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.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Dungeness Sunday 18th January 2015

We met up at the Hanson hide at 8.30 in damp and drizzly conditions, which continued for most of the day. Sandra spotting our first Bittern of the year followed by another and then another. The Ruddy Duck was still there but for how long? Walking round to the screen hide to get better views of Bittern we were rewarded with a fly over. One of several Great White Egrets were fairly close so I tried to get something with the new small camera
 

Later on there was one a lot closer


Great White Egret
 Over on the reserve a drake Smew was distant as were the 8 redheads
Drake Smew

With the weather not really improving we went to the Cattle Egrets at Lydd then onto Walland Marsh finding the herd of Bewick Swans, Paul managing to pick out the Whooper Swan and had great views of a male Hen Harrier. A quick visit the sea found Kittiwake, Gannet, Razorbill and Guillemot. Next stop was Scotney finding the male Scaup and 2 Black-necked Grebes. On to Winchelsea Beach where the Lesser Yellowlegs was showing close to the Environment agency road at the western end of the reserve.




Lesser Yellowlegs



On the tideline were Sanderling, Dunlin, Greyplover, masses of Gulls, Curlews and Oystercatchers.
On the shingle ridge a lone Golden Plover.
Golden Plover


Having had a good day Bob and I still decided to call in at the watchpoint to look for the Barn Owl, it wasn't long before it showed. Also picked up 3 Marsh Harriers, another Great White Egret and a Kingfisher. An exceptional day with some good rarities between the group 75 species.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Sunday 11th January Heading West avoiding the crowds

Sunday started with a cold, breezy and sunny morning but there were 10 vehicles at the Lesser Yellow Legs site at 8.00am changed my thought of heading to Dunge and decided to go and find my own birds and try out some more with my new compact camera.
 
Setting off at 10.30 I headed for Newhaven to see if any Jack Snipe were where I saw them last year. Sadly after an hour of stomping around all I could find were a pair of Stonechats, 40+ Goldfinches, numerous Skylarks and around 5 - 8 Common Snipe. 
 
 
Last years Jack Snipe site
I decided to move on further west to see the Red-breasted Mergansers at Widewater. Pulling into the car park 2 pairs were immediately obvious with the males competing for the females.



As usual all were having a bad hair day
Next on the agenda was to find the female Common Scoter, although having seen many as brown blobs on the sea I wanted to see this one up close. The gathering of birders soon gave away its whereabouts, and gradually she swam towards me where I was able to get some exceptional views.




Looks Grumpy
With all that in the bag I went to Shoreham Harbour and on the middle jetty there were 2 Purple Sandpipers and a couple Turnstones on the beach


Turnstone

Purple Sandpiper
Finally heading back to the car a Rock Pipit called and flew overhead eventually landing some distance away.
Rock Pipit

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Belgium Day 2 - 5th January 2015

Setting off from Namur we had neither lost or gained in the Casino of Hotel Beauregarde. A good breakfast we set off as dawn broke only to hit heavy traffic around Brussels. Our first stop today was at Wondelgem -The Long Fields just north of Ghent. With plenty of Bullrushes (reedmace) it was a hard task to track the Pendulines down but with the help of a local we found two.
The Long Fields Wondelgem
 







Our next stop was at Uitkerke aature reserve overlooking the marshland where thousands of geese were grazing, the majority were Whitefronts but also found Barnacles and a single Pink foot. A bonus was male and ringtail Hen Harrier plus Beardies calling in the reeds. Also a large number of Kestrels.
White-fronted Geese 
 Our final stop before the Tunnel was at Oye Plage near Calais. Heading out of the dunes onto the beach we found a flock of 8 Shorelarks (I have only ever seen singles) A great end to a fabulous couple of days

Shorelark in bad light
 
 
Thanks to great company from Paul Bob and Sandra
 

Twitching in Belgium Sunday 4th January 2015

A quick decision on Saturday to change the Eurotunnel booking for next week to Sunday (tomorrow) was agreed by all and at 6.00 we set off for Belgium. Straight onto the shuttle we arrived 5 mins ahead of time and sped the 200 miles through fog and mist across France and Belgium to Dinant.
On arriving there were many birders where I asked that fatal question that will haunt me forever
Ou est l'oiseau 
 
The lady birder looked at me in disgust thinking I was taking the p*** but then I said Wallcreeper she kindly gave us directions. On arriving at the "wall" we told it had flown north. After a time we walked towards the Citadel and there it was on the brick wall. Having had good scope views it flew.
Hearinf that it roosts on the Citadel we climbed the thousand steps and early afternoon we got some more cracking views before it flew again. Thinking we had done well we decided to head back to the original rockface  where it flew over our heads and landed close by giving us even better views.
By 4.00pm it climbed further away so we said can't get better than that so we headed to the hotel in Namur.
Dinant (from the Citadel)

The Citadel wall where we first saw the Wallcreeper

The "Wall" where we got the best views







Wallcreeper

Wallcreeper Belgium Sunday 4th January 2015

More photos of the Wallcreeper