Monday 21 May 2018

A Hit and Dip day at Dungeness

We started the day at Rye Harbour hoping the Terek Sandpiper had stayed overnight. Unfortunately, after a two-hour search, there was no sign of the bird. The islands on Ternery Pool held impressive numbers of Med Gulls and Sandwich Terns. Two Common Sandpipers, six Ringed Plovers several calling Cuckoos and single Little Ringed Plover and Black-tailed Godwit were the best we could manage.

Dungeness was more rewarding with a smart Kentish Plover dropping onto a small shingle island on Burrowes Pit. We enjoyed some nice scope views before making room for the growing crowds. A Hoopoe had been present the previous day along Dengemarsh Road so that was our next destination. After negotiating the narrow roads, busier than normal today due to the fact that there was a triathlon taking place, we pulled up along Dengemarsh Road. Birders already on site had seen the bird and gave us a general area of where it had last been seen. After 20-30 minutes of scanning the fields, the Hoopoe suddenly flew up and was promptly harassed by the local Magpies. It circled back around and landed briefly in the sheep field before taking flight again.

A brief drive along the entrance track at Elmley on the way home gave a few photo opportunities. A Little Egret was busy trying to catch small fish. Which it did easily and frequently.

Elmley is normally a good place to see Yellow Wagtails, and one individual showed well on a gate post.

A Corn Bunting showed well on a roadside post.

There was also plenty of evidence of successful breeding seasons of lapwings and Redshanks and Coots, with plenty of youngsters seen.

Redshank chick

Coot chick

Monday 14 May 2018

A morning visit to RSPB Lakenheath

We spent a very enjoyable morning at Lakenheath today. Starting with a quick look at the new photography hide, which looks out onto a small area with feeders and some positioned perches with mature trees bordering the back and one side.

New photography hide 

Cuckoos were calling throughout the visit and we enjoyed some nice flight views of two birds. Bitterns were heard "booming" regularly and we had flight views of three individuals from Fen Hide and Joist Fen and also found another Bittern sitting among the reeds from Fen Hide. A single Hobby was seen flying across the reeds and we managed good scope views when it landed in a tree West of the viewpoint. The reedbeds were alive with Reed and Sedge Warblers as well as Reed Bunting and Whitethroats. Several Bearded Tits were also heard "pinging". On the return walk, Brian picked out a drake Garganey on the flood for another year tick. 
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning was when the warden decided to use the toilets and found a live mole running around inside the cubicle!

Sunday 6 May 2018

Purple Heron and Dotterel in Norfolk

As we approached Norfolk this morning, we decided to switch our plans and head first for Cley hoping to connect with the Purple Heron. Parking up along Beach Road we walked up the steps onto the West Bank and joined a small group of birders already present. The late change of plans paid off immediately as the Purple Heron was seen in the ditch. It soon took to the air and landed in the middle of Cricket Marsh. The local Lapwings began to harass it and it quickly took flight again heading towards the far side of the field and landing among the reeds.

Purple Heron

We left Cley and headed West towards Docking. Parking up along Choseley Road we began scanning the fields for any signs of the previous days reported Dotterel. Two Grey Partridge, two Wheatear, two Oystercatcher and a single Golden Plover were found before the three Dotterel were found. It was only 8.30am and both targets had already been seen. 

Titchwell was only a short drive away and we decided to spend the rest of our time here. Red-crested Pochard was added to the year list with two birds seen. The Freshmarsh held good numbers of Sandwich Terns and also two Little Gulls and at least three Common Sandpipers.

Common Sandpiper

A scan of the flooded fields on the Thornham side of the main path produced a single Spoonbill. Three Little Terns were seen from the beach for another year tick along with Knot, Sanderling and Turnstones and a Grey Seal was watched as it hauled itself onto the beach and promptly went to sleep.