Sunday, 15 May 2016


The patch again produced with 2 RINGED PLOVERS another first for the site for me, other highlights included my 4th COMMON TERN of the year, COMMON SANDPIPER, LRP, CUCKOO, TURTLE DOVE and good numbers of SWIFT. A FOUR SPOTTED CHASER was seen as were a few BANDED DEMOISELLE were on the wing.
This afternoon we headed to Hollingbourne for a walk one of our favourites, it was fairly quiet although 2 NIGHTINGALE sung from the old quarry and a RED KITE flew west, a few butterflies were on the wing and I managed to catch up with a BROIMSTONE that landed briefly.
Ringed Plover


Turtle Dove


Strange Cow............?

Saturday, 14 May 2016

7th - 14th May

With a free day on Saturday 7th, Stephen and I headed for an early seawatch at Dunge, with the promise of Pom Skuas, after the large numbers from the previous day.........The reality was not quite what was hoped for, 3 and a bit hours later the highlights turned out to be a couple of WHIMBREL and a BLACK TERN. There was a Skua, I thought it looked reasonably heavy but we couldn't see any 'spoons' so ended up going down as Artic. We stopped quickly at the end of Kerton Road and found the reported WHINCHAT and heard a LESSER WHITETHROAT. So onto the reserve and a walk round the circuit was fairly quiet but still, lots of SEDGE were singing a BITTERN was seen from the ramp as were the first 2 HOBBIES of the year for me. BEARDED TITS 'pinged' and a GREENSHANK called as it flew high WNW.
A change of scenery took us to Rye Harbour a bit of an old favourite. Timing was ok with the high tide only just receding, There were plenty of birds including a good number of 'tundra' RINGED PLOVERS. Other waders included DUNLIN, SANDERLING, WHIMBREL, AVOCET, BAR TAILED GODWITS and a couple of nice summer GREY PLOVER. Three WHEATEAR were also seen and best of all good numbers LITTLE TERNS hopefully on the road to some sort of recovery here. Still with plenty of time we headed back to Dunge, an unsuccessful search for Grizzled Skipper was followed by our final stop of the day at Arc Pits, we headed towards the Water Tower and found our only new grounded migrants of the day a smart male COMMON REDSTART and a SPOT FLY. On the way home I added HOUSE SPARROW to patch list!

Sunday morning started cool and back the local on patch almost the first bird seen was a WHIMBREL flying up from the edge of one of the lakes, great start. There were a few SWALLOW, SWIFT and HOUSE MARTIN, a CUCKOO called for most of the time I was there and was seen briefly and REED WARBLERS were constantly in earshot. As I approached the lower lake a I picked up a bird prey instantly recognisable as RED KITE, new for the year and for the patch! it got lower and lower then disappeared. A few minutes later it re-appeared and headed straight towards me, pretty much circled directly over head and drifted off north towards Maidstone. Yet another year tick was added when as I headed back to the car and a TURTLE DOVE called from near the car park. During the the week a couple of patch visits produced 2 OYSTERCATCHERS, REDSHANK and COMMON SANDPIPER.

With chores to do today I thought a quick patch visit would be the extent of my birding but I did better than expected so chanced my arm with a trip to Abberton Reservoir in Essex which was rewarded with long views, if not close views of the FRANKLINS GULL that had been present for the last few days, a new bird for me anywhere in the world, there were good numbers terns which included 4 BLACK TERNS. This was my first visit to Abberton, it was really nice and took only an hour and twenty or so to get to, also met a good guy from Norfolk who kindly bought me tea as I rang him to say the Franklins was showing, thanks Dave and really nice to talk to you and share a few birding stories :-)  Random pictures from the week follow.......
Sedge Warbler

Reed Bunting

Small Copper

Red Kite - checking me out!

Common Tern - Abberton Reservoir
Mute Swans

Monday, 2 May 2016

Bank Holiday Birding and recent stuff

Managed several patch visits this weekend as well as a nice afternoon at Oare Marshes and a quick drive over to Otford for the WESTERN RUFOUS TURTLE DOVE, which showed well after only about an hour waiting, always nice to see a new bird and conveniently close to home!
The new patch has been busy in the last week, lots of things arriving good numbers of SWIFT, SAND MARTIN, SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN. A couple of LESSER WHITETHROATS are rattling around the patch and a CUCKOO has been calling for about a week. Notable birds new for the year have been COMMON SANDPIPER, COMMON TERN (3 today) and a DUNLIN whizzed around the upper lakes. A few YELLOW WAGTAILS have been seen including a flock of 7 that dropped in briefly last weekend a PEREGRINE was only the second of the year and a nice surprise was a SHORT EARED OWL that flew up from the long grass in the small water meadow.
On Saturday afternoon a stroll round Oare Marshes was a nice change of scenery, about 4 WHIMBREL were milling around the reserve and the LITTLE GULL was busy feeding over the east flood for most of the afternoon. Good numbers of SEDGE WARBLERS were in song and BEARDED TITS called almost continuously but didn't give themselves up easily, allowing only a few fleeting flight views in almost 30mins scanning the reeds. A LESSER WHITETHROAT and a NIGHTINGALE sang from the same group of bushes at the entrance to the west flood footpath. Birds of prey were thin on the ground with 1 KESTREL, 1 SPARROWHAWK and 2 BUZZARDS. There were still good number of BLACK TAILED GODWITS most in resplendent summer colours, AVOCETS were dotted around probably about 10-12 in all.
The random HAWFINCH photo is from a work trip to Portugal!
 Various photos from the weekend follow.

Hawfinch - Portugal

Little ringed Plover

Little Gull



Common Tern

Tufted Duck


Reed Bunting