Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Change of Sea..nery? and a Guided Walk

With the winds looking good for sea-watching in north Kent, I headed to Reculver on Thursday 10th for a full day in the field. It wasn't the busiest sea-watch ever but enjoyable nonetheless and the longest one I had ever done! The day started with a steady trickle of BONXIES all heading west at varying distances, I saw 23 birds by the end of the day. A few of ARCTIC SKUAS also headed west with one coming in close to tackle a MED. GULL. A few more species gradually got added to the list including COMMON SCOTER, GANNET and LITTLE GULL, a nice flock of 10 birds in great light went through around midday. As well as seabirds a few other species appeared, 2 PEREGRINES flew in off the sea as did a MARSH HARRIER, the best 'in off'' bird was a SHORT EARED OWL that came in high to east of the towers. After a few lulls things picked up a bit when a MANX SHEARWATER was picked up mid distance and then around 5.15pm with just 3 of us left a LEACH'S PETREL flew west, if I had stayed a bit after this I may have also seen Little Auk and Grey Phalarope! A very enjoyable day bird wise and chatting to a couple of fellow watchers.
So with another windy day forecast another sea watch was on the cards, Stephen and I arrived at Shellness around 7.30am almost the first bird was a LEACH'S PETREL! the first of 8 sightings through the day of probably between 3 and 5 birds. More BONXIES, ARCTIC SKUAS and LITTLE GULLS were also seen today. There were a couple of little surprises, a SNOW BUNTING flew north up the beach mid morning and a SHAG, not a bird I've seen many of in Kent was in the surf just off the beach. As the wind dropped we headed to Warden Point in a downpour in difficult conditions we picked up a few REDWING, CHIFFCHAFF and a handful of FIELDFARE. The wind picked up again so it was back to Leysdown and some sea-watching from the car, there was much of the same but we added SANDWICH TERN and a second ARCTIC TERN of the day, the most noticeable movement was of 1500-2000 BRENT GEESE mainly heading into the Swale, a quick walk around the bushes did produce a single BRAMBLING.
The only pics this week are from the Shellness trip.
Early morning at Shellness Point

Different takes on this young Little Gull, click for larger image, not sure if it helps though!

Just a few of the Brent Geese seen

A small flock of Turnstone

Before a short account of yesterdays guided walk, I did find a STONECHAT (101) last week to add the year list which was a bird I thought might could miss this years list.
So yesterday at 7am, 11 of us set off from the car park, there were lots of ROBINS and one of the first birds that went on to the list was a flyover BRAMBLING, 1 of 3 during the day. It was apparent that things were moving as REDWINGS, CHAFFINCHES and PIPITS were whizzing over. Within half an hour we had amassed 24 species. I happened to look up when we were in the wood and picked up a flock of about 100 BRENT GEESE flying south-west another unexpected addition to the list. In the wood we added all the Tit species including a very obliging MARSH TIT which fed above our heads for a few minutes. A single LESSER REDPOLL near the ticket office meant that by breakfast at 9.15 we were on 45 species, with a walk round the fields to come it was a good total. After breakfast we added the expected SKYLARK, YELLOWHAMMER and eventually COMMON BUZZARD of which, we had 9 in the air at once, a record for here! A couple of GREYS came next in the form of HERON and WAGTAIL. 2 late SWALLOWS were over the ploughed fields near Digdog Lane and probably the highlight of the walk came when all the STARLINGS in Rares hedge got up and just above was a fine male MERLIN! (102) which carried on high south west. In the end we had 55 species for the morning in beautiful sunshine and light winds quite a contrast from the previous two days.


Marc Heath said...

A couple of good sessions there Alan. Love the Gull shots, a real sense of the wild atmosphere here.

Our photos said...

Beautiful photos!
Greetings, RW & SK

Warren Baker said...

Great few days birding Alan, not least on the old patch :-) Ive never had Brent Goose or Merlin here, two to look out for maybe ? Your stonechat appeared a day before mine did :-)

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi!!!,, The weather is not good there.. Great pictures.. Cheers..

Mike Attwood said...

Not my king of weather Phil.

Maria said...

Beautiful photos!
And nice weather :-0

Adam said...

Hi Alan - you're certainly having a good run lately. Are you bale to give a grid ref for 2-barred Crossbill? I'm tempted to take a trip out if it's still around.



The Hairy Birder said...

Those shots really create the atmosphere of a seawatch Alan; excellent.



Helma said...

Your first photo has a beautiful sky but the waves of the sea seem to be desolate. Beautifully displayed with the birds in flight above. Spectacular to see.