Saturday, 31 March 2012


The picture of the Great Northern Diver I  would have taken !
Unfortunately, for Marc today's headline does not refer to his height or manhood as I will explain later.  Today was grey and dull with no opportunities for any photographs, but we did have a reasonably successful session.  Starting from the Towers just after 7.00 a.m. Heathy already straining at the leash had made it to the Oyster Farm.  The last embers of Brent Geese (3) made my notebook along with Grey Heron, Shelduck (6) and Little Egret.  As we reached Cold Harbour a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was spotted offshore and afforded year ticks for both of us.  We found the bird on our return along with Derek Smith who had strolled in from Chamber's Wall and had found a Swallow.  At Cold Harbour we discovered 19 Redshank and 3 Dunlin.  During our coffee break I picked up two of 5 Gannets today and we also added a year tick in the form of Common Scoter flying rapidly East.  Walking inland we met Anne and Chris Hindle who had an unremarkable walk in from Chambers Wall.  We decided to walk along the embankment but soon retraced our steps when Chris told us of a SEDGE WARBLER at the Wantsum outflow.  After connecting with it our return was unspectactular but we did find three Sand Martin at the colony at Bishopstone.  However, we did meet Robbie the Greyhound who was also known as 'Big Boy'.  Every time its owner shouted 'Big Boy' Heathy looked up expectantly, but it was not to be.  Hope the weather improved for your family barbecue this afternoon Marc.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Looking forward to this morning's Birding I had hoped to connect with the Garganey which had been seen in glorious sunshine yesterday at Brook Reservoir.Unfortunately, visibility was down to a few meters as we strolled down to Brook at just after 6.oo a. m.Amazingly I managed to add 4 new species in the gloom for the year including a sparkling Firecrest which showed down to a few meters.The Garganey could well have been there but by 9.30. I decided to call it a day. However, with Superlugs Heath picking out a distant Blackcap,and finding a single Green Sandpiper on the Shooting Pool it was not a total disaster.The most prevalent sound today was Marc's constant moaning about the weather conditions,hence the title. A fairly disappointing Birding session was made up with Coventry's win over Pompey giving us a real chance of staying up.With an assortment of frees,loans and youth players Andy Thorn has done a fantastic job.Come on you Sky Blues!

Sunday, 18 March 2012


Yesterdays migrants apologies for the lack of clarity on the Rock Pipit but it was 6.15 a.m. and incrtedibly gloomy.

Saturday, 17 March 2012


With Heathy out of action after 9.30 a.m. today it was a very early start at the Towers.  We started our stroll just before 6.00 a.m. with a female BLACK REDSTART found immediately on the rocks by the car park.  Within a few hundred yards the first of six WHEATEAR was encountered with some unsatisfactory pictures taken of a cracking male.  4 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipits were feeding on the shingle ridge and a single seal was sighted extremely close to shore.  The obligatory waders made the notebook in the shape of Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Turnstone and Redshank.  However, 2 Knot always a 'tricky' species at Reculver were also noted.  At Cold Harbour the second Black Redstart was seen in company with a Wheatear.  The sea was extremely quiet with only a few gulls and Cormorants passing.  Julian Perry phoned to say he had seen a single Sand Martin which we had missed although Marc found the PALE BELLIED BRENT still in with a few remaining Geese.  Fortunately, we re-found the male Wheatear which allowed us some better pictures, but was never keen to pose for too long.  On return to the Towers 3 male Wheatear and a single female flitted around the rocks and soon disappeared.  Finally, a sparkling male BLACK REDSTART was around the visitor centre and until the bird was disturbed it allowed us excellent views and a few pictures.  Hopefully, this is the beginning of so much more to come.

Sunday, 11 March 2012


With news of the two Common Cranes returning to Worth Marshes yesterday afternoon I decided on a morning visit in hope of connecting with them.  Having seen Martyn's photographs I hoped a few pictures could be taken but after arriving at just after 10.00 a.m. they were soon seen but were almost in another county! Sue Morton soon joined me and we enjoyed excellent scope views for the next half an hour.  A few other birders soon joined including Neil Burt and his parents.  I then spent an hour at Restharrow Scraps where 4 Garganey had arrived (including 2 immaculate drakes).  Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Wigeon accompanied and a close Little Grebe and Coot allowed a few pictures.  I had just returned to the car when Neil's mum called me back to view a pristine White Wagtail which came relativiely close.  A very enjoyable morning in good company in glorious sunshine with the promise of much more to come in the next few weeks.

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Meeting Marc at 6.45 a.m. this morning I was extremely fortunate in having already added two year ticks in the form of a flock of Greylag Geese flying over the Thanet Way at Brooksend and a Jay in the scrubland behind the Roman Galley.  Our walk from the Towers to Cold Harbour was uneventful ... very uneventful.  The tide was a long way out and the only highlight at sea was the two resident Eider had found two new chums.  Two Shelduck were trying to find some water in the Oyster Farm, small numbers of Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Oystercatchers were feeding near Cold Harbour.  On our return the morning's highlight came in the form of a Scandinavian Rock Pipit (Littoralis) flying over our heads towards the Towers.  We drove to Shuart and walked to Brooksend in the hope of picking up with the Greylags but it was almost impossible to view through the trees.  Corn Bunting was a welcome addition to the year list with eight birds seen including 4 sitting happily on a telegraph wire.  A quick drive round Brooksend in the hope of a better vantage point was unsuccessful but we did have 21 Greylags flying, 2 Sparrowhawks and a single Buzzard.  Hopefully, in the next few weeks we'll have something more exciting to write about.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Kumlien's Gull photograph. Big thanks to Neil Burt for sending me a copy of this.Hopefully this will enliven the drab reading underneath.Unfortunately the pictures of yesterday's Eider didn't come out  as successfully as Marc's!

Having promised myself for several weeks now to go Owling I met Marc just after 5.30 a.m. yesterday morning.  The session was very successful and several birds were seen and heard.  I also added Red-Legged Partridge to my year list in the form of five birds - (2, 2 and 1 in the fields around Shuart). We arrived at Reculver Towers just after 7.00 a.m. and after our usual coffee and chat we strolled in gathering gloom to Cold Harbour.  The sea was extremely calm and a single Great Crested Grebe and the resident two Eider were soon seen.  8 Curlew flew east and Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Reed Bunting and the flock of Linnet now around 35 birds were also seen.  The Oyster Farm held about 10 Redshank and a single Little Egret.  We didn't find the Bearded Tits today but a small group of Golden Plover were observed in the ploughed field.  At Cold Harbour a small gang of 9 Dunlin were feeding in the lagoon.  We strolled back along the shingle ridge where Heathy met his best friend with her extremely well behaved Labrador.  We met Anne and Chris who had seen very little in their walk along the embankment and Green Wall.  On our return 2 Knot added to my year list and I fortunately added to this with 2 flyover Siskin by the towers.  I returned home with the thrill of Dagenham and Bradford City to look forward to and Heathy went in search of Canada Geese (unsuccessfully). It must get better soon !