Tuesday, 21 February 2017

In Brief and Hare Coursing

A  quick visit to Seasalter was produced a buzzard over the plots but not much else.

Another Hampton  afternoon visit seeing the two purple sandpipers again.


I went to Ramsgate/Pegwell Bay looking at the fulmars now back on territory but they were not very tempting or well placed for photography. It was interesting talking to half a dozen people who were busy destroying Pacific oysters with  hammers etc. which are invading our coastline. Of course they were bonafide volunteers for Natural England and had been on this crusade for some years. 

I went onto Kingsgate and had better luck with the fulmars, about six birds being present. It was interesting to see one pair had burrowed a long way into the cliffe, both birds coming out of the hole so it must have been quite and excavation.

At home a chiffchaff dropped into the garden for a couple of minutes.


A large flock of brents circa. 2500 were present near C. Coote plus I counted 391 shelduck at the water's edge and c.300 barwits were at the mouth of the Swale.

A disturbing sight was of six hare coursers and dogs with about seven dead hares. What seemed crazy, they were doing it in the full view of the many people along the seawall. Keep your eyes out for this illegal activity.

Bits and Pieces


Blackcap in the garden followed in the evening with a visit to Kingsmead car park, Canterbury to see the Starling murmuration, possibly circa.4-5000 birds, quite a sight.


I went to Grove hoping to photograph the kingfisher which did not show, so after a couple of hours I went to Hampton, plenty of gadwall and teal etc..

At Hampton the usual stars were on show with the two purple sandpipers lurking about on the beach and breakwaters and the Mediterranean gull on the sea keeping company with the common and black-headed gulls. On the play park a pied wagtail was busy feeding on the grassy areas and only momentarily still for a nano second whilst I attempted a photograph. 

Having the most of the day free I went to Seasalter late pm seeing two short-eared owls over the fields.

Friday, 10 February 2017


6th Feb.

No camera today as it was very overcast and not a day for photos and after the first few minutes I saw two peregrines on a pylon and two pylons beyond a raven, a good start. Nothing much more exciting than that but a fairly good haul of common stuff with 51 species seen over the morning. In front of the pumping station were c.250 brents and 9 shelduck plus in the area lots of dunlin, plus small numbers of redshank, barwits, turnstones and ringed plovers. A count of 11 black-tailed godwits by the old 'island' and 26 great crested grebes and 2 red-throated divers further out.  

On the plots I walked the east and west tracks but didn't find much except in the dykes which held 7 mallard, 5 teal, 4 gadwall and 1 little grebe. It was good to see a nice fox along the path.

On the edge of the LNR I found another little grebe, a couple of stonechats, 1 mipit and strained the ears to tick off skylark plus robin, dunnock and heron. further out I counted another 140 shelduck.

Bar-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher from sunnier days! 

Kingfisher at Grove

5th Feb.

It was a rather dull, gloomy morning but I decided to go to Grove and hopefully see something.  The view from the Feast hide was more open after some much needed clearance work, the old island has been moved further out into the middle.  It was rather quiet with a couple of wigeon, a few gadwall, teal, mallard to complete the scene. A couple of green sandpipers and a marsh harrier put in an appearance and it wasn't until midday when a kingfisher came to the 'perch'.

Red-throated Divers Galore

30th Jan.

Abandoning some carpentry work I zoomed off to Swalecliffe after a call from Geoff informing me of 3 long-tailed ducks on the deck there. However, as expected they had flown but I did manage to see the great northern diver,  plus a razorbill and lots (19) of red-throats on the water, some close in. I moved off to Seasalter where I counted 48 red-throated divers, 2 mergansers. and c.30 great crested grebes.

Whitstable Waxwings and Hampton

28th Jan.
News of two waxwings on a cherry tree in Gordon Road  where I once lived seemed a more reliable twitch than the pine bunting. Only three minutes away from home they were immediately found and afforded some poor photos, bad positioning, poor light and two many twigs in the way. However, I got a few shots and I made several visits in the following days, I think they were present for just over a week.

I later went over to Hampton with a friend who wanted to try and photograph some birds. We found the two purple sandpipers plus two redshanks and a couple of sanderling plus a rock pipit.

Frozen at Murston

26th Jan.
Hearing the latest twitching news I went to Murston the following morning hoping to see a Pine Bunting. It must have been the coldest morning this winter with an icy east wind which after three hours left me shaking with cold. I did not see the bird although others did but you needed to be looking at a specific piece of vegetation at a distance of about 75 yards. for the 5 seconds when it was visible. I did return a day or so later with the same result so that was the end of that saga! No more!