About Me

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.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

A Terek ends the week Sunday 26th May

Tuesdays evening beach watch was uneventful as was hoping to see a Roseate Tern seen in the evening on Sunday and despite 2 hours of looking through the hundreds of Terns and Gulls. I didn't pay much attention to the waders other than the Avocets that now had chicks and the first Black-headed Gull chicks.

Black-headed Gull Chicks guarded by a Common Tern
Apart from 3 Cuckoos feeding along the environment agency road little else.

At home a surprise was this Green Woodpecker in our garden, although many have been heard this is the first to actually been seen and stay long enough to to get a pic albeit through the window.

Green Woodpecker.
Bank Holiday this weekend, last year at this time there were large numbers of waders on Pett Level. I said to Paula that i think something rare will turn up this weekend, hoping for a Bee-eater or Hoopoe I set the Birdguides Text to all reports in Kent, East and West Sussex. On Saturday reports of Bee-eater and Bonapartes Gull in north Kent came through  and then when I decided to go off and put weedkiller on a clients garden, half way through the job a report of a Terek Sandpiper at Rye Harbour. There was little choice stay finish the job or go, decision made I went. Enroute a text from Barry Yates confirming still there and within 30 minutes I was watching a patch of reeds and eventually it showed but distant.

 Thanks to a Redshank, Coote and an Avocet they flushed the bird towards the dozen or so birders watching.
Within a couple of minutes another Avocet flushed it and it flew towards the Ternery Pool. Job done I headed for home, back at the car park birders were arriving, I believe it was seen till at least 8pm but next morning could'nt be found.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Birding Northern France Day 2 (part 2) 19th May

At Marquenterre we arrived at the Heronry - amazed with the number of birds nesting in the fir trees. The camera does not do justice to this amazing sight.

White Storks, Spoonbills, Little and Cattle Egrets, plus Grey Herons nesting together

Grey Heron

Spoonbill with nesting material

White Stork

Another White Stork

White Storks and Cattle Egret

Another White Stork

White Stork and Spoonbills

Spoonbills with a bad hair day!

Arriving back at the car park we walked amoungst the pines, Christine played her tape of Crested Tit and immediately one responded adding another new bird to my list.

Crested Tit in silhouette

Time to head back to the tunnel, a great weekend that went so quick, great company, good birds, can't wait for next time.

Birding Northern France day 2 (Part 1) Sunday 19th May

We awoke to light rain and the car packed by 8.30am 2 Black Redstarts around the the hotel. Returning to Sailly Bray for another search for the Bluethroats we spent a couple of hours finding a nice Winchat and Paul finally getting onto a possible Bluethroat but Alan and I were looking elsewhere and by the time we got where it was it had gone into hiding.

There is always the good side of not getting to see what you are after, that is there is a good reason to return again.

We then set off to Marquenterre a reserve well known for Storks and Herons. A 10.50 euro entry fee was well worth what we were about to see. Stoping at the first viewpoint first a nesting Stork.

White Stork
 A shooting casualty Crane that has found refuge on the reserve for the past 10years
Common Crane
 A couple of Great White Egrets once rare now not so and almost common especially at Dungeness
2 Great White Egrets

1 Great White Egret
 Another first for me a Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy Shelduck

Ruddy Shelduck
 At least 2 pairs of Black-necked Grebe
 Spoonbills everywhere
 Plenty of Avocet, some with young.
 Singing Sedge Warblers
Sedge Warbler
Another search for reported Bluethroats drew a blank, we then arrived at the Heronry.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Birding Northern France Day 1 18th May

An early start on Saturday morning got us to the Eurotunnel half an hour early having met up with Alan, Ian and Brenda. A quick coffee break enroute got us to Sailly Bray by 10am (11am local time)

Sailly Bray

Looking for Bluethroat
 Having been given directions we tried one site then another and eventually found where we were supposed to be, we were unable to find the target species of the Bluethroat although one was possibly heard. However Sedge and Reed Warblers showed, 2 Marsh Warblers were singing and a Grasshopper Warbler reeling. A stunning male Hen Harrier flew over the reedbeds. After about 3 hours we set off to Crecy Forest.

Having lunch at this entrance track Paul pointed out a Black Woodpecker as it flew accross the track and fortunately I was looking in the right direction unlike the rest of the group and was able to watch it fly back again.
Crecy Forest
We spent about an hour looking for another but all was quiet, so moved to another part of the
8 by 4 mile forest.

Apart from the Middle Spotted Woodpecker which we failed to find our other target was Short-toed Treecreeper and it wasn't long before Paul found one and then another. But as usual the light in the forest was poor.

We next went onto Le Crotoy where we found a common sandpiper on a gravel pit, on the roadside pools Ian found my first Black-winged Stilts but were distant.
Black-winged Stilts

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt
 Black Swan

This Black Swan was giving the locals alot of attention. Sadly the first I have seen for over a year and I give them a tick!
Before retiring to the hotel we gave Sailly Bray another visit but still no sign of the Bluethroats. At the Budget Ibis Hotel in Abberville a pair of Black Redstarts were around.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Sunday 12th May - Pett Level

A quick visit to Pett Level after checking out next weekends trip to France I stopped off on the sea wall just before lunch with very little to report on the pools, beach, and sea other than 60 Turnstone on the waters edge. A walk along the canal found Common and 1 Lesser Whitethroat plus numerous Reed and and then Sedge Warblers. At Carters 17 Avocet and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit were in the water. Along the levels 100+ Swift plus Swallow and House Martins. At the scrape on opening the flap a drake Garganey took off.

 It landed a distance away near to a Mallard giving a proportion of size. Later another came closer to the hide but I was looking into the light.

Dipping  around with the Common Terns a 1st. Winter Little Gull (my first of the year) was at the back of the scrape.

Not bad for an hours birding.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Tuesday 7th May Rye Harbour

This evening I started my Tuesday evening beach watch at Rye Harbour, the beach road still closed for repairs and the A259 closed due to an accident I walked from Dog's Hill to the Ternery Pool and back which took up the whole of the evening. Highlights being the 3 Cuckoos feeding on caterpillars in the vegetation at the top of the beach.

 At the Ternery Pool the B H Gulls were busy nesting along with the Med Gulls and Sandwich Terns. The summer plumage Black-necked Grebe was showing well through the scope albeit distant.

It wasn't long before the light went but it was a lovely warm evening.