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.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

November part 1

2nd November

A nice still morning at Seasalter, ideal for a good bird list but it proved quiet although not bad for photography. I counted 14 ringed plovers, c.20 turnstones, c.350 brent, 31 dunlin, 1 cetti's on the plots, no ducks. The usual half a dozen pied wagtails ranging along the seawall, 2 stonechats by the Sportsman, 1 sparrowhawk, green woodpecker, robins, coots etc.. On the LNR or rather the back fields (solar farm site), a few lapwings and golden plovers, 1 heron on the pasture plus a red admiral and kestrel.

Nov. 3rd.
A short visit to Hampton, not seeing the purple sandpiper so didn't stay long.


 Just one redshank at Hampton
5th Nov.

An uneventful trip to Stodmarsh

6th Nov.

Off to Reculver in search of the snow buntings but no luck.........needed to walk on further.

Back to Hampton again this time finding the purple sandpiper on on of the breakwaters but little else.


Day out with the wife driving towards Thanet, lunch at the Capt. Digby then onto Broadstairs.



9th Nov.

Another visit to Reculver, this time finding the 2 snow buntings and had a nice time taking photos with no one else around.

On the way back I could hear a Apache helicopter approaching which made a low fly pass overhead scattering the snow buntings and everything else. Bumped into John from Stodmarsh who said he saw it fly under some pylons!

Friday, 10 November 2017


A quick glance through the rest of October.

A bright but windy day at Seasalter produced 3 marsh harriers coming over from Sheppey and along the LNR c.1250 brents plus one grey plover which still retained some its breeding plumage.

I went to Oare seeing the black-necked grebe, Wilson's phalarope and long-billed dowitcher.

 Black-necked Grebe

 Wilson's Phalarope

Long-billed Dowitcher

8th Oct.

At SS the incoming tide revealed c1500 black-tailed godwits and a similar number of brents. Flying up to roost and on the flats I had a count of 86 egrets and on the seas 45 great crested grebes.


A late afternoon visit to SS revealed c.1200 brents, 1 grey plover and a late swallow.


My first grey wagtail of the year was on the beach near the plots entrance, the plots were quiet. Further on by the YC., 3 grey wagtails, a count of 27 egrets, a couple of grey plovers, curlews and oystercatchers. At the LNR., a stonechat, 2 swans, a wheatear, and on the back fields, 20 lapwings and c.250 golden plovers roosting. Further on another 2 wheatears, 22 chaffinches west and a kestrel.


3 late Wheatears.

A trip to Knole Park to photograph the fallow deer rut.  Should go early or late in the day but I was lucky as a few of them had an arguement.


A strong northerly blow this morning at SS, hoped for some close action as the tide receded......c.200 bar-tailed godwits came to amongst the brent, oystercatchers and curlew plus just one knot. I have not seen any big flocks of knot yet and I also noted I've not seen any juvenile brents amongst the large flocks..  Loads of gannets in the mouth of the Swale, many young ones, several coming close.

I later went over to Hampton thinking I might get some better shots, luckily one gannet came fairly close, unfortunately it seemed to have some vegetation jammed in its mouth. Also saw 4 little gulls and a couple of auks and kittiwakes.


Another look at SS starting with a count of 91 ringed plover, 24 redshank, 1 sanderling, 9 grt bb gulls and 1 egret by the 'island' roost.  At the LNR another swallow and walking down the back track to the road I flushed a woodcock and in the bushes by the Sportsman, 4 redwings and a couple of fieldfares, a pair of stonechats, 1 cetti's, 1 marsh harrier and 4 blackbirds.