Sunday, 13 June 2010

South Wales Warbler bonanza

An opportunity arose to visit South Wales and see the territorial Marmora's Warbler that has taken up residence at Blorenge near Abergavenny. The day started at 3am at Joyden's Wood where I met up with Guy and 'as expected' Phil turned up a liitle later with yes you've guessed it England flag on the car!! Fortunately we we're travelling in Guys' car, a flag free zone as we headed to pick up Josh near the M25. And so the quartet headed West through the wee hours chatting about nighttime dog walking, previous twitches, birders with fingers missing etc etc. Josh must have thought he was on a SAGA trip with tales of the 70s and early 80s.

On arrival at the site the bird was already singing it's heart out and we got fantastic views of the European Warbler in a great setting with Tree Pipits, Whinchats and a few other birders escaping Kent including Brendan on route to Liverpool !

I looked up in my notebook when I saw my last Marmora's which was May 25th 1993 at St Abbs, Scotland in a May that saw me doing stacks of birding and seeing a Cattle Egret, Serin, Marbled Teal and Black throated Thrush at Dunge, a cracking male Citrine Wag at Fleet Pond, Ring necked Duck at Stockers' Lake, Great Reed at Elmley, Oriental Prat, Pacific Swift and Desert Warbler in Norfolk, plus Sard, Short toed Lark, Red-backed Shrike, and Melody at Dunge later in the month................................I've had worse months !!

Nearby at Wentwood Forest, this Iberian Chiffchaff sang away and was good comparison having just seen the Walderslade bird.

The Marmora's crowd, note the camouflaged hat!

Neil Bostock finds a high point to view the bird

Wood Warbler near the Marmora's site, sadly rarely seen in Kent these days, a cracking bird and another good reason to visit Welsh Woodlands

Common Buzzard, very common and a great bird always to see, fortunately a regular sight in Kent nowadays. A great day out in the field

Sheppey.....Hares, Avocets and Starlings !

A very soggy Hare at Elmley
Showing my age, this looks like Hartley Hare from the Pipkins, just google it you'll soon find it.
Some call them vermin, but they're still a cracking looking bird happy to nest alongside other species as long as that other species is 100m away alongside no Avocets !!
Cute and ready to colonise further, another real success story in Kent with breeding birds at many localities now. Gone are the days of special trips to Minsmere to see Avocets and Marsh Harriers................remember Mr Marsh Harrier in Island Mere with his running commentary on the Marsh Harriers....'Marsh Harrier going left' 'Marsh Harrier going right'.................................20 minutes later of non-stop commentary 'Marsh Harrier' in bush. During this time, a Little Bittern, Sponbill or even a Black Kite could have passed over but , on goes the Harriers every movement commentary
Hungry Starling

Med Gulls 'Common as muck'

Over the last few weeks Med Gulls have pretty much become an expected sighting in North Kent, and I'm started to see/ hear them regularly over the house now (Northfleet). This has been a great success story and one that I could never have imagined years ago whilst waiting to glimpse one at Dungeness. The distinctive call of Meds has very much become a feature of a day out in North Kent, both coastal and inland. Back in the 80's even seeing at bird at Croxley Green, West London was a red letter day yet now we expect them. The bird above was at Swanscombe, one of 3 birds that day.
The sheep fields above Capel Fleet, Sheppey home to 27 Meds the day I visited, with mostly adults present but also some 1st year and 2 year birds.
First summer
adult summer
Another adult at Shellness flew close by looking for a freebie chip or bit of batter!!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

It's coming home?

It would be lovely to think that Stone Curlews were coming home as 1966 was the first year that that didn't actually breed at Dungeness, a sad loss and one I regret missing.........such a bird locally again residing in the county would be fantastic. 1966 just so happened to be the year we last won something apparently.......................... and it just so happens to be the only football I'll ever watch (not that my Dad heard much of it with me screaming in me cot back in 66 !!)
Oh well, 3 matches to watch then they go back on safari!! Is that a Lion or an Elephant?