I am a novice to birding and have become interested since walking Frank our dog, a cross Flat Coat / Springer around Hastings Country Park and the surrounding area, I realised the little brown birds weren't just sparrows.
On a brilliant sunny morning 6 of us set off with Paul. Leaving the cars at Toot Rock we headed north through the mud along the Royal Military Canal adding a couple of Little Egrets,a pair of Stock Doves investigating a barn owl box and a few Curlew in the fields. A distant party of 17 White-Fronts (geese) with them was a single Dark-Bellied Brent Goose. At the Pannel Valley we saw our first birds of prey - a male Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard. A heavily streaked female Merlin flashed by and a Kestrel put in an appearance, also several Long Tailed Tits,Stonechat and many Reed Buntings.
Our first target bird of the day was the Great Grey Shrike who obliged very well flitting amoung the tops of the bushes, at the scrape the usual ducks were there plus good views of a couple of Snipe.
On the way back to the cars very little was seen except a male Bullfinch at Toot Rock. A quick look on the sea gave us several Great Crested Grebes and a couple of Red Throated Divers and a Fulmar over Cliff End.
Next stop was at the Castle Water Hide where near the castle a couple of Ravens joined the Jackdaws, on the water 4 Smew 2 drakes and 2 redheads,
2 Bitterns flew over with one giving exception views as it landed in the reeds oposite and went for a stroll, the usual ducks were there and a couple of Marsh Harriers put in an appearance. On the way back a Sparrow Hawk flew overhead.
Next stop was on Walland Marsh in search for the Bewick's Swans which we eventually found in the distance, but also found a couple of Red Legged Partridge and a small flock of Corn Buntings, eventually ending up at the Woolpack we headed for the Harrier Roost, several Marsh Harriers were seen in the distance over the Dungeness reserve they didn't come home to roost! A couple of large flocks of Golden Plover and also Lapwing were sent up, but just as darkness set in a Male Hen Harrier gave a good flight display landed in the nearbye reeds. Another good day with 6 species of rapter, the Shrike,Smew and Bitterns.