Saturday, 28 January 2012


Meeting Marc at just before 7.30 a.m. this morning, he had already been to drop the kids off and we walked slowly down to Cold Harbour noting the following species.  The resident Little Owl was positioned in his usual spot on the top of the toilet block in the caravan park.  Small parties of Brent Geese flew past us at regular intervals.  One group of six birds held the PALE BELLIED BRENT GEESE.  As it was low tide the mussel beds were exposed and Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Curlew were feeding happily.  Heathy found the single BAR-TAILED GODWIT feeding on the tide line.  Godwit is always a scarce bird at Reculver and this was a welcome addition to the year list.  On our return we unsuccessfully chased two Stonechats up the sea wall in the hope of a photograph.  Three blobs in the field were identified as Golden Plover and the SPOTTED REDSHANK was in its usual place in the Oyster Farm.  The Kestrel was sitting happily on his ledge in the Towers and we returned to the cars and made our way to Brook Reservoir in the hope of Pochard.  Meeting Chris and Ann Hindle they informed us that they had gone but we strolled down and photographed the soon to be departing BEWICK SWANS.  I also added Gadwall for the year and we spent the last 15 minutes of the session photographing a friendly Robin.

Saturday, 21 January 2012


Meeting Marc at just before 7.00 a.m. we had decided on a little tour of East Kent.  We first dropped in at Kent University which some Mandarin Duck had decided to adopt recently.  Amazingly, several students were up by 7.30 a.m. in the hope of using the gym and we filed past them respectfully to the pond where only 20-25 bored Mallard were mooching about.  We then moved onto Bossenden Wood in the hope of connecting with a few species rarely seen at Reculver.  After expert directions from Steve Ashton we were strolling through the area to the sound of .....silence.  We fortunately found a Firecrest and as Marc went to copy the bears a single call from a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker rang out in the gloom.  We felt a little like Hansel and Gretel as we moved on and we came to the conclusion it was a fairly pointless exercise in the gloom and wind.  However, we will return on a better day.  Returning to the University 5 Mandarin had arrived and we spent the next 45 minutes trying to photograph them in the gathering gloom.  With Marc in need of a Reculver fix we finished up at the Towers where nearly 200 Red Throated Divers sped past in groups of up to 20-25 in only 40 minutes, 6 Shelduck and 2 Great Crested Grebe also made the notebook.  Not too bad a day and hopefully something will arrive next week.  Every other County in Britain seems to have an Iceland Gull except us !

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Yesterday was something of a disappointment.  I had planned to go and see the Spanish Sparrow at Calshot but then thought a 7 hour round trip was a bit too much for an old man.  No commitment I hear you say.  However, I did plan an exciting and varied day which didn't really materialise.  First stop was Sandwich Bay and the New Barns reservoir in the hope of seeing the Black Necked Grebe.  No chance.  Loads of Coot, Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard and nothing else.  Next stop.  Oare Marshes, surely a Rough Legged Buzzard over Mocketts Wood or a Barn Owl hunting around the church at Harty Ferry.  No chance.  Murray had been birding the area for a few hours and his highlight had been a Merlin.  The East Flood was fairly quiet with c100 Greylag Geese, 24 Mute Swans, c25 Pintail, c120 Teal, c20 Wigeon, c30 Shoveler, 3 Ruff, 10 Redshank and about 10 Black Tailed Godwit made it into the notebook.  To save the day I thought a quick stop at Foreness Point to photograph Purple Sandpiper.  No chance.  Just a few Oystercatcher, Turnstone and Sanderling were mooching about.

Today, I went to North Foreland.  I like Twite, they are great little birds but difficult to see and photograph.  Last year's birds at Oare were at times almost invisible.  I met Steve Ray and together we encircled the cabbage field until after an hour we had reasonable views of them.  I had to leave, I had an appointment with "War Horse".  I returned this afternoon and eventually managed to pin a single bird down who conveniently sat on top of the cabbages.  Pleased I drifted off home.

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Having to work this morning time was very limited so I decided to pay an afternoon visit to Margate Cemetary in the hope of photographing the long staying Bullfinch and perhaps a Firecrest.Steve Tomlinson had very kindly contacted me to let me know where to locate the Bullfinch and I set off from home in glorious sunshine.Within ten minutes of arriving the sky became  overcast and remained so for the whole of the visit making photography pretty pointless. I had an enjoyable couple of hours but failed miserably to find any of the targets.However I did record the following species,2 Goldfinch,4 Greenfinch,8 Long-Tailed Tit,3 Blue Tit ,1 Great Tit ,1,Green Woodpecker.Hopefully,I'll return soon and Steve will give me a guided tour and help me find some of what I missed.

Monday, 2 January 2012



I picked Marc up at just before 7.00 a.m. yesterday with hopes not too high regarding our day's total.  Heathy had already had an unsuccessful search for Long Eared Owls and we decided to start the session at Oar Farm in the hope of connecting with the long-staying BEWICK SWANS.  We passed Chris and Matt Hindle in the semi-darkness and managed to see the birds just before they flew out.  Driving down to the towers we couldn't find the wintering BLACK REDSTART and strolled down to Cold Harbour with a few usual suspects found although we did struggle to find any Linnets.  Fortunately, we added SPOTTED REDSHANK happily feeding in the Oyster Farm and managed to photograph a very obliging Stonechat.  At Cold Harbour we had our customary coffee break, it's the law and met Alex and Julian Perry who had an early start and had found a few species we had missed notably Barn Owl and Buzzard.  Strolling back we added a few new birds - Heathy heard a BEARDED TIT and we managed to find the BLACK REDSTART flitting around on the rocks by the towers.  After a quick snack we strolled down West Brook valley adding Chiffchaff, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Goldcrest.  We finished up at Minnis Bay where Matt and Chris had previously had a GREAT SKUA.  30+ Great Crested Grebe and a few Red Throated Divers were loitering on the sea.  We failed to find the Bar-Tailed Godwit but as the rain came down more steadily the 3 SNOW BUNTINGS flew over our heads.  Reflecting on the day it was obviously very different from last year with Shorelark, Hooded Crow and Lapland Bunting all available.  However, a good day and here we go again with 180 species the target this year.