Sunday, 19 February 2017

Tundra Bean Goose

Early today (19th) saw me wandering the levels with Hazel the labrador in tow and my scope slung over my shoulder. Aside from a single Jack Snipe we encountered nothing of any note on Down level so decided to head across Horse-eye towards Snapsons' Drove.
As we commenced crossing the footpath I picked up the flock of Russian White-fronts that has been steadily growing through the last couple of months so stopped to count them. Suddenly whats this, dark head, dark bill with restricted orange, a Tundra Beaner amongst the white-fronts of which there are only 19...
Also another Jack on Horse-eye. This evening a single ringtail into roost on the BTO survey count, although no sign of any SEO and surprisingly no Marsh Harriers. Keep the faith!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

B is for Boom birding

The levels in winter is the place to be, albeit hard work. The 12ths WEBS was short on duck but had the extra special bonus of a Bittern near to Snapsons' Drove. Presumably this was the bird "flushed" by the hunt near Horse-eye Green last month. Duck highlight was the 3 Pintail on Down and a single Peregrine was also seen on Horse-eye. This is the first winter for a considerable time that I am not regularly seeing both the resident Peregrine together...
Yesterday the 17th I took a late afternoon potter across Horse-eye without my scope, typically the place was heaving with birds (when will I learn) with a flock of 1000+ Lapwing and some 500+ Starling and lots of geese. Sifting my way through the geese I could not see any obvious Beaners or Pinkfeet but I did manage a single dark bellied Brent, only my second on the patch, and 20 Whitefront at the back of Mappins. Almost of more interest was the bird song with Reed Bunting, Cettis, and Water Rail all singing, a sure sign that the dark days of winter are drawing to a close... Today the 18th a wander around Normans Bay produced single Eider, 10+ Red Throated Diver, 30+ Great Crested Grebe, and 4 Common Scoter.

Elsewhere I managed to escape the pressures of work over the weekend of the 11th and 12th and catch up with a few local bits and pieces. A Twite in the Cuckmere on the 11th was the first I have seen for donkeys, probably since the regular wintering flock was last on the Swale, demonstrating how little I migrate these days. Also here was a nice flock of 21 Whitefronts, 9 Barnacle, and 4 Ridgways' Canada Geese...
Later in the morning Sharon and I stopped off in Bexhill where the 7 Waxwing were putting on a good show periodically raiding their chosen berry bushes and finally, following WEBS duties on the 12th I finally stirred myself into wandering over to the Tidemills for the wintering Serin which performed in exemplary manner singing regularly from within the ruins and foraging on the ground. All good stuff!