Sunday, 28 August 2016

Baird's Sandpiper: Reculver Lagoon, Kent

Heading to Reculver this morning hoping we didn't encounter any knock on effects from the M20 bridge collapse the previous day. Having left at 5am we arrived at the pay and display car park at Reculver Towers around 6.30. We headed up the slope passing the medieval church towers and started the mile or so walk along the sea wall towards the lagoon the Baird's Sandpiper had called home for the previous two days. 
The walk out produced good numbers of Ringed Plover and Sanderling among the shingle banks, along with smaller numbers of Turnstone and a single Wheatear. More of a surprise and a much over due year tick was the presence of a Whimbrel at the water's edge, three more were seen in flight as we headed for the lagoon.
The last reported sighting of the Baird's had been at 7.50pm the previous evening, with no news of the birds presence this morning we were left hoping the clear skies of the previous evening had not persuaded the bird to move on.
As we reached the lagoon the worries ended, as we found three birders already present and watching the Baird's as it fed among the stones at the waters edge. It was showing extremely well in the company of a Little Stint and two Dunlin, seemingly unconcerned by the constant stream of birders, joggers, dog walkers and cyclists during the 2-3 hours we were on site. 
My last sighting of a Baird's Sandpiper was at Holland haven on the 7th October 2010, that was a rather distant individual, In stark contrast today's bird was the complete opposite, showing down to a few feet.

Baird's Sandpiper (B Anderson)

Little Stint

We moved on to Dungeness and drove along Galloways to find good numbers of Whinchats and Wheatears present. We drew a blank finding any Wryneck and there were no reports of anyone else having better luck with this species in the area.
Best birds reported from the reserve were of a single Glossy Ibis on Hayfield 2 and Wood Sandpiper from Firth Hide along with a Garganey.
As we left for home a Kestrel was perched on a nearby fence post and on the opposite side of the road a Buzzard had the same idea although at a much greater distance from the road.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Seawatching at Dungeness and Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marshes

An early morning sea watching session from the comfort of the hide at Dungeness produced three year ticks in the form of several Arctic Skua's, three Manx and two Balearic Shearwater. Also noted during a two hour session were large numbers of Gannet along with single figure counts of Common, Black and Sandwich Terns plus Common Scoter, Great Crested Grebe and Fulmar.
Moving on to Oare Marshes we found the water levels on the East Flood to be the best they have been for quite a while, and we soon located six Curlew Sandpiper for another year tick. Two Little Stints were also seen plus large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks. Among these large flocks were 20+ Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Lapwings 4 Knot and single Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Turnstone, Kingfisher and Water Rail.
As the water levels rose on the creek, the gulls started dropping in on the flood, and eventually the Bonaparte's Gull was found among them. 

Now minus almost all of it's summer plumage Black hood it proved difficult to pick out among the large flocks of Black headed Gulls and difficult light conditions.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

White Stork, Beddington Farmlands

A White Stork first reported at Beddington Farmlands in London on the 22nd July, was still being reported intermittently throughout the week and again yesterday. 
So we decided it was about time we paid the site a visit. Setting off at 4.30 this morning for a  relatively short trip of 30 miles. It's a site I have never visited before, and with no access to the site unless you happen to be a keyholder, I wasn't even sure how much of the site would be visible through the fence from the public footpath.
Parking up in a designated parking bay along London Road, we headed off along the footpath off Mile Road and crossed the railway bridge. The fence surrounding the main site and lakes was right in front of us, and we were surprised by how much of the main lake you could actually see from this viewpoint.
A quick scan of the shingle islands produced several roosting Grey Herons and at the left hand edge of the main lake stood the White Stork.

Not looking forward to sitting for hours in London rush hour traffic, we decided to head in the opposite direction and go searching for the Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marshes.
Upon arrival there were large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Golden Plovers and smaller numbers of Dunlin and Ruff along with at least three Green Sandpipers feeding along the edges of East Flood But there was no sign of the Bonaparte's.
We decided to head down to the boating ramp and give the creek a scan. Scanning through the Numerous Black-Headed Gulls the Bonaparte's suddenly appeared in the scope!

An enjoyable morning's birding.