Sunday, 16 May 2010

A morning at Swanscombe

I decided on another birding session close to home today and birded Swanscombe for a few hours notching up a respectable 53 species. The highlights were a Buzzard that flew high overhead at 1006 am heading North only the second one I've ever seen here and a cracking male Black Redstart that showed well on the fences until a car passed by and it vanished.
Next stop a quick check at Northfleet and Ebbsfleet CTRL with this superb Ring-necked Parakeet squawking away with it's tuneful rendition of a pet shop.
I'm always amazed by the graffiti on walls not just the quality but how they managed to get to this bank and paint, maybe a joint effort with the local scuba club. Yet another one of my local birding areas, I really don't know juts how fortunate I am I !
The local swimming pool next to the CTRL, one of over 10 signs along this walk warning of the wanton desire not to go swimming.
There we are, no digiscoped Pratincoles, Chiffchaffs, Stilts or Dukes just common local stuff that surely the blog police will enjoy reading in the absence of other locals blogs.................
photos are available on Surfbirds though you just need to Hunter them down!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Stour valley mid May

This morning I decided to take an early morning visit to the Stour Valley with Guy Bailey, which made for a good day out and lots of summer visitors to see. By 0700 we were topping up the Grove Ferry cash gobbling parking machine and making our way down to the deserted viewing ramp, home to Martyn Wilson who was already out and about skulking above the reeds (he's very tall) . A Garden Warbler sand invisibly from the car park whilst Turtle Doves joined the invisible gang in the nearby trees. A few hours wandering about on the fantastic dry paths along the river and back to Harrison's hide allowed us to notch up a fair number of species. A pair of Garganey and 3 Greenshank were on the water meadows by the river, a few Hobbies eventually got up and about above the reeds whilst Cormorants constantly flew overhead in the stratosphere, home of many a a Stork and raptor though not today!
Cetti's put on a good show as did the new hide near the viewing mound with it's clear view of a few metres of reed bed and a narrow channel of water ?
Next stop Preston Court where more Hobbies were seen together with House Martins collecting mud for nesting in a wonderful oldy Wordly setting of traction engines and the cracking St Mildred's Church.
Collards's produced the expected gathering of 11 Hobby, though a long way to go yet to get to the dizzy heights of 60 plus birds that have gathered here some years.
Finally Stodmarsh with cracking views of Garden Warbler, a curious Nightingale and year tick views of Stodders stalwart David Feast who first started in the valley in 1967, when I was a mere 1 years old with only Turkey, Chicken, Budgie and Goose on my list!! (thing's haven't changed much) !

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Back up to date......The rest is history!!


I always find it amazing that people lose one glove and a kind hearted soul following on later, places it in an obvious place that allows either the glove loser or indeed a person that likes to only wear one glove the option of picking it up.
With a reluctance to post anything on the blog on late, I've been too busy with proper life and important stuff like work I thought I'd get things bang up to date as of this morning with this Nightingale that was singing at Swanscombe and fortunately showed well a few times for the above crap pictures to be obtained! There's been a few records of Nightingale here over the years but from memory this is my first and well worth the short walk across the rubbish strewn locality that is Swanscombe!
There's been few pickings of late in Kent that have been available for long but the reliable and easily found Iberian Chifchaff (subject to ratification by BBRC) has been performing well at that well known rarity hotspot............Walderslade. !! An interesting bird that if deemed the real deal will be the 17th for the UK and 2nd for Kent following on from the Dunge bird in 2001 pictured in the DBO report by Marcus. An obvious looking bird and distinctive song this bird has been faithful to a few chosen trees and at the time of blogging is still present...............unlike many Kent birders looking at the backs of other birders in a queue in Cornwall!!

Iberian Chiffy

During the Easter weekend I managed a bit of birding and as I hadn't seen a KP in Kent for years I decided to go to Shellness to see this very smart female Kentish Plover on the beach at Shellness. Once a more regular visitor to Kent this has become an increasingly difficult species to catch up with and often are only on one tide then gone the next

Findhorn Valley March 2010. The temptation of sledging down the valley was too much for me and as I'd never indulged in this fun pastime before ( I was a deprived child) it had to be done...........sod the Golden Eagles!! tough I did see a first year bird............More to follow the Doctor is on !
Ok, back to the story. A good week in Scotland, lots of snow, and a Lesser Scaup on the way up at Hogganfield Loch, Glasgow, a quaint little part of Glasgow complete with an ice cream and a cup of tea in the glorious sunshine, not what I'd expected in March !!
Lesser Scaup (drake) a bit too distant for a proper shot
Also over Easter news of an Alpine Swift at Chavford Hundred, Essex saw me admiring this great bird flying around the town not that far away from Swiftsure Rd, always a good omen on a twitch. Alpine Swifts are one of those really great birds that sadly often don't hang around long so this was most welcome and very close to home as the Swift flies. The first one I saw was way back in the 80's at Cromer, Norfolk from the belfry!!

Once I'd enjoyed the Alp it was back home 'eventually' courtesy of that Great British traffic jam, the Dartford Bridge !!
A photo from the winter post not seeing a Bittern at Littlebrook. The trio of Birding legends are from left to right, Andy 'Larid' Lawson..........(Tittletattler to you and me), Guy Bailey and Phil 'Woodlark' Royston sheltering from the cold at that well known beauty spot, Dartford!
Another bird from the May bank holiday, this cracking Hoopoe adjacent to the CTRL at Lenham many of them roam the UK 'never to be found by birders' ?
last but not least, our cultural attache on location at Lenham Heath drumming up support for a well hung Parliament...............Our country needs him Vote for Gibbo!!
ps Curently residing in a queue in SW Cornwall taking a break from his beloved Kent