I took another trip to the local woods finding a pair of lesser spots, goldcrest, nuthatch and tits but no sign of treecreeper yet. Moving back to Seasalter I ticked off long-tailed tits as they flew across the road by the Lucerne estate and stopping at the NRA I saw 4 shoveler, 4 gadwall and c.100 teal in the dyke. Further on on the LNR I saw a pair of stonechats near the start on the concrete seawall but little else. As high tide was approaching I went back to the roost near the Ski Club and counted 14 sanderling and c.800 dunlin and maybe c.40 turnstones but no count of these, just a guess!
An American F15 'Strike Eagle' at Seasalter on the 7th.
14 Sanderling along the beach
On the 9th it was pouring with rain and I stopped briefly at the NRA again and saw a kingfisher from the car after which I aborted.
A visit to Grove on the 10th and sat in the Feast hide to shelter from the weather all morning but managed to catch sight of a hen harrier (fem) plus a couple of marsh harriers, 32 mallard, 8 gadwall and teal on the pool.
Sunday the 11th was a lovely sunny day after the frost so I made a visit to SBBOT and the Restharrow hide finding lots of teal, gadwall etc plus 2 goosanders on the far side of the scrape. A sparrowhawk put in a lengthy appearance on the back fence, finally seen off by a crow.
12th. A flying visit to Hampton Pier after I went to the 'dump' finding the Med. gull sat on the beach.
On Tues. 13th., after the rain I made a short visit to Seasalter and walked into the plots seeing two marsh harriers together plus a distant buzzard but little else. So I went back east to Swalecliffe finding the 8 snow buntings which do not pose for the camera and feed on the steep sides of The Brook, totally immersed in the shade and out of sight! Other birds noted were a few greenfinches (a Seasalter rarity), goldfinches, 10 linnets, 1 curlew, 1 stonechat and a chiffchaff.
Pm.. I went over to Oare. lots of water but hardly any birds just a few lapwings and a few oddments. I walked the circuit as it was good exercise if nothing else but I did find c.205 avocets feeding on the other side of the Creek. Of course a few redshank and dunlin feeding on the remaining mud as the tide swept in. As I left at 4.00 pm. a barn owl came into view as I drove back up the road. Fortunately, my camera was in the car and I managed to stop and get a few shots in the fading light.
I made a late decision and headed for Dungeness arriving mid-morning at the cattle egret aviary. I don't think I could get as close in a zoo or private collection and now with another night heron at Nickoll' quarry one has to assume someone has lost a lot of birds from their collection. Can any of the recent records be taken seriously?
Anyway, moving to the ARC, lots of water and not many areas for ducks to haul out. A handful of goldeneyes, a marsh harrier and a couple of views of a bittern in flight at the back of the pit plus a great white egret. The marsh harrier was having a scrap with a cormorant, both launching/diving themselves to settle their differences.
Moving across to the RSPB., I walked the circuit, the first stop was at the Firth Hide where a grt white egret was just in front of the hide and two chiffchaffs were flitting about below the front of the hide.
I saw a distant black-necked grebe was on the far side of the pit after which I continued onto the Scott Hide where I met up with Steve Ray. It seemed I arrived at an opportune time as 2 red head smews were swimming directly towards the hide coming to almost about 30 feet away. Plenty of camera action during these few minutes! Also here were c10 pintail, plenty of shoveler and teal etc.. I continued onto the last hide at Denge Marsh but there was little there except a cold wind coming into my face so I headed back to the car.
On the way home I thought I would check out the shrike at Chilham and the first scan of the usual bushes revealed nothing but then bingo it was so close by the bridge I almost missed it! The light had gone so photography was only possible using high ISOs so I banged a good few shots from the car hoping one would be usable before another car came along forcing me to move off!