Sunday, 9 November 2008

Old friends reunited in East Kent

Tuesday 6th Nov and a day off work. The NE'ly winds had dropped a few rares into the UK over the last few days and with Kent having a good run a crack team was put together to bird North Foreland in the hope of finding a big rarity. In the fast car, Andy 'blue tail, formerly Gull and raptor boy' Lawson, John Tilbrook, Nigel 'Weirwood' Driver and myself, in the white with a shade of grey and rust van, Gary Taylor. First port of call at 0720 the clifftop scrub at North Foreland, except that the council had already cut it down and hence we birded the clifftop grass and scrubby patches that they missed. At one time I was wondering whether I had sufficient paper to write down all the birds, Dunnock, another Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, oh another Dunnock. The thoughts of an early breakfast appeared more appealing until we met Mr F Solly and shortly after Dartford Warbler was in the bag, a particularly showy individual as my photo below indicates. Stunning views at times.
Undeterred by a notebook full of Dunnocks and a superb Dartford Warbler as a boost we walked further towards the Captain Digby and it's very viewable tamarisks that could hold a dozen Dartfords. A dog in mid faecal drop off flushed a Snow Bunting off the clifftop path that fortunately landed in the grass and gave cracking views. Overhead the calls of Redpoll, Siskin and a fast moving Sparrowhawk kept the interest up.
A look around the Whiteness area post breakfast and cholesterol top up revealed a vocal but elusive Ring Ousel, three Swallows overhead and then out of the blue three Waxwings flew over and away calling all the time. Add to this up to eight Firecrest and things were getting to fever pitch.
Next port of call Elmwood Avenue where a flock of 21 Pink foot Geese flew over and away plus a few small flocks of Fieldfare, Redwing and out to sea two Little Gull.
Andrew decided to bird the Ramsgate area next and the Bluetail park gave us a Yellow browed Warbler, a few more Firecrest, Chiffchaff, Reed Bunting and stacks of Goldcrests, but still no Pallas's Warbler.
With time getting on we birded Cliffsend, a great place that just looks like a rarity hot spot but despite all our efforts, Tree Sparrow, four Swallow, Chiffchaff and more Goldcrests was the best we could manage. Nigel and John look intently into the bushes, waiting for that 'sprite' to appear. It didn't though!!

( Did Andy tell you he's got a new scope ?)


Snow Bunting at North Foreland. Mega bird

Palm Bay cafe and arterial feeding. Home of a good Big breakfast

The incredibly showy Dartford Warbler at Foreness, I should have posted this photo on Surfbirds!
We finished up at Newland's Farm on a wild Goose chase that was very wild and flighty and we left without seeing a Bean.
Great day out in a much under watched corner of Kent, North Foreland is the best spot in North Kent for birds they're just waiting to be found.

8 comments:

steve ash said...

hello Barry, do you sell your photos, i would like one of the Dartford Warbler, (the showy one).

Barry said...

Hi Steve
The Dartford Warbler photo is priceless, it is more suited to the Tate modern or eyes shut photography class.
Barry

Dylan said...

Bazza,

Since when did the sacred soil of the wondrous isle become part of NORTH Kent? Thanet is an independant kingdom, seperated from the dregs of North Kent birding by the mighty Wantsum.

Respectfully yours

Dylan of Dumpton

Barry said...

Dylan of Dumpton
I'll be very polite because you're much taller than me and I value my safety. Within The blog title North Kent 'and further afield' . I feel that the hallowed land of Thanet across the WANT SOME, (sorry Wantsum) despite being an independant Kingdom and home to very tall birders and good birds still constitutes 'further afield.
In fact many afields, Elmwood, Whiteness, Botany Bay, Cliffs end and Cliffs start.
Good to hear from you
Barry of Northfleet

Dylan said...

Bazza,

As you quite rightly state, Thanet is certainly "further afield". I therefore suggest you look at the final line of this posting and spot your wishful thinking. North Foreland is definitely on Thanet - home to King Franny and Queen Phyllis.

Blah, blah, blah...

Dylan of Dumpton

Barry said...

ok
NE Kent then!! Will Sir Lawson of Dartford be getting a Knighthood for the Bluetail?
Barry

Tony Morris said...

That breakfast picture should carry a health warning!

Barry said...

Egg, sausage, bacon, fried bread, toast, big mug of tea
That's what birding is really about!