Sunday, 22 April 2012


In keeping with the last few weeks today at Sandwich Bay there was very little to report. I had hoped to connect with  one or both of the Hoopoes reported this week , but  a relatively clear and rain free evening had hastened their departure.I only managed to see Steve Ashton, a single Chiffchaff and a solitary Willow Warbler in the Oasis. Moving on to Mary Bax's Stone a few expectant birders were hoping for a repeat performance from the Short - Eared Owls which had been seen recently. One bird showed well over Prince's for about 25 minutes often hunting within a few metres of early morning golfers but it stayed out of reach of even Steve's lens.An interesting sight happened while we were waiting for the Owls of a  Buzzard,possibly a Honey being mobbed by four angry Shelduck.I haven't seen anything like that before. Other bits which made the notebook were 3 Swallows,1 Wheatear and an accommodating Corn Bunting. At least I was cheered up by some comical defending in the last ten minutes at Old Trafford . The pubs and clubs from Carlisle to Southampton must have been full of disappointed replica shirted fans that have never  seen the light of a Manchester day!

Sunday, 15 April 2012


As some of you who know Marc well he has a passion for Oystercatchers..a real passion.Each week he religiously counts them on our walks and shouts excitedly when he sees them fly past! Yesterday his photo of them was good but as you can see not quite up to the standard of mine. As we both return to work tomorrow I wanted to give him some images he can dream about tonight.

Saturday, 14 April 2012


With high hopes after yesterday's excellent tick fest today was a little disappointing.Heathy had been up before he went to bed and prowled the recording area for Groppers and Nightingales.Being successful on the Nightingale front a cheery little grin was on his face as I met him in Chamber's Wall car park at 6.30.Over the next 4 hours we tried hard to find a few migrants but generally failed miserably.The stroll to the sea began with 3 Whitethroats and 6 Sedge Warblers and the undoubted highlight of the morning when a lone Whimbrel whizzed by calling loudly .The session yielded 2 Yellow Wagtails fewer Swallows than yesterday and the walk inland via the Oyster Farm,Green Wall and railway embankment was almost birdless.The notebook was extremely empty until back at the car I managed to add a year tick in the form of a Peregrine. Marc offered me some expert tuition in the art of photographing Sand Martins at the Bishopstone colony and with  about 25 birds to choose from, I managed to take about 50 blurred images of the sky.I spent about 30 minutes gazing out to sea in the hope of a Tern or Fulmar but to no avail!

Friday, 13 April 2012


With early inclement weather and rather a large number of Hirundines I thought today's heading was apt.I arrived at Chamber's Wall car park just after Marc This morning and he was smiling contentedly to himself as the first bird he had seen was a stunning male REDSTART.We were soon enjoying good but fleeting views of the bird which unfortunately disappeared as soon as Julian Perry arrived, although he did re-find the bird again later.A stroll down to the railway embankment added more year ticks in the shape of Swallow, a very vocal Kingfisher and two Whitethroats.As we reached the embankment a Red -Legged Partridge waddled past us and two Marsh Harriers swooped overhead calling. The number of singing Sedge Warblers had increased and we counted five possibly six birds.Perhaps a second Kingfisher whizzed along the channel and at Cold Harbour we found a solitary Green Sandpiper.Two Great Crested Grebes were sitting on the sea and small groups of Swallows passed us with a few Sand Martins interspersed as we drank our coffee.A single Yellow Wagtail flew calling overhead and a fairly distant Wheatear sat on the seawall.On our return a Redpoll added to my year list and on meeting Chris and Anne and Phil Goatcher,a large female Sparrowhawk drifted over.We found a  solitary Willow Warbler but couldn't find  the Long- Eared Owl disturbed by the Hindles.We managed to relocate the REDSTART and then ensued a game of hide and seek for the next 30 minutes trying very unsuccessfully to photograph it. The second highlight came at the end of the session when a TREE PIPIT flew overhead calling. An excellent session adding eight new birds for the year.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


As forecast this morning the weather was in complete contrast to yesterday's glorious sunshine.The birds decided not to turn up as well so all in all it was a very tough session with very little making the notebook.The Sand Martin colony at Bishopstone had swelled to 19 visible birds.At the Oyster Farm Marc and myself added Grey Heron,2 Shelduck and a Little Egret.The Linnet flock was about 25 birds and a few Meadow Pipits flew overhead calling. On the tideline Redshank, Sanderling, Oystercatcher and Turnstone fed actively. A single Eider fed offshore and Heathy found singles of Kestrel and Marsh Harrier.At Cold Harbour a surprise awaited us with the Goosander still in residence. A stroll back to the Towers added very little except a Sparrowhawk. Hopefully, a few migrants will turn up next week........surely.

Friday, 6 April 2012


With excellent weather forecast it was in bright sunshine I arrived at the Towers just before 6.45 a.m. this morning.  Once again, Heathy was quickly out of the starting gates and was nearly at the Green Wall.  On my sprint to catch him up I noted all of Reculver's commoner species ; Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Shelduck and Little Egret.  The tide was a long way out and very little was feeding on the shingle.  By the Wantsum outflow we found a noisy Sedge Warbler and added another by the railway embankment.  We strolled inland and added Reed Bunting, Red-Legged Partridge and a year tick for me in the form of a Grey Partridge.  A distant Marsh Harrier was today's only raptor.  A very nice surprise came when on returning to Cold Harbour a smart male Goosander was happily sitting there taking in the sunshine.  Chris and Anne were soon viewing the bird and a few pictures were taken.  Two Knot flew east and 34 Turnstone were counted on one of the groynes.  Finally making the notebook were two Ringed Plover.  Unfortunately, no Ring Ouzel or Red Kite today but a very enjoyable session and it's always good to get a tricky bird like Goosander on the year list.