Sunday, 29 January 2017


24th Jan.

Another afternoon at Stodmarsh hoping to see the harriers and maybe some bearded tits which seem to have been avoiding me for a couple of years, photographically that is.  I met S.A. at the Marsh hide but apart from the odd water pipit it was quiet although I managed a shot of a water rail on the way down.

I left to go back to the Lampen Wall and wait for the harriers there which did not disappoint with 8-10 marsh, 1 ringtail and 1 male hen harrier. There was also a beautiful sunset which I could not resist with the camera.

The Heavy Frost

23rd Jan.

One of the heaviest frosts I've seen this morning and Seasalter looked the Arctic wastes of the far north. Fortunately, it was brilliant sunshine a little later which gave excellent viewing conditions especially for photography. 
I had a quick looked around the plots where the dykes had about an inch and a quarter covering of ice forcing all the moorhens onto the grassy places, a few running about on the ice.  A quick look revealed a pair of stonechats, robin and two song thrushes, other than that, seemed deserted.  Time for some photography though, all the trees and bushes were covered with a thick coating of ice crystals making super subjects.

 The dark area on the sea is ice!

Back to the seashore where the tide was just leaving the beach and waders were eager to feed allowing some great shots in the clear conditions. I spent well over an hour just sitting with the birds allowing them to approach me whilst I took photos.  Lots of dunlin, 44 black-tailed godwits, a few bar-tailed godwits, grey plovers, 1 lone wigeon.

Moved on to the LNR where the lower beach was frozen near the breakwaters. At the water's edge I counted 240 shelduck that seem to be a recent big rise in the population, c1000 brents with 14 teal among them. Very little on the landward side, except 2 s.thrushes, 2 blackbirds, 1 mipit and 1 reed bunting.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Seasalter and Bossenden

21st Jan.

Another frosty morning but lovely sun, first stop Seasalter where the tide was halfway out. There were 7 red-throated divers on the sea but it looked quiet otherwise so I went to the woods where nuthatches, coal/great/blue tits were active, no sign of marsh tit though. Two buzzards were displaying overhead and a great spotted woodpecker came fairly close.


I went to Stodmarsh seeing 8 or 9 marsh harriers coming into roost plus a male and female hen harrier.  Hundreds, thousands maybe, of fieldfares also dropping in to roost. The lake was almost frozen over in the -2 deg C temperature.


Thick fog as I drove down to Seasalter but returned home as to thick to see anything but I managed to clock 5 long-tailed tits alongside the car by the NRA as I turned the car around.


18th Jan.

I have not been out everyday as decorating has swung into action but I wanted to see waxwings so a trip to Northfleet was on the menu.  I arrived seeing a few birders but of course no waxwings, fortunately, two waxwings returned giving poor views, especially for photos.


Brilliant white glossing completed I nipped over to Hampton in the afternoon meeting Mike Hook. We saw the two purple sandpipers and a couple of sanderling plus two redshank.


Another waxwing hunt this time a little nearer at Strood near 'The Bounty' pub. I saw nine, easily missed as they sat high up amidst al the twigs making photography difficult.


9th Jan.

A look along the seafront finding 38 species inc. 87 ringed plovers, 5 sanderling 5-600 knot, 52 brents, 25 turnstones and on the plots, 19 fieldfares flew over plus c.30 golden plover, 10 teal in the dykes.  Opposite the Sportsman I counted 210 lapwings on the field and by the main reedbed two stonechats.

The Common Buzzard often seen on lamp posts near the Borstal Hill roundabout.

16th Jan.

The tide was right out and opposite the pumping station (NRA) were 116 lapwings were resting on the 'hard' with the gulls etc. On the tide edge I counted 70 brents plus a few curlew were scattered about and lots of dunlin were sprinkled right across the mudflats although as usual, hardly any off the LNR. I could see 2-3000 knot right out in mid-channel, perhaps on the Sheppey side.

On the plots, c.10 moorhens on the grass, 1 green woodpecker, a couple of song thrushes and blackbirds, just 1 reed bunting. Nice to hear cetti's again as quiet lately. I walked towards the conifers flushing 4 snipe, also 2 stonechats, 3 reed buntings and a heron. The big surprise amongst a flock of 14 mipits was a yellowhammer and making my way back to the road 14 mallards, great and blue tits. 

Another look over the sea (tide coming in now), produced; 11 wigeon, 26 g.c.grebes, 8 red-throated divers fairly close but far out I could make out what I'm sure were another 37 red throats. The last birds on the tick list were 3 egrets and my first lesser black-backed gull for the year. 

'Sundog' in the sky

Sunday, 15 January 2017

1st week of January

1st January 2017

I spent three hours of the morning on the local patch  and a late visit to Swalecliffe trying to find out what species could be found.  At Seasalter all the common birds but missed a few silly ones like song thrush and dunnock, the only gem being a kingfisher. At Swalecliffe I added a bonxie, red-throated divers, 51 sanderling and a nice flock of linnets finnishing off at midday with 47 sp.

A drive through Seasalter and Graveney finding mistle thrush, rook, heron and great tit. Thoroughly bored I went to Milton Creek again even though the tide would be wrong. I walked out to the creek mouth finding the eider but no sign of the long-tailed ducks. 

I went to Hampton finding the purple sandpiper, only one, then back to SS seeing 2 short-eared owls.

Walked up onto Victory Wood finding three stonechats, flock of c.40 linnits, green wood pecker, greenfinches, robins, song thrush, wren but no sign of Geoff's Dartford warbler  he'd seen the other day before. Also I saw a flock of 44 blue tits.

PM. A visit to Reculver to look at the SEOs and may be a photo but they were about but too distant. One egret was hanging about in the area plus a couple of stonechats and kestrel.

A visit to Dungeness to see the grey stonechat finally, not the presumed Stejnegers's, an interesting bird never the less. I also saw the ringed-necked duck, why is called ring-necked, the only ring is on the bill so perhaps it should be called 'ring-billed duck'. Its no doubt an escape anyway, loads of them are in kept captivity.

The last week has been decorating the hall, stairs and landing, just glossing to go! Get it done in the cold weather and have the summer free!!!!!!!!

The Last Week of December Including the Milton Long-tailed Ducks

28th Dec.

A heavy frost this morning at Seasalter with a mist hanging over the marsh again,  high tide being about midday.  A walk along the beach revealed c.400 golden plovers, c.1000 knot plus the usual dunlin, turnstones, grey plovers, redshank and counts of 32 ringed plovers by the YC, and c.150 lapwings.  As the tide came in 62 wigeon on the sea plus 8 teal and a surprise seeing 6 gadwall among them. Further out were 5 red-throated divers and 20 grt crested grebes. On the LNR it was rather quiet with only 3 blackbirds, 25 crows, 1 moorhen, 1 song thrush, 2 skylarks and 2 snipe, all close the the Sportsman.

Moved onto Bossenden Wood for a bit of camera action but that was quiet with only a couple of nuthatches, 1 coal tit plus blue and great tits and a chaffinch.

29th Dec.

I thought I would try and see the long-tailed ducks at Milton Creek this frosty morning.  Had a spot of bother finding the right place to park etc but soon on my way down the side of the bridge and out along the creek towards the sea.  It was the first time I had been there and a great selection of birds to be seen, teal, wigeon, avocets, black-tailed godwits, 1 spotted redshank, 3 greenshanks, redshank, marsh harrier, fieldfares, stonechat, little grebes etc.. It wasn't long before I saw the long tails coming up river with the tide, clearly visit on a incoming tide.  I got a few shots but they were always on the other side of the creek so pictures needed a fair crop. Met Keith Privett and Dick who were further out near the shore earlier finding an eider.  

Spotted  Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit

31st Dec.

Back to Seasalter again, the weather changed from frost and sun to a dull but a mild 7 deg. The tide was out, birds much the same as usual but the knot flock had increased to about 3-4000, it was more of a day to see how many species I could see which only amounted to 40. I did note 5 stonechats, 1 egret, c.500 wigeon, 20 teal were perhaps the only highlights.