Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Sincere apologies for posting retrospectively but the weekend was extremely hectic and I've only just managed to write up Saturday's sightings.  Arriving at the Towers just before 7.00 a.m. Marc was already in position having strolled around Shuart in the hunt for owls.  The day didn't hold a great deal of hope or anticipation.   The morning began with groups of Brent Geese travelling down to Cold Harbour.  Heathy's favourite bird, Oystercatcher whizzed past in groups of 2, 3s and 4s.  As we reached the Oyster Farm, Little Egret, Redshank and Meadow Pipit made their presence felt.  A single Common Scoter flew past and a Redbreasted Merganser was feeding by the mussel beds.  As we reached Cold Harbour a juvenile Peregrine was hunting unsuccessfully over the fields and a Marsh Harrier sat in the field eyeing a group of Lapwing and Golden Plover.  We managed to find a group of 15 SNOW BUNTINGs along the shingle ridge but they were very flighty and only a few pictures were obtained of them on the ground.  On our return a MERLIN was chasing a passerine - unsuccessfully again.  Marc picked up two distant grey geese which appeared in the field and to our delight they turned out to be a single WHITE-FRONT and PINK FOOT.  We phoned Chris and Ann and they returned to see them on the embankment and also on cue seven Mute Swans flew past with a BEWICK SWAN attached.  Three year ticks in five minutes and Bewick being a new bird for the area for both of us.  In the fields we managed to find the PALE BELLIED BRENT in with the large flock of Dark Bellied and as we reached the rocks a BLACK REDSTART made a brief appearance.  A fantastic session and only a Black or Red Necked Grebe to find now!

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Yesterday was a glorious sunny morning at Reculver with a few birds along the way.  Today, we travelled to Tunbridge Wells in the hope of seeing Kent's first Blackpoll Warbler.   Marc's radar led us to East Sussex and beyond before eventually arriving just before 7.00 a.m.  Along with about 60 other birders we watched a few octagenarians putting the rubbish out, going to church and taking yesterday's papers round to Doreen and Len.  The fog came and went and came again.  We saw a few Siskins, 4 Crossbills, 1 Nuthatch and 2 frisky squirrels.  Thanks to Heathy for all the driving.  My wife laughed at me when I got in.  Penduline Tits at Grove today - it served me right.

On our walk to Coldharbour we recorded 2 Redpolls, 1 Little Owl, 1 Curlew, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Red-Throated Diver, 10 Snow Buntings and a few other bits.  Finally we saw the legend that is Derek Smith and his friend Patrick Giles and the Duke and Duchess of Reculver - Anne and Chris.  Tracksuit bottom birding at its best.  Grove birders eat your hearts out!

Sunday, 13 November 2011


On Friday the Queen visited Margate and on returning home I had seen that an Eastern Black Redstart had decided to join her and had been sighted at Foreness. I arrived on Saturday at 8.30  a.m. after an hour at Reculver  with Marc recording a single Snow Bunting and Brambling.  Assembled were about 20 birders and we were soon enjoying excellent views of the bird.  After about 10 minutes the bird flew behind the Jet-ski cafe and was joined by 2 Black Redstarts. A moribund Woodcock landed on the path and Brendan picked up the bird and placed it safely where it could die with a little dignity.  After an hour and a half with the bird Mark Chidwick and I strolled down to the pumping station  hoping to see the two Twites which had been in the area.  We were not successful  but Mike Gould managed to see them.   However, we did see 2 Wheatear and 2 Purple Sandpipers.  A very enjoyable couple of hours and I think Chidders will return to the area over the next couple of months.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


With a barren 10 months, Heathy managed to break his duck today with his first authentic Shag of the year.  The more experienced amongst us had managed this much, much earlier in the year.   Arriving at about 6.15 a.m. this morning Marc had been waiting in his car.  He was like a child almost anticipating a trip to Euro Disney and he was not disappointed.  Chris Hindle was slightly behind us but sprinted up the hill like a F1 driver to secure pole position.  In the next 4 hours we were not let down with some excellent sightings and a few unexpected birds.  I managed to get a massive 6 year ticks which has taken me into the 170's.  Today's numbers : - Common Scoter 18, Brent Geese c250, GREAT SKUA 12, Gannet c50, an incredible 135 LITTLE GULLS, c50 Cormorant, Red Breasted Merganser 15, Shelduck c60.  In about a 15 minute spell we recorded 1 BLACK THROATED DIVER, 2 Red Throated Diver and 2 GREAT WHITE EGRET, which was a new Reculver bird for me, and a RAZORBILL.  Duck were represented by Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, 4 Eider.  About c800 Lapwing flew through.  About 10.0 a.m. we recorded a LITTLE AUK which allowed us reasonable scope views and we finished the session with 2 Arctic Skua and a close juvenile POMARINE SKUA.  Excellent session and I left for home with Heathy beaming contently to himself.