My first jaunt out to this new RSPB reserve for me this afternoon accompanied by Mo, We saw no fewer than six Short-eared Owls in view at one time, as well as at least one ringtail Hen Harrier and the superb Rough-legged Buzzard, which gave great scope views despite looking into the sun.
The owls never came really that close despite us using the car as a hide, great birds to watch though.
Got along the seawall early doors today, and as luck would have it just caught sight of the 3 Bewick's Swans heading off the reserve south @07:48. Over the river Thames, up over crayford and continued south.
This has happened a few times in recent years with birds coming in late to roost and heading off at first light, so was well pleased I connected.
Walking down towards the centre it was evident that the first real cold spell of the winter had shaken a few birds around. With both Fieldfare and Redwing seen in good numbers and plenty of wildfowl & waders shuffling around.
After catching up with H & Dom in the centre I headed out back west along the seawall adding a pair of Stonechat and a flock of Golden Plover over. Scanning across the target pools I could see another stocky white swan which turned out to be another Bewick, and shortly after another bird passed infront of me over the seawall to join.
With both Peregrine (carrying prey) and Raven west over wennington, it turned out not a bad couple of hours birding with the regular Marsh harriers and Buzzard also noted.
Lets hope the swans stick around for the new year for when there could be some serious competition materialising. Watch this space!
Seems ages since Ive last been out due to Christmas parties and work commitments, so it was great to get out for an hour on Christmas eve, decided to pay Valentino a visit, the regular wintering Med gull, now back for its Fifteenth winter!
Cracking views and regularly comes to bread, so well worth a visit if your passing through.
Egyptian geese have spread to every local park now.
Just to keep you in that Christmas mood. :-)
Found this smart Red-breasted goose in mayesbrook park the other day, smart bird despite its origin!
Today's Essex high tide survey site produced a good mix of wildfowl & waders. Both Eider and Merganser were seen alongside Pintail and Brent in small numbers upriver, and an increase in Avocet and Dunlin with smaller numbers of Grey Plover and Bar-wits.
Several Little gulls passed through over high tide, as did two POMARINE SKUA which sheered upriver causing brief panic amongst the roosting waders before carrying on upriver.
The Corn Bunting flock now increasing to forty birds were the only noteworthy passerines.
Amazingly this was my second bird at this site in exactly the same spot, the first being a male back in 1997 (i think), Today's bird performed just as that bird did back then, but today i am armed with a camera!
The bird was actively feeding along the seawall and with patience aloud close viewing with the bird approaching us rather than the other away around.
Black Redstart was also on show around the oyster farm, and a single SHORELARK accompanied several snow buntings down by coldharbour lagoon.
Good ringing session this morning, 46 new birds included my first Coal Tit, Several Redwing and two Yellowhammer, first two Fieldfare of the autumn flew over and still a trickle of mipit and grey wagtail movement coming through of note,
Hopefully with a colder spell we might go for some more of the winter thrushes/finches or woodcock.
Nice start to the North Kent winter bird surveys today for me and Mo, With us picking up Short-eared Owl, Merlin, two Lapland Buntings and pick of the bunch this fine Great Grey Shrike which was feeding on crane flies on the west side of Egypt Bay.
Plenty of Bearded Reedlings, Good numbers of Stonechat and several Green sands were best of the rest, at least 4 Northern Wheatear still around and a couple of Swallow through.
A Steady passage of Chaffinch (all west) was noted throughout today's survey to.