Monday, 25 February 2013

Black Redstart

On the way back home from yesterday's trip I popped into ferry lane (rainham) where earlier in the day Mr Croft found 3 Black Redstarts on the foreshore, sheltering and feeding from the cold east wind.

Having found one here a few years back, perhaps this could be a regular occurrence for this species here in this fairly under-watched part of Rainham.

This cracking male was still showing by the time I had arrived.

this grey wagtail also feeding in the same spot.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Dungeness and Me

Dungeness has to be my favourite birding hot spots on the mainland, and never fails to impress, even on the most quietest of day's there's always something to see, of late it seems one of the best sites in the country to see Great White egret and Bittern both very rare and scarce at most other sites.

Over the years Ive seen a great number of birds here: Little Bittern, Night Heron(s), Glossy Ibis(s), Purple Heron, King Eider, Oriental Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Baird's Sand, Audouins Gull, Laughing Gull, Gull-Billed Tern, Crested Lark, Subalpine Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Penduline Tit, Short-toed treecreeper, and that's off the top of my head + loads of scarce Hoopoe's, Red-rumps etc etc.

My first ever trip back in the mid 80's on a YOC coach trip I pulled out a juv Red-backed Shrike and many years later a Serin, early one May when all seemed quiet still managing a find a male Pied fly, singing Wood warbler and a flock of Dotterel calling in-off, So dunge has always been and always will be a special place.

So today no different, a spur of the moment jaunt down to dunge and arriving at dawn with a Barn Owl along the A2070 for starter's, arriving at the ARC pits one of the first birds seen was a mighty Great White Egret on the far side, scanning the pit several pairs of Goldeneye and five red head Smew and a brief Bittern made up for a great start.

Some entrance track Tree Sparrows and another fly-bye Great White Egret before heading to lade gravel pit where I added both drake Scaup and Merganser.

Onto the fishing boats where the wintering 3w Glaucous Gull showed well, the sea was alive with gazzilions of Gt crested grebes, auks and red throats.

Walland marsh held several Tundra Bean geese amongst some White-front and greylag with some Bewick's in for good measure.

So back home in time for lunch and a great tally of birds, cant wait till my next dunge trip.........

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Common Crane's on Sheppey

Back to our north Kent survey site today and nice to see last weeks two Barnacle Geese still present amongst the regular Greylags, but no sign of the White-fronts.

Great views of male Merlin here and Five bearded Tits, and the amount of waders on the foreshore at low tide is Awesome......

After we headed down to Harty ferry lane on Sheppey for a bit of a raptor fest, on reaching the hill we find the 7 Common Cranes that have been resident flying towards us out of the gloom!! me and Mo both grab our camera's and manage some distant flight shots of these magnificent birds.

I phone-scoped

Four Buzzard and two ringtail later we headed to Shellness for some Waders, where all the regulars can be found.

A flock of some 200 White-fronts held a dozen Barnacle Geese here too, another female Merlin rounded the day of nicely.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Wild Geese steel the show.

Back to north Kent survey site for me and Mo, stopping at the nearby alpha pools of cliffe first, We find a good selection of duck including a female Long-Tailed Duck, 2+ Scaup and adding both Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes to the regulars.

One of last months adult Little Stints still being present as was the aythya hybrid resembling a lesser scaup.

Our good fortune didn't stop there on discovering 35 White-Fronted Geese alongside two Barnacles loosely associating with the resident Greylag flock on our survey site, always an awesome sight to find proper wild geese!

I phone digi-shots

Half a dozen Ruff, Two each of Green Sandpiper, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit were also seen and single Stonechat and Merlin added a good tally of birds for the day.

Friday, 8 February 2013

More Grebe Porn !

After today's Essex survey we popped back down to Dartford for some more Slav grebe action, with the bird still showing well on the small pool at Littlebrook and with a bit of sunshine it was hard to pull ourselves away from this cracking bird.

A bonus of Eight Waxwing on the approach road was a nice surprise.

Not much to report from my survey site.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Pitsea Catch 2-02-13

My first Gull ringing session of the new year and once again it did not disappoint, with just a small group today at Pitsea landfill it was just one catch with some 276 birds of six species trapped and ringed, the majority being Herring with some larger argentatus ringed too and certainly were more of a handful than our own birds !!

the mele...

Several recoveries were netted and a control bird was caught bearing a Russian ring will be interesting.

Black-headed gulls were all colour ringed as were the Two adult Common.

Other larger Gulls consisted of several Lesser black backs and a dozen Greater black backs and an interesting first year bird that when netted was thought to be a yellow legg turned out to be in fact a Caspian Gull.

Though this bird seemed a bit odd, in not showing any grey on the mantle, and upper mandible possibly showing some deformity, though the spots along the greater coverts, pale underwing and steep pale forehead, long bill showed signs of classic Caspian.

Two adult Med gulls flew overhead and a Woodcock along the entrance track were also seen.

some of the local foxes.......

this one was in a skip !!!