Thursday, 30 June 2011


With a juvenile Night Heron arriving at Stodmarsh yesterday a successful trip to see the bird was undertaken this afternoon. With Marc's photograph of the bird last evening rivalling one seen of last years Wilson's Phalarope I realised that a scope was the order of the day.  From the Tower Hide the bird skulked for most of the afternoon and was never seen well.  However, it was a new bird for the valley for myself with the last being seen I think in 1984.  With Warblergate now being fully exposed I can also tell you that earlier in the month I also added a Marsh Warbler to my valley list with a male singing and showing occasionally by the Marsh Hide and doing a repertoire of greatest hits which included Bee-eater, Linnet, Goldfinch, Blackbird and Great Spotted Woodpecker. 

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Arriving at Reculver just after 5.30 a.m. this morning, I wondered why I had bothered to get up at silly o'clock again.  Rain was hammering down with no obvious signs of relenting.  Marc had already parked up and after a quick chat we decided to have a sort of sea-watch from the comfort of my car.  Amazingly a few birds were moving through East and West.   In about an hour and a half we recorded Gannet, Sandwich Tern and Common Tern.  A Grey Heron flew in off the sea and the Sand Martin colony roughly numbering a 100 birds soon became 99 when a rampaging HOBBY  took  one home for his breakfast.  The sighting of the Hobby was a very welcome year tick.  We decided to stroll to Cold Harbour and back in improving conditions. We recorded 3 Pied Wagtail, 26 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Oysterchatcher, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 3 Shelduck, 20+ Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Redshank and 9 Lapwing.  We met Chris Hindle who had recorded very much the same.   Marc photographed a group of Sandwich Tern and as Chris made his way back to Shuart he turned and alerted us to two Mediterranean Gulls drifting along the coast.  On our return we encountered a 2nd Summer bird as well.  We then made our way to East Blean woods where Heathy gave me my first basic lesson in Butterflies.  We were very fortunate to find many Heath Fritilleries and also Ringlet, Meadow Brown and White Admiral.  What started out as disappointing became very enjoyable.  Once again a very big thanks to Heathy for his help with my photography.

Saturday, 18 June 2011


With Reculver extremely quiet this week Marc and myself decided on a jaunt down to Dungeness in the hope of seeing the Squacco Heron.  We arrived in the area during a particularly heavy shower and these continued on and off during the next four hours.  Fortunately, we soon located the 3 RAVENS and a few distant images were obtained.  We failed to see the Heron or the GREAT WHITE EGRET from Springfield Bridge so we drove round to the RSPB entrance.  Unfortunately, the gates were locked (perhaps they didin't realise they had a rare bird on site).  Half an hour later we arrived at Hooker's Pits where a smattering of birders were assembled.  It had shown briefly at 4.00 a.m., but not surprisingly we had missed it.  We strolled to the Dengemarsh in the hope of connecting with the Egret but a call to Geoff Burton had us all scurrying back to the Pits where the bird was showing well.  We had about 20 minutes with the SQUACCO HERON balanced on a branch happily feeding with us 30 metres away.  It soon retreated and we had another brief view about an hour later.  We strolled back to see the GREAT WHITE BLOB in the distance and then departed to a mystery location in East Kent to photograph the Spotted Flycatcher which we managed successfully.  It was nice to see Mark Chidwick and Martyn Wilson and catch up with what was happening at Grove and a massive thanks to Marc for driving to Dungeness.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


Arriving at Reculver just after 5.30 a.m. this morning I was slightly startled to see a small man wandering around the caravan park with a camera and telephoto lens.  I was just about to phone 999 when I realised it was Marc.  Within 5 minutes I had managed to find out the reason for his prowling around the caravans when I added LITTLE OWL to my year list.  Apparently the 'Sun's' offer of a £9.50 holiday was just too good to miss and Mr Owl had chosen a particularly luxurious static home.  We strolled down to the Green Wall with my camera getting an outing -: (see Ringed Plover photographs).  At sea a few Sandwich Terns, Common Terns and two Curlew drifted past.  We met Derek Smith and chatted while Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Cuckoo interrupted our conversation.  An unseasonal Siskin and 9 Lapwing flew overhead and as we retraced our steps we added only Turnstone and Sanderling.  On returning to the caravan park Marc tried to locate the Little Owl but he had obviously gone out for the day.  However, we did manage to relocate Heathy's conquest from last week and fortunately for me she had more clothes on, but this was obviously a massive disappointment to him.  I managed a record shot as Warren asked for photographic evidence.  We returned home both satisfied with the morning's events.

Saturday, 4 June 2011


The rather cryptic headline will soon become apparent after reading this posting.  June is generally quiet and today's highlight was my meeting with the Reculver cafe owner's dog and Heathy being propositioned by an octogenarian. We also saw a few birds, but not too many.  We spent the first half an hour watching the sea this morning and nothing else.  A stroll down to Cold Harbour added a year tick in the form of two Barnacle Geese and all the usual suspects again - you know these off by heart by now Oystercatcher (loads), Sandwich Tern (some) and Marsh Harrier, Shelduck, Yellow Wagtail, Tufted Duck, Teal, Gadwall (few) and Sand Martin, Swallow, Heron, Stonechat (one or two).  On returning to the cars we had a drink and a chat and Marc became uncomfortable at my obvious affection for the beautiful Husky and had to leave for another sea watch.  Let me make it clear I'm no Keith Lard, I just like dogs.  However, Heathy was accosted by a lady asking to take her lilo and bag up the hill.  This isn't a euphemism by the way.  Marc actually knew the lady and informed me she enjoyed sunbathing "au-naturelle".  I was going to headline today "Naturalist meets Naturist" but settled on the other.  We also had an hour's sea watch after Heathy got his new friend settled and saw loads of Gannets, two Guillemots which was a year tick for us both and various Terns with one suspiciously looking little but being the honest pair we are we couldn't quite clinch the I.D. at some distance.  Good fun today, would have been better if there were more birds.  Hopefully, the 3 Amigos had better luck.