Sunday, 2 March 2014

Chinese Pond Heron & a Black Redstart at Reculver

The weather forecast today was looking best around the Kent area.
So at 6am we headed towards Kent, but instead of heading for the regular site of Dungeness we made for Hythe in search of the "Probable" Chinese Pond Heron. With the bird having been present now for around a month and with the very unlikely chance of the bird ever being accepted as anything other than an escape, we still thought it was time to see it.
Having made good time we pulled into Turnpike Hill and joined the birders already parked up waiting and hoping for the Heron to make an appearance.
After two hours we were still waiting, after a drive around all the surrounding roads there was still no sightings. 
The next 30 minutes were spent with the local gulls just down the road while we decided what to do next.
Before leaving Saltwood we decided to make one last circuit of the area, shortly after parking up in Turnpike Hill again the Heron appears from behind us, it flies directly overhead and heads for the trees we had been watching for over two hours.
Unfortunately it doesn't drop into the trees but heads over the trees and appears to drop down somewhere behind them.
A drive round the surrounding roads looking for likely roosting sites produces plenty of sightings of birders but none of the Heron, and with some rather questionable searching going on we decided to move on.

Early morning news had come through that the two Shorelarks had been found again on the beach at Sandwich Bay. On route we made a quick stop off at Dover and added Shag to the year list with several birds found around the harbour.
At Sandwich Bay we found the road to the reported area for the Shorelarks was a toll road with a cost of £7! Luckily the guy on the toll gate waived the fee and warned us about the road being flooded in parts and some deep pot holes along the way.
Reaching the beach we found a handful of birders already present but none had seen the Shorelarks. A subsequent search of the area failed to produce any sightings and we left disappointed.

On route home there was time to drop in at Reculver. Checking out the likely looking areas for a reported Black Redstart, the bird was quickly located among the rocks, after watching it for several minutes it started to feed closer to us allowing the chance of a photo.

Black Redstart

Reculver Towers

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