Sunday 27 January 2013

Walk around Chatham Maritime

Black-headed Gull (first winter)

Shag. Single bird on basin one

Shags. Two together on basin two

Shag. Single bird on basin one

Shags. Two together on basin two

Saturday 26 January 2013

Capel Cranes and Lower Halstow Brant

We ventured onto the Isle of Sheppey this morning to look for the seven Common Cranes that turned up earlier in the week. This site always delivers quality winter birding and although we weren't out for long, we enjoyed what we saw: Common Cranes (4 adults, 3 immatures), Merlin (1), Marsh Harrier (8+), Bewick's Swan (2), White-fronted Goose (c200+), Green Sandpiper (2), Ruff (5) and Common Buzzard (1).

As we drove home to Gillingham, we stopped to look at the Avocets (172), feeding on the outgoing tide at Funton Creek and then stopped at Lower Halstow to look at the Black Brant among a flock of over 300 Brent Geese (Dark-bellied). We did locate the bird quite quickly and managed a few record shots through my scope on the phone. So the quality isn't great!

Black Brant

Black Brant

Black Brant

Saturday 19 January 2013

Gillingham Waxwings (Again)

The task set before us today was to try and locate Waxwing; particularly as Brenda had not been with me last Tuesday when I happened luckily on a few as I made my way to the railway station at Gillingham. Knowing that there had been a small group at Lower Halstow as recently as Thursday, we made our way to the brickfields and carefully set about the search. Eventually I managed a quick view of a single bird that unfortunately eluded Brenda's gaze! Taking time out for a welcome cream tea at the nearby 'Barge' we searched again after, but no further sightings were made. Other species seen around the area included: Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Redwing (8), Fieldfare (15), Bullfinch (1) and Brent Goose (c80).

A slow drive home keeping an eye out for Waxwings seemed like a reasonable plan, so we decided to take a route via where I'd seen them Tuesday, little expecting them to still be around! I had not realised that there was as plentiful food source in the area as there clearly must have been, for as we pulled up near the junction, we were surprised to count six Waxwings calling and feeding at the junction of Sturdee Avenue and Barnsole Road around the school grounds. We captured a few record shots in very poor light, attracting some strange looks from passing cars and pedestrians, some of whom enquired as to what we were looking at of interest!



Tuesday 15 January 2013

Waxwing Surprise!

Waxwings are being well reported throughout Kent at the moment, but the unexpected sight of two individuals at the junction of Sturdee Avenue and Barnsole Road in Gillingham as I parked the car before walking to the railway station completely lifted my spirits.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Motney Hill

Following a break in the mist, we went to Motney Hill at 13:00 for a couple of hours. A Cetti's Warbler was calling from the reedbed, the tide was out and the shorebirds and ducks were distributed thinly and mostly distantly: Canada Goose, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Shelduck, Redshank, Lapwing, Knot, Grey Plover, Avocet, Dunlin and Curlew. Walking west round the hill, a few surprises were being pushed up on the incoming tide: Red-breasted Mergansers (1 male, 2 female), and a single Eider. More expected, there were also Great Crested Grebes (15) and a single Little Egret.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Dover, Kent

Black-throated Diver

Black-throated Diver
Cormorant (Sinensis)


Tuesday 1 January 2013

Walking off the festive excess!

We decided to stay local for our first excursion of the year and headed for the Strand in Gillingham from where we walked to Motney and back in fine weather. Arriving at 09:20 (not bad for us!), and arrived back at the car around 13:45. Highlights included a count of over 1000 Avocet a couple of Marsh Harriers and the sheer variety and numbers of common estuarine wildfowl and waders so close to home.

Avocets, Brent Geese, Shelduck, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Dunlin and Redshank