow?

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Arriving just before 5.45 a.m. at a sunny Reculver Marc was already in place and raring to go.  We chatted briefly about his holiday and the hoped for Whinchats today.  On reaching the sea-wall the first of c40 Yellow Wagtail made their presence felt and as we looked out to sea 3 Sandwich Tern drifted past.  The Little Owl was back in residence on top of the toilet block in the caravan park and as we strolled down to Cold Harbour 3 Whimbrel flew calling overhead.  The Oyster Farm looks extremely good for waders at the moment although today only 14 Redshank and a Common Sand piper made the notebook along with three Greenshank.  After a brief sea-watch we arrived at the lagoon and found a single Knot.  Meeting Derek Smith at the railway embankment we strolled to Chambers Wall and we all took the opportunity to photograph what appeared to be two newly arrived Willow Warblers.  We also added Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, possibly two Hobby's and a Peregrine in a short space of time along with 4 Turtle Dove and 9 Golden Plover.  Two distant Common Buzzard could be seen over the Thanet Way and a single MEDITERRANEAN GULL was the best of our return journey.  Still no Wryneck for Heathy to salivate over - but one did arrive at Dungerness.  It's coming our way!

Monday, 15 August 2011


Driving along this morning at just after 5.45 a.m. the family Grey Partridge mum, dad and five young Partridges were taking a stroll along the road by Brook Farm.  Marc was already in place and after a brief chat we began our usual walk from the Towers to Cold Harbour and down to Chambers Wall and then retracing our steps.  In bright sunshine we soon saw 2 of 3 Mediterranean Gulls we recorded on our walk.  A group of 18 Common Terns soon passed.  We also recorded 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 1 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Little Gull including one extremely dark plumaged bird.  All the usual suspects were noted, a flock of c30 Linnet, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Little Egret, 1 Ringed Plover, 7 Swallow, Dunlin, Turnstone, Pied Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail.  It was nice to see Mr and Mrs Hindle - particularly Ann who is walking, slowly again.  On returning to the Towers Marc found one of two Wall Brown butterflies which is an extremely rare butterfly - locally and nationally - so I'm told. This continues my education.  Another really enjoyable session.  Lets hope nothing turns up in the next 4 days as family Heath are on holiday.

Saturday, 13 August 2011


Arriving at a dismal Reculver this morning at 5.45a.m. Heathy pulled into the lay-by a few moments later.  As we walked to the Towers we could hear the cries of Sandwich Tern and saw that the tide was far out and we talked hopefully of perhaps adding Crossbill but little else.  How wrong we were !  As we walked to Cold Harbour in very heavy showers there was a noticeable movement of Whimbrel with c65 noted during the morning.  Incredibly around the lagoon c50 - c60 Yellow Wagtail were present with smaller groups of Meadow Pipits and Linnets.  A single Common Sandpiper sped West along the tide line and a few Sand Martin and Swallow skipped over our heads.  There were c 30 Ringed Plover on the beach with Dunlin, Turnstone and a single Sanderling also.  We walked inland in driving rain and tried to take shelter.  A single saturated Turtle Dove sat miserably on a fence and we decided to return along the seawall accompanied by smaller groups of Golden Plover.  We met Matt and Chris Hindle and a small group of waders passed us which included 2 Knot.  About 9.10 a.m. Heathy alerted me to a single bird which initially seemed to be a Scoter.  However, in flight and shape it seemed far more auk like.  Marc then said 'BLACK GUILLEMOT!'  I followed it past the Towers until it dropped down onto the sea.  Fortunately, Marc had hastily snapped a number of record shots which Chris and Matt looked at.  We continued to search for it on the sea and managed to also find TWO BLACK TERNS and 1 LITTLE GULL.  Contacting Murray Wright and Geoff Burton to let them know that the bird seemed to be travelling West.  We finished the day extremely satisfied adding a new bird for Kent for both of us.  Enjoy your Magners tonight Marc you've earned it!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Picking Heathy up at quarter past five this morning all seemed well for a successful sea watch.  He had assured me that northerlies would be bringing in hoardes of Shearwaters, Terns and Skuas.  However, three and a half hours later the sorry statistics of 32 Gannet, 100 plus Sandwich Tern, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Ringed Plover, 30 Common Tern, 6 Common Scoter, 1 Arctic Skua and 1 Kittiwake was all we had to show. Fortunately, Derek Smith's company made up for the disappointing totals and drowned out Heathy's pathetic excuses.  We moved on to Marshside just outside the recording area where Derek had found some Willow Emerald Damselflies which I was informed were extremely rare.  Marc made up for his earlier misdemeanours with some excellent photographs of 12 plus of the species (see image above).  We returned to Chambers Wall where we walked to the sea noting a Small Red-Eyed Damselfly, 2 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 3 Dunlin one with an incredibly long beak. All in all it was a really enjoyable session despite not a great deal to be seen.

Saturday, 6 August 2011


Apologies for another retrospective posting but I'm unfortunately still traumatised from walking around Reculver yesterday with Marc in the worst pair of "shorts" I've seen in a long time.  For those who remember "It ain't half hot mum" Heathy resembled Don Estelle in every detail including stature.  After a quick conversation with Reculver's favourite naturist we strolled down to the Green Wall along the railway embankment and back via Cold Harbour.  All the usual suspects were seen and certainly though not in yesterday's spectacular numbers.  We recorded two Wheatears at the Towers only 2 Sandwich Tern and 5 Common Tern today.  As we passed the Oyster Farm we noted the first of 3 Little Egrets, 2 Meadow Pipits, 3 Common Sandpiper and gangs of marauding Linnet.  Inland we hoped to find perhaps a Whinchat but found only Reed Bunting and family Stonechat.  Marc then became very excited when he found 2 distant relatives in the form of Small Heath butterflies.  Along the railway embankment we added 7 Whitethroat and a single Lesser Whitethroat and returning along the sea wall Turnstone, Dunlin and Yellow Wagtail were added.  As a final little bonus a year tick in the form of an ARCTIC SKUA drifted past, where was he yesterday when he could have visited Tern Takeaway?

Friday, 5 August 2011


With rain and wind hammering against the windows yesterday afternoon I was surprised to get a call from Marc telling me that there was a large movement of Terns going through Reculver.  Having battled with PC World I arrived at the Towers just after 5.oo p.m. and  offshore there must have been approximately five hundred Terns feeding in three large flocks.  I attempted to count them and with the help of Matt and Chris Hindle and Marc who arrived about an hour later we settled on c500 Common Terns, c20 to 30 Sandwich Terns and c40 BLACK TERNS.  I also had the added bonus of 2 LITTLE TERNS a BALEARIC SHEARWATER which was a new bird for the area for me.  As the weather broke and the sunshine arrived 2 Wheatears were feeding on the rocks  by the Towers.