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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Caspian and Iceland Gull at Rainham

1st winter Caspian Gull at Rainham Marshes

  Had half a day with John at Rainham Marshes. Out of the 5 Water Pipit reported yesterday, we could only find 1 feeding with 4 Rock Pipit. Walking on and a we kicked a Jack Snipe with 4 Snipe. We tried for the 2 2nd winter Iceland Gulls that were also seen yesterday on the nearby tip. We bumped into Andy Tweed and he put us on to one of the Icelands. As John was cold, he returned to the car, while Andy and I made our way to the stone barges. Here on one of the barges was another Water Pipit and Andy told me that he flushed 5 Jack Snipe yesterday just around the corner. I really wanted to see a Caspian Gull and after 15 minutes of scanning I found a possible 1st winter on the bridge. At the same time Andy got on to it and he told me that the plumage detail was different to that of other 1st winters that have been seen on the tip and therefore was a new bird.  Despite the cold and sleet, it turned out to be a very good day

Up to 2 Water and 4 Rock Pipit were feeding on the Thames

1st winter caspian Gull on the bridge next to the stone barges

There were 3 adult and this 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull also in the area

Saw Alexi Murdoch in Californa 5 years ago at Hotel Cafe and he sang this song 'Wait' Great gig!

Monday, 30 January 2012


2nd winter Glaucous Gull at Dungeness

  It was another day at Dungeness and John, Conrad and I started off by looking for the Dotterel that was seen a few days ago at Lydd Airfield. After 30 minutes of looking all we saw were a few Lapwing and 3 Golden Plover that seemed to come down over the nearby golf course. We went down a track leading to Bargar Farm and found the Lapwing in a large ploughed field. A closer look and there were over 350 Golden Plover and it was not until 10 minutes of going through them that I picked out the DOTTEREL. All I could see was it's head, back on and putting the other two on to it, proved hard work. They observed it a lot better than me, as it started being pushed around by Lapwing, but just as I was just about to have a look, they all flew off high towards Dungeness. 
  At the latter site we got 7 Smew, female Long-tailed Duck, (ARC Pit) 2 Great White Egret, male Peregrine and heard Beaded Tit, Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff.

2 Great White Egret were on the pits

Up to 7 Smew and the Female Long-tailed Duck were on the ARC Pit

  Our second visit of the day to look for the 2nd winter Glaucous Gull paid off and found it showing very well around the boats. We drove to Walland Marsh to have a look at the Bewick's Swan flock and got 47 birds in total. One up from 2 weeks ago when we last saw them.

2nd winter Glaucous Gull around the boats

Lots of Kittiwakes on the beach

47 Bewick's Swan were at Walland Marsh

Saturday, 28 January 2012



  Well I've been in Norfolk for a week and I made the effort to go and see the WESTERN SANDPIPER at Cley. Like a lot of other birds that I've seen while visiting Norfolk, it was a new species for me. I
arrived in the hide overlooking Pats Pool at 8.30, but it was not until at least an hour later that the sandpiper was located from the Avocet Pool. For the next 2 hours I observed it through the scope, but it never came closer enough for me camera.

Avocets on Pats Pool

Female Shelduck

Black-tailed Godwits were all over the shop

Side by side with a Dunlin and the Western is tiny

  It was warm and bright and for the last hour I returned to Pats Pool and enjoyed the birds on show. Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon and Shoveler, were all at very close range, dark-bellied Brent Geese came in briefly before moving on into nearby fields and Marsh Harriers were sweeping over the reeds on the far side.
Unfortunately this was the last day of a great week with the girlfriend. Birds weren't bad either

The Avocets were still asleep

2 Adult Whooper Swan kept their distance

This male Marsh Harrier was a delight to watch

Female Shelduck

Male Shoveler

Male Teal


The amazing Ben Harper singing live on Letterman 'She's Only Happy in the Sun'

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Adult BLACK BRANT at Wells Next The Sea

 Went to have a look at the adult BLACK BRANT at wells and after 5 minutes found the bird right at the back of the dark-bellied Brent Geese. While I was trying to get some pics, Bob and Ann Jones turned into the small car park to where I was standing. I put them on the goose, and a lot closer, Bob discovered another adult.

Adult BLACK BRANT number 1

Adult BLACK BRANT number 2

Up to 4 Shorelark were at Holkham Gap

Yesterday evening this ROSS'S GOOSE with Pink-feet flew over Cley Marshes going to roost

Jason Collett with 'Love Is a Dirty Word'