Thursday, 28 December 2017

Cold at Seasalter and Hampton

12th December

Thick frost this morning and a walk around the Seasalter plots revealed 1 marsh harrier, 2 kestrels, 2 grt tits, 1 green wpker, 1 little grebe, 4 blackbirds, 3 blue tits, 1 skylark, 5 coots, 8 moorhens, 6 swans, 2 robins, 1 magpie and a couple of crows.

Checked out the seals on Horse Sands finding 96.


Another cold morning and paid a short visit to Hampton finding 1 purple sandpiper and 1 Med gull plus a few turnstones.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Visits to Hampton and Seasalter

4th December

Another day at Hampton concentrating on photography. Two purple sandpipers were perched nicely on the breakwater, gradually moving back to higher vantage points as the incoming tide pushed them back closer to the beach.

Moved back to Seasalter where several dunlin were roosting on the beach along with 3 sanderling.


More photos from Seasalter.


After breakfast with Santa I went to Seasalter to try and get some close shots of dunlin etc.  It was cold, 2 deg but sunny which tends to blow out the whites in photos.

Turnstone with what might be the remains of a crow

Bar-tailed Godwit

PM. Visit, 2-4 harriers at plots roost and one and a half thousand knot out on the flats.

Seasalter Goosanders and The Ramsgate Iceland Gull and Snow Buntings

2nd December

I made a visit to Hampton hoping to see the purple sandpipers but I only saw a rock pipit and a pied wagtail.

I then went back to SS finding two female goosanders close inshore, just off the old 'island'

I stayed as the tide came in trying to photograph the dunlin and grey plovers.

3rd December

I hadn't yet been to see the Iceland gull so to go somewhere different would be nice. I parked by the seafront after going through the tunnel and it was just a short walk across to the docks. An initial  search proved fruitless so I walked out onto the east harbour arm where I found a rock pipit feeding on the wall then later bumped into Rob Stokes who was on the same quest.  We split up, I continued to walk to the end of the arm where I came across the three snow buntings and managed to get a shot before someone thought it would be good to walk between me and the birds. Of course they flew off back to the western arm!
On my way back, Rob was still on the arm and he finally picked up the Iceland gull in flight amongst some herring gulls after which we had good views where it came quite close for photos.

End of November

24th Nov

A bright mild day so I took a walk up towards Castle Coote to check out the common seals hauled out on The Horse Sands. On the walk west I saw 4 stonechats, a dozen mipits, 4 reed buntings. 1 skylark, c.200 lapwings plus c.1000 golden plovers which were out on the mud flats.  The seal colony seemed busy with a count of 102 seals on the horse Sands.

 The brent flock was still empty of juveniles except for just three individuals, clearly a poor breeding season.


I didn't go out this Sunday as I was due to go to an exhibition and lunch at Ditton but five minutes before I was about to leave Geoff rang to tell me of a yellow-legged gull he was watching just off the outfall. A potential patch tick, so I nipped down there rather quickly in time to see it and get photos, thanks to Geoff.  The poor gull unfortunately had a piece of plastic stuck over its head, hopefully it will manage to get it off. An example of what Sir David Attenborough was talking about in his current programme about the dangers of plastics in the sea.

 A colour comparison of our herring gull and the yellow-legged behind


A late afternoon visit to SS after a tip off from Keith Dugmore about a small marsh harrier roost at SS. Viewing from the seawall near the toilet block I counted 4-5 marsh harriers plus 1 barn owl and further on by the sub-station 1 hare.


Spent the morning doing some painting for my daughter but pm I made another visit to SS seeing 2-3 marsh harriers and the barn owl again over the plots.


A freezing cold morning, 1 deg., and from the car...........102 lapwing on the pasture, 42 lapwings plus 41 curlew and c.800 goldies. It was good to see the lone rook back on the seawall near the the oufall a few turnstones, 1 sanderling, 2 redshank, 2 grey plovers and 1 marsh harrier. I went home at 10.00ish, too cold!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Ramsgate Harbour Delights, Seasalter Seals and Waders

21st Nov.

I made a visit to Ramsgate harbour hoping to see the black-throated diver which dutifully made an appearance plus an obliging guillemot.


A bright morning but a not a lot going at SS so I headed out towards Castle Coote seal watching after noticing a lot on Horse Sands the other day.  On the walk up I saw 4 stonechats, 4 reed buntings, 1 skylark, c.200 lapwings on the back pasture plus c.1000 golden plovers.  Opposite the Horse Sands the common seals were strung out along the sands, the final count being 102. 

Some Of The 102 Seals On horse Sands.

I have noticed all this autumn the dearth of young brent geese and today saw only 3 amongst the flock.

Just 3 juveniles Seen Today


A phone call from GB alerted me to a yellow-legged gull just off the outfall at SS.  I was just about to leave for a Sunday lunch but swiftly made time for the quick dash down to the beach. Unfortunately the bird had a piece of plastic wrapped around its head!

The last few days of the month the weather was a bit rainy so got on with other jobs but I did go out on a couple of late afternoon visits to SS seeing 4-5 marsh harriers and a barn owl on two occasions. 
On the 30th it was very cold and I only spent an hour at SS seeing 144 lapwing, 41 curlew, c.800 goldies and the lone rook on the seawall. I walked up to the wall seeing a couple of grey plovers and redshank that made fodder for the camera plus a marsh harrier but now too cold............home to the fire!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Downs And Not Many Ups

17th Nov.

Another try to see the 'bigger' snow bunting flock but the legs ran out of steam as I was told they had flown towards Minnis, well beyond Cold Harbour.  However, I made do with a couple of grey plover shots and it was nice to see two red admirals flying along the seawall.


I didn't move myself to go and see the red-necked phalarope straight away but I thought today I would go and see it.  Oh no, went last night! Spent a pleasant morning with fellow dippers Les Woodward and Pete Kesby finding 4 bullfinches on the Pegwell site.


Home ground at Seasalter today seeing 2-3K knot on the mudflats then a quick dash to Hampton and not seeing the purple sandpiper, just 5 redshank and c.12 turnstones.

A beautiful afternoon so took up position against a breakwater at Seasalter and waited as the tide went out and took shots of the birds as they came in to feed on the freshly exposed mud.

 3 Juvenile Brents the most I Have Seen This Autumn

 Good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits

2 shooters on the back pasture - golden plovers in the foreground

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Knot Arrive.

14th November

It was a grey morning at Seasalter LNR and the tide was just about to leave the beach just in time for some wader photography. It wasn't long before birds started streaming in to feed on the freshly exposed mud followed by a huge flock of c.2000 knot, the first big number I have seen this autumn and in amongst them were c.150 bar-tailed godwits.  There was a small passage of meadow pipits, starlings and chaffinches and a pair of stonechat were feeding just behind the huts.  A look across the back fields produced c.100 lapwings but no raptors........what will be there if its covered with solar panels?  Back by the pumping station outfall the kingfisher was dashing about keeping the coots company and out on the the flats c500 dunlin but hardly any curlew for some reason. 

15th Nov.

A day out to Broadstairs revealed 3 purple sandpipers on the harbour outfall/jetty. Late pm at Seasalter I saw the barn owl circling around Cleve Hill.

16th Nov.

Another look at Seasalter doing a bit of a count; ringed plover 122, egrets 3, redshank 70, curlew 58, shelduck 8, kingfisher 1, coots 5, swan family of 8, grt b b gulls 22, rook 1, Goosander 1 close in, linnets 8,  fieldfare 2,  robins 4, goldfinch 2, blue tit 4, cetti's 2, heron 1, skylark 2, reed bunting 2, wren 1, lapwing c.50,  common gull 2, stonechat 1, chaffinches 12, mipits 6.



A trip out to Penny Pot Lane, Denge Wood looking for the hawfinches........managed to see two with the help of others. I took a couple of distant shots of one bird high up in one of the conifers, rather poor but a reasonable record shot.