Saturday, 18 May 2013

Dusky Thrush - Margate

Thanks to Shaun for driving; i managed to get down to Margate this afternoon for the Dusky Thrush. I am really pleased i went and we had good views for hour / hour and a half as it slowly made its way through the Sycamore it was held up in.
Around 150odd people still there when we arrived even more if you included the dead ones. Any way great thanks not only to Shaun for the drive but also Mary Popplebottom, she knows why...
Digiscoped a few shots and these were the better ones:

Shaun...a very happy individual.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Holme, Thornham, Titchwell

I was in Norfolk, leaving Tuesday morning to arrive about lunchtime at Holme NWT. I have been only once before but I like the place as it feels very empty compared to Titchwell.
I started with a walk along the beech towards (I think) Gore point a tidal inlet to the marsh, from the Pines. There was very little on the sea and I had no intention today on sea watching, that would come tomorrow morning.

A few Sanderling along the foreshore no longer the light grey colour I normally see them when at Southend. A single Curlew. As I got to the point I could see ahead a group of birds resting up, approaching closer there were two Dunlin, again in more summer plumage with black bellies, Grey Plover in the same, more Sanderling and a group of c30 Bar Tailed Godwits and two Blackwits thrown in for good measure. Further down the beech behind the group a few Turnstone and as I turned to the inlet and headed down it 9 Ringed Plover spread out with distance between them.
The inlet gave up two Avocet and the start of numerous Redshank, Back Headed Gulls & Oystercatchers.
Up the bank and over the wall now to the wishing well car park and back down the road, a single Mistle Thrush on the near side of the paddock and Wheatear x5 towards the back. Lapwings were nesting along with Greylag in the small pools within the paddocks. Linnets were everywhere.
I headed to the hides but apart from the noisy nesting Black Headed Gulls and usual duck I picked up a male Marsh Harrier over the back and one Reed Warbler.
The Pines were a chatter with Goldfinch before I headed onto the reserve circular walk. Skylark, Meadow Pipit and yet more Linnet. Another two Wheatear in the middle. I then flushed two, what I initial thought were Red Legged Partridge, it wasn't until they landed and the checking on call after that I saw they were Grey Partridge.
Next I took the top edge walk, allowing views to beech, dunes and marsh and this time as I approached the wishing well car park a Cuckoo (f)  flew along the paddock, stopped on a post before heading off in the distance to the village, I turned to head back when my second SEO of the year was quartering in the dunes no more than 30ft away. It dropped but was unsuccessful and the silently headed out of sight over towards the paddock.
I headed back onto the far end of the circular walk when a small brown raptor passed me in the hollow to my right, low and fast, got nothing on it other than its direction. I headed that way sticking to the path where in front of me on a low marker post was a Merlin (f). Awesome a life tick with great views before it took flight and shot of towards the paddock.
61 birds in total which had beaten my site day record by 3.

used under the creative commons license - original can be found

That evening after checking in my hotel, The Lifeboat, nice place from what I saw of it I took a stroll down toward the boat moorings.

The tide was out and the mud on the inlet I was walking along was busy, mainly with Avocet but a single Ruff that didn't hang around for long but also a Whimbrel which did and gave me my best views of the bird to date. Happily feeding down the bank about 20ft. A couple of Grey Plover as well.

After meeting up with my parents and friends for dinner we all took a dusk stroll back down in the search of the local Barn Owl - no sign.


The following morning I was on the beech at Titchwell for about 6.30 along with one other guy who was also in search of the summer plumaged Long Tailed Duck that had been seen. As luck would have it a local plodded his way up the beech informing us it was with a small group of Common Scoter. It was and after about a five minute walk up the beach towards Thornham we found them reasonably close in, scoped views required.
The gent I was with left and after finding a couple of Common Tern plus the usual crowd on the waters edge I headed back bumping into centre manager. He asked if i'd seen the duck and then the Bearded Tits? I hadn't seen any on the way down. He pointed out where they should be and as we got there Bearded Tit x7 pinged away and the started chasing each other around right in front of us. Nice timing!
I met with my parents again who were spending the rest of the day with me and we set off, Marsh Harriers  and a high soaring Buzzard were the only raptors, no owls.
Little Ringed Plovers x4 & late in the day one Ringed Plover.

Red Crested Pochard (pair) and four smart Spotted Redshank, almost full black and a first for me in this plumage.

c30 Barwits and 2 Blackwits with a male Ruff not quite with a ruff but some cracking feathers to its back/tail.
and lastly I took my dad back to the beech as the others wanted a rest, four guys lined up seawatching.....mumbles of 1 oclock, third out blah blah and this would of been really helpful if I could identify a speck of black that looked like an aphid over in Shetland (the first bit of land in a straight line from here, I checked). Anyway after asking politely if the Long Tailed Duck was within view there were two....Long Tailed Duck, life tick for dad.
After beating my day site record yesterday I did so again today with 68 species.