Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Marc and myself had a pre-christmas stroll around Reculver it was an enjoyable but fairly fruitless session.  Around the Oyster Farm we counted 13 Redshanks and the wintering SPOTTED REDSHANK.  My notebook continued to stay in my pocket and I only added 4 Sanderling, 13 Reed Bunting and a single Marsh Harrier on our way to Cold Harbour.  We added about 350 Brent Geese feeding in the fields behind the Oyster Farm but we failed to find the 3 Barnacle Geese who seemed to have attached themsleves to them.  I then spent 45 minutes with the Mute Swans and their 2 BEWICK SWAN chums.  Once again the light was shocking but I managed a few pictures.

As is customary with most other people a brief review of the year seems in order.  A massive  thanks to Marc who has made my birding so enjoyable.  I promise to learn the difference between a Wood Pigeon and a Little Owl for next year.  Reculver has been brilliant and frustrating in equal measures.  I saw Red-Flanked Bluetail, Black Guillemot and Dusky Warbler but didn't see a Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher or Great Northern Diver.  I enjoyed Scilly this year, which hasn't always been the case and although there were few really good birds my bird of the year goes to the Upland Sandpiper that I managed to get within 15 feet of.  Thanks for reading the blog, hope you enjoyed some of it and perhaps I will take a decent photograph next year.

Friday, 23 December 2011


With the end of the year rapidly approaching trying to catch-up with one or two missed species seemed the order of the day.  With Purple Sandpiper a difficult patch species two and a half hours were allocated to Minnis Bay in the hope of finding one at high tide.  Heathy arrived slightly after me and we strolled along the front, unsuccessfully.  However, we did find 3 SNOW BUNTINGS in the gathering gloom who were very accommodating.  We recorded c80 Brent Geese during the morning along with 13 Lapwing, c20 Turnstone, 6 Grey Plover, 2 Curlew, c50 Oystercatcher, 4 Red Throated Diver, 1 distant Common Scoter and c40 Sanderling.  Despite large numbers of Great-Crested Grebe approxiamtely 80 birds, we failed to find any more smaller, rarer ones.  About ten o'clock we decided to head for home, with increasing numbers of dog-walkers arriving with the dogs on the whole being more responsible than their owners.  Fortunately, most of these owners rarely make it beyond Cold Harbour.

Saturday, 17 December 2011


With Marc only having limited time today we decided on a trip to Oare Marshes as Heathy had yet to see the long staying Great White Egret.  We arrived on site at just after 7.20 a.m. and as we sat in the car with a cup of coffee we could see the distinctive shape of the Great White Egret roosting very close to the road.  Murray soon joined us and we strolled down to the slipway in icy conditions taking in the amazing spectacle of around 2-3,000 Starlings flying around the reserve.  In cold but bright conditions we noted 4 Mute Swans, c60 Greylag Geese, 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Marsh Harrier, 11 Pintail, 4 Brent Geese and 2 SHORT EARED OWL which gave good views over the reserve.  Also, 25 Avocet and 2 Curlew.  Our walk to the West Hide for the Water Pipit was not entirely wasted as we saw 2 RING TAIL HEN HARRIER.  The egret showed extremely well on our return and this was certainly the closest either of us had been to a usually secretive bird.  We returned home satisfied with an excellent morning at an outstanding reserve vowing to return soon.  I doubt if the season finale of "Merlin" will be so good.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Having been desperate to use this headline for ages now I have at last the opportunity.  Yesterday morning was crisp and bright and I was determined to make the most of it.  I arrived at Dover just after 9.15 a.m. and made my way to the Inner harbour in the company of Mark, Adam and Tim in the hope of connecting with the GREAT NORTHERN DIVER that Martyn Wilson and Mark Chidwick had found the previous week.  We were soon enjoying outstanding views of the bird feeding only 20 - 30 metres away.  With a little help from Tim and Chidders I managed to obtain some pleasing images.

Moving on to Oare Marshes I spent a very enjoyable hour in the company of Steve Ashton and Tim Gutsell and a very lazy GREAT WHITE EGRET.  The Egret easily won the game of statues and with Steve's expertise I at least took one or two decent pictures.  A single Kingfisher was by the sluice and on the West Flood were large numbers of Lapwing, Golden Plover, Black-Tailed Godwit and c60 Avocet.  Approximately 20 Ruff were flying back and forth from the flood to a field adjacent.  Meeting Murray Wright he told me the Twite had been seen earlier but not by him or John Tilbrook.  I decided to spend an hour searching for the birds and eventually just West of Dan's Dock I managed to find 9 Twite.  They were once again associating with Linnet and I strolled back to the car extremely  happy with a good day's birding in excellent company.