Monday, 3 March 2014

Dungeness and Oare Marshes visit: 02.03.14

Setting off before 5a.m. and picking up Gary in Bishop's Stortford meant we were on the beach sea watching at Dungeness at 7. This was after a quick coffee break at Maidstone to get an early caffeine shot. Upon arrival, a stiff breeze but clearly good bird movement with over 40 common scoter west, little and Mediterranean gulls heading to the patch. A few kittiwakes, too before 2 guillemot landed on the sea in front of the sea watch hide. Several red throated divers and numerous great crested grebes were seen before we headed into the breeze to walk to The Patch hide. Hundreds of gulls present, both over the water and roosting on the beach, but the wind made for tricky viewing as the scopes were not remaining still.
Dungeness sunrise
We then donned wellies for a wander around the Trapping area in search of an elusive Humes leaf warbler. The whole area was very flooded and without precise directions we were hoping for a bit of luck. Great and blue tits were noted but no warbler. Green woodpeckers called and magpies, chaffinches, blackbirds, robins and dunnocks got on to the list. Back to the car where we met up with Therese and Stuart http://theresegoesbirding.blogspot.co.uk
From the lighthouse we headed for the fishing boats and the glaucous gull. Several folk were about, but no sign, so off to The Hanson Hide on the ARC pit. En route, we stopped at the causeway, picking up great white egret, smew and black throated diver. All good birds. Into the Hanson Hide, more smew but water levels meant no waders apart from a couple of oystercatchers. Reed bunting and cetti's were added along with the regular selection of wildfowl.
goldeneye

ARC pit flyby grey heron

great white egret

take off: ARC pit mute swan

pochard

distant smew
We then headed for the Reserve and topped up on coffee and corned beef bread buns. All good sustenance before a wander all the way around the reserve. Marsh Harrier and more regular wildfowl were noted from the hides, with greylag, brent and canada geese from Dengemarsh Hide. A search for the rarely seen penduline tit drew an expected blank before a distantly high bird over Lydd attracted my attention. So far off i.d. very tricky, but, by the way it circled and swooped down, putting up a flock of starlings, I would wager it was a peregrine.
Upon arriving back at the Visitors' Centre we checked the Dennis Hide. A black necked grebe had been reported and, after 10 minutes of searching the far side of the pit, Gary noticed it some 15 metres from our hide! Good bird to see so close and another year lister for me.
black necked grebe

Black necked grebe and tufties



reed bunting: Dungeness RSPB car park
From here, we popped down the road towards Lydd for the glossy ibis. This was showing well in a muddy field that also had an emu wandering around! Then, back to the fish hut to check for the glaucous. Still no sign, so off to Oare for a quick check and maybe an owl or two at dusk.
glossy ibis



The water level at Oare was extremely high and so all the waders were on the tidal mudflats. On the Reserve some superbly plumaged pintail, more wildfowl and geese. On the mud we added avocet, redshank, curlew and lapwing to our day total, before returning to home, arriving back 14 hours after we had set off. A superb day.
pintail drake: Oare Marshes
Species list: (year listers in bold)
black throated diver, black necked grebe, great crested grebe, little grebe, gannet, cormorant, little egret, great white egret, grey heron, glossy ibis, (10 sp) mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, brent goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, (20 sp) teal, pochard, tufted duck, common scoter, goldeneye, smew, marsh harrier, common buzzard, kestrel, peregrine, (30 sp) pheasant, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, avocet, lapwing, dunlin, redshank, curlew, black headed gull (40 sp) common gull, mediterranean gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull, little gull, kittiwake, guillemot, wood pigeon, stock dove, (50 sp)collared dove, green woodpecker, skylark, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, song thrush, mistle thrush, blackbird, (60 sp) cettis warbler, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, (70 sp)chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, reed bunting,

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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander