Thursday, 16 March 2017

Migrants and a NEW Bird for Kent

13th March

Just a short visit to SS for an hour finding a buzzard, c.300 redwings in the Graveney cherry orchard and along SS seafront, a swallow, my earliest record.


A trip to Rye Harbour for a couple of hours whilst the other half did the town! I have not been for a year or so but every time I visit I'm so impressed with the way it is run and always new improvements made.  The first surprise were c.40 odd avocets on the floods, never seen that many before, however, not many migrants except the c.100 Sandwich terns on the main 'lake', I only expected a couple. Hardly any birders about I had the main 'sea side' hide to myself which was nice.

16th March

I took a drive over towards Belmont/ Eastling hoping to get photos of buzzards but there seemed to be very few, only 2 or 3 today. However, what was of interest was a large bird of prey being mobbed by gulls as I slowly drove along the tiny roads, some more like tracks. Quickly stopping I could see large white wing patches and tail plus a large bill which reminded me of caracaras of Central America. I got a few grab shots as it flew about and it finally landing in a tree. Whilst going back to the car for the scope it flew off but I found it again after a long drive around the lanes, it had returned to the next field amidst the 93 Med gulls I counted! It sat at the back of the field and stayed until I left, it's ID was that of a crested caracara, a first for Kent, lol.  If they can have a Chinese pond heron why not a ship assisted caracara as it had no rings or jessies, its on my list! 

 Crested Caracara

 I counted 93 Med gulls in one field

Sunday, 12 March 2017

A Week at Seasalter Pt3


A look over the sea revealed 6 red-throated divers plus I counted 15 ringed plovers on the 'island' before a dog walker flushed everything. I had a look a the brents again and took a few photos before going to Bossenden Wood for a change of scenery finding nuthatches, treecreeper, goldcrests etc. but no goodies although it was nice to meet Phil Smith who was doing the same no doubt.

I decided to go back home via SS. maybe I might get a glimpse of the raven(s). I quickly stopped on the 'rise' as I saw this odd corvid flying across towards the Sportsman. Brilliant view of a hooded crow, it flew towards the YC and landed in sheep fields behind out of sight!


I saw the 20 plus waxwings behind the Jet garage again first thing then I went along to SS. The sea was a flat calm so I did some sea watching from the pumping station and to the east were lots of grebes, two of which looked clearly smaller. I got back in the car and drove to the Ski Club where I had closer views and surprise surprise the two small ones were black-necked grebes, one in breeding plumage the other still in winter guise, a site record I believe. They stayed all morning at least, drifting up to the pumping station then they paddled back east. A black-throated diver was also present along with the 47 grebes.

Another pm visit to watch the owls again, 4 SEOs I think. It was good to see a couple of hares especially after the other week where they suffered under the illegal activities of six hare coursers who I saw carrying at least six dead animals.

Seasalter; stopping at the pumping station I found  the black brant feeding with a few other brents right below the beach.  Most of the waders are disappearing fast now but plenty of turnstones are still about plus the egret made another appearance to one of the tidal pools.

On the plots a male bearded tit, thanks to Geoff who had just seen a few by the concrete bridge, further round a kestrel was perched on a telegraph pole.

I then made a visit to Hampton finding 1 purple sandpiper and a rock pipit.

A Week at Seasalter Pt2


A pleasant sunny, spring day with temperatures of 7 degs but a fresh wind blowing kept things cool. Another trip around SS, much the same as yesterday although an egret was my first for a while, the knot flock was still evident with c.1500 on the flats and further out on the sea were 6 red-throated divers.  On the plots a pair of linnets and a green woodpecker were good to see but no ducks apart from 2 mallard. I was out of luck to find some golden plovers in front of the YC., no doubt gone north, however, a peacock butterfly brightened up the morning.  On Horse Sands there were 58 common seals.


Andy Malone sent me a text, Glaucous gull off Joy Lane, I quickly got down there and found it finally as it had drifted out a fair way, a Med gull was also there. I then pushed on to SS and looked at the brents again taking photos of the brant.

As the tide started to leave the beach I got a few shots of oystercatchers as they came in to feed and whilst I was talking to a hut owner a kestrel landed on the breakwater. Another Med gull was on the 'hard' just off the pumping station outfall.

Late afternoon I had a look for the owls again.

A Week at Seasalter Pt1

6th March

I decided I would have a week just birding at Seasalter and keeping an eye on the waxwings just outside my patch boundary. So first thing was to look for the waxwings that seem to be spending a lot of time near the Jet Garage at the bottom of Borstal Hill and just around the corner in Joy Lane there were six feeding on a berry bush. 

Moving to Seasalter Lane I found cetti's calling plus the usual pigeons, crows, chaffinch and gulls etc. and a stop at Lucerne Drive revealed 17 curlews, c.30 lapwings on the marsh behind. At the seafront there were 6 grey plovers, turnstones, redshanks, brents, 4 lesser black-backed gulls, 4 blackwits plus other common waders. On the plots, 6 teal and 1 gadwall in the dykes plus stonechat, blue/grt tits but a little quiet generally. I walked onto the LNR and studied the 1000 strong brent flock looking for black brant to which I found two. I finished the morning with 49 species.

I returned late pm looking for owls where I saw 2 short-eared owls and 1 barn owl.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Waxwings and Owls


I'd been hearing about a flock of circa 30 waxwings roaming across the western end of Whitstable. Andy Malone seeing them in the Island Wall area, Ian Rendall saw them at Stream Walk and Mike Roser found them at Joy Lane yesterday then Mark Chiddwick spotted early this morning by the Jet Garage. I did a search of the area and found a couple in Joy Lane which soon vanished I then went to the Fire station where there are some crab apple trees, the whole flock of c.30 later returned here to feed enabling me to get some poor shots.

 Late pm I went to Seasalter looking for owls finding 3 S.E.Os. and 1 barn owl.

Photos From Grove and a Magpie at Seasalter

27th Feb.

I had a walk around the plots yesterday but there was nothing unusual except two Med gulls that flew over.

On the 27th I did a quick look around SS for the 36 cranes that were seen last night at Pegwell but no luck although I did get a photo of a magpie, very difficult to get close to I find. Onto Grove getting shots of teal, tufteds and a distant water pipit