13th May 2012 - Rainham Marshes

Once upon a time I went to look for birdies and I saw some.  And then I saw some more.  And lived happily ever after.  The end. 

This is Stuart's version of a blog post.  I quite like it.  In other news, we went to Rainham Marshes today and I got horrifically sunburnt again.  We were innundated with Collared Dove as we walked up to the centre and after running back to the car to get the field guide, I spotted a handsome little Wheatear perched upon a log.  He stayed there long enough for me to get to the hide and point him out to Stuart, then he disappeared.  Numerous Little Egret and Grey Heron were present and we managed to pick out some Sedge Warbler to add to our year list.  We kept seeing Wren all over the place, but whether this was one bird or many, we have no idea.  I was very pleased with myself for IDing 2 Redshank mid flight and enjoyed watching the 9 Black-tailed Godwit trying to decide where to land.  We are still on the hunt for a Cuckoo however after missing one by 10 minutes.  Also, I seem to have forgotten I had a camera as the following picture is the only one I took...

1) Collared Dove
2) Little Grebe
3) Little Egret
4) Coot
5) Shelduck
6) Lapwing
7) Grey Heron
8) Sedge Warbler
9) Magpie
10) Canada Goose
11) Wheatear
12) Mallard
13) Wren
14) Reed Bunting
15) Swift
16) Reed Warbler
17) Pheasant
18) Skylark
19) Starling
20) Whitethroat
21) Mute Swan
22) Carrion Crow
23) Swallow
24) Marsh Harrier
25) Hobby
26) Gadwall
27) Black-tailed Godwit
28) Great Crested Grebe
29) Redshank
30) Greylag Goose
31) Tufted Duck
32) Blackbird
33) Woodpigeon
34) Black-headed Gull
35) Robin
36) Dunnock
37) Jackdaw
38) Rook
39) Linnet
40) House Sparrow
41) Chiffchaff
42) Blue Tit
43) Great Tit
44) Chaffinch

My year list for 2012 comes to 150.

12th May 2012 - Pulborough Brooks

Pulborough is definitely up there in my top birdwatching sites.  It's a great mix of habitats and we have come away with long and interesting lists both times we have ventured there.  I was on usual Treecreeper spotting form and saw one within a few minutes, with plenty more seen throughout the next couple of hours.  A small group of people alerted us to a site where a Nightingale had been singing earlier but all was silent.  As we headed to the wooded area where Goldcrest and Firecrest are often seen, we heard a very recognisable song start up and hurried back to see the Nightingale, right out in the open for all to see. 

The Nightingale refused to look at me so this is the best picture I could get.

There were Whitethroat and Blackcap around, with a pair of Bullfinch hiding at the back of a tree and two Marsh Harrier sweeping above. 

Snoozy Squirrel.
Later on a view of a nearby Jay from a hide and 6 baby Moorhen were added to the list and 2 Hobby were the talk of the hide. 

Pretty Jay!
One of 6 baby Moorhen.
On the way home we popped into a The Lamb Inn in Lamb's Green for a lovely fish based lunch.


1) Magpie
2) Swift
3) Blue Tit
4) Chiffchaff
5) Robin
6) Treecreeper
7) Carrion Crow
8) Rook
9) Nightingale
10) Chaffinch
11) Bullfinch
12) Marsh Harrier
13) Blackcap
14) Whitethroat
15) Dunnock
16) Blackbird
17) Jackdaw
18) Great Tit
19) Jay
20) Coot
21) Moorhen
22) Shelduck
23) Tufted Duck
24) Mute Swan
25) Mallard
26) Lapwing
27) Swallow
28) Shoveler
29) Teal
30) Little Egret
31) Pheasant
32) Magpie
33) Greenfinch
34) Linnet
35) Hobby
36) Goldfinch
37) Greylag Goose
38) Canada Goose

My year list for 2012 comes to 149.

7th May 2012 - Dungeness and Rye Harbour

May Bank Holiday Monday was an exciting day, but an exhausting one as we were up at 5am and not back until 8.30pm.  Another trip to Dungeness was on the cards so we headed down through Kent wondering what we’d see. 

Such an awesome caterpillar.
These are pretty cool too.

A quick trip to the beach proved fruitless, so we wandered back up towards the Bird Observatory.  On the way, I spotted a bird that looked familiar but I couldn’t place it – it turned out to be a Black Redstart, the only one I had seen previously was through the haze quite far away so to be so close was wonderful.  These were quickly followed by a magnificent Wheatear and another Wheatear further up, then a low flying Sparrowhawk.  Buoyed by our success so far, we felt slightly let down by the rest of the loop round – a Reed Warbler and a mischievous Great Tit were the highlights.  Having said that, the bushes were crawling with Whitethroat which was lovely – they’re a very sweet little bird.  After admitting defeat, on the way back to the car we saw a Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail and 3 Wheatear.  We drove round to the RSPB reserve and went from hide to hide without realising quite how powerful the Sun was – I’m pretty red today!  We ummed and ahhed about a wader before Stuart clocked onto it bobbing its behind – a Common Sandpiper, the first of the year for us.  There were around 20 Common Tern which made me happy as I love terns and Greylag goslings swimming in a row added to the happiness.  Stuart led us down a dead end path to try to find flycatchers, but none were to be found.  However we got a much better prize – a Garganey and then a swooping falcon overhead.  We stood and watched it for at least 15 minutes – we knew we’d not seen it before but could we dare hope it was the falcon we had wanted to see for a long time?  Suddenly a shout erupted from beside me, ‘He’s got red trousers, look at his red trousers!’ 

It was indeed a Hobby and as we walked to the Denge Marsh hide, we amazingly saw 6 more.  We popped across to the ARC before we headed to Rye Harbour and had a brief chat with a lovely man (unfortunately I forgot to ask his name), who let us know that he’d just had a report on his pager for a bird down at the power station.  It was a Crested Lark and although we didn’t realise this at the time, they are an extremely rare visitor to the UK (as far as I’m aware, 23 recorded sightings) as they are both non-migratory and grumpy about flying over water.  This one must have gotten extremely lost!  We stood for ages with a lovely group of twitchers on the inland side of the Power Station where the bird had last been seen an hour before.  Unfortunately it wasn’t showing itself, so we got ready to leave.  Just then however, a man in the group got a phone call about the bird and gathered us all up and led us to the beach front of the power station – actually a quite long walk as the boundary has to be followed all the way around.  There we were faced with more glum faces as it had disappeared again.  However, 3 minutes later a guy to our left sighted him and we spent a great time watching our first successful twitch!  It was a beautiful bird, the crest was lovely and thank you to the Wheatear that chased it into the open so we could all get a good view!  We weren’t finished there though; a trip to Rye Harbour was calling as the day was so lovely.  This upped our wader count with such birds as Avocet, Grey Plover and Golden Plover, as well as what felt like the world’s largest Ringed Plover community.  There were bunnies galore and on the way out, a lone Whimbrel.

Dungeness NNR
Dungeness RSPB
Rye Harbour
Common Sandpiper
Pied Wagtail
Ringed Plover
Mute Swan
Common Tern
Golden Plover
Greylag Goose
Grey Plover
Black-headed Gull
Great Crested Grebe
Mute Swan
Carrion Crow
Tufted Duck
Herring Gull
Canada Goose
Ringed Plover
Collared Dove
Bar-tailed Godwit
House Sparrow
Reed Bunting
Meadow Pipit
Black Redstart
Bar-tailed Godwit
Marsh Harrier
Reed Warbler
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Tree Sparrow
House Sparrow
Pied Wagtail

Herring Gull
Crested Lark – NEW FOR LIFE LIST!

Carrion Crow

My year list for 2012 comes to 148.