Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Close to home the past few days

13th January

A trip to the patch revealed a big wader influx, no doubt due to the cold weather as it was only 3 degrees C. The tide was out but the good seeing conditions produced  large bar-tailed godwit numbers, c.700 plus c.4000 knot and more dunlin, maybe 5-6000.  On the plots the SEO was cruising about but it seemed quiet there except for the odd reed bunting and chaffinch etc. Opposite the Sportsman about 900 golden plovers were resting.


Another visit to SS and birds were of similar numbers, c.1000 barwits, and c.5000 each of knot and dunlin.  I then headed up to Bossenden finding the usual tits, treecreepers, goldcrest and a fine male lesser spotted woodpecker.


Down on the plots birding was quiet, cold, ice on all the puddles but the dykes were ice free where 30 teal were settled. On the football field there were a couple of skylarks plus lots of lapwings.


A sunny and cold morning, only 1 deg and an intensive walk around the plots with my lucky mascot produced 5 new month ticks inc., blackcap, water rail, snipe, shoveler and lesser black-backed gull also 2 SEOs were flying around along with stonechats and goldfinches.  I scoped 74 seals on Horse Sands and on the sea a dozen gadwall plus lots of barwits closer in on the mud.


PM. I went to Kemsley to see the c.30000 starling spectacular. When I got home took a photo of the moon.


Down to SS again, this time the dykes were frozen over, the poor kingfisher diving in at the end of the outfall to find food. C.1000 dunlin were up and down the shore plus three or four sanderling and out on the sea 2 red-throated divers. I then went up to the woods again hoping for firecrest which I hadn't seen yet.  Luck was with me and I saw 1-2 birds plus goldcrests, treecreepers, coal, marsh, grt. blue and long-tailed tits plus nuthatches, however, no decent photos except for one poor coal tit that may have contracted avian pox?

I saw this coal tit on the other side of the wood, appears to might have 'avian pox' maybe?

pm. Another short trip to SS for some photos, more of a scenic type though but I did see a group of 5 little grebes at Graveney.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Rain Stopped Play

With the onset of the awful wet weather it was a good time to earn some brownie points and give the lounge a once over.  However, after getting most done I couldn't miss the lovely morning on the 6th and got out for a couple of hours.  The flat calm and sunny conditions enabled me to give the Seasalter bay a good scan, finding 2 red-throated divers, 78 g.c.grebes, 5 mergansers, 83 ringed plovers, 9 sanderling plus plenty of dunlin and few turnstones on the high tide roost.

Out again on the 8th and down to SS finding 4 mergansers this time plus the grebes and on the plots 1 SEO. and  1 stonechat. I didn't stay long as it looked quiet and went see the birds at Bossenden.

Later in the afternoon I went back to SS finding 3 SEOs, 2-3 marsh harriers and 5 red-legged partridges (which over the last few years have been extremely rare). 

9th. Today, seemed fairly quiet at SS, I had a walk around the plots seeing 2 SEOs and discovered a sheep in the 'river' and pretty exhausted, unfortunately on the other side. I had the shepherds number and called him to which he responded after about 20 minutes, hopefully he managed to save it.

After that I made a social visit to the 'Swalecliffe posse' picking up gannet and eider ticks for the year.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The End of 2015 And Start Of 2016

December 31st

A morning out with the camera  to  Bossenden Woods where the marsh tits have been on show along with the nuthatches and coal tits.

January 1st

A late start (as usual), I didn't get in until 1.00 am after 'the celebrations' but I was on the patch at 8.45 am hoping for a good start to the year. I headed for The Sportsman 'rise' as yesterday pm Mark Chidwick had seen 2 Canada geese, now a rare sighting but alas they were nowhere to be seen plus I learnt, 2 ravens and a green sandpiper were seen early earlier, so not a good start. However, I picked a lot of the commoner stuff including 3 marsh harriers, kestrel, c.600 lapwings then over to the seafront to tick off all the waders inc. bar-tailed and black-tailed godwits, knot, dunlin and grey plover etc. plus a big count of 141 seals on the Horse Sands.

Back to SS Lane finding gadwall, teal and 2 little grebes plus a sparrowhawk fly pass as I was having coffee.
Returning to the seafront and pumping station revealed kingfisher, SEO, goldcrest, a handsome male greenfinch (I don't see many on the plots), a couple of wrens, cetti's, robin, stonechat, grn wpker., and reed buntings and I noted blackbirds everywhere. 

Several teal and gadwall were in the 'river' along with several coots and moorhens. Just off the outfall a red-throated diver was close inshore plus a couple of g.c.grebes and the incoming tide revealed 3 sanderling, ringed plovers and turnstones. After a short break allowing the tide to come up further, 4 brents had appeared and opposite the Sportsman a large flock of golden plover had landed.

Moving west to the sub-station 'pull in' and meeting this morning's raven finder, Julian Russell I added another 2 SEOs, total of 3 for the day, 1 pheasant, some fieldfares and just as I was about to wrap it up a small flock of wigeon rose up from one of the dykes ...........but no ravens! However, not a bad haul for 5 hours in the field, a total of 64 species including feral pigeon. No sign of linnets, jackdaw or rook, the tide was out all am. so virtually no sea-watching, might have got shoveler in the dykes, and merlin and peregrine were possible as was snipe. 

Now, a few days decorating the lounge!!!!!!