Sunday, 26 October 2008


David here.

Got great views of this stunner today, though not as good as others got just before I arrived.
6th record for UK, 1st for Kent, the whole of the south east and quite a bit further than that. Last British record was on Angelsey, Wales in November 2005.

I extend my sincerest thanks to Phil Wallace for taking me and giving me a great day.


Hi, Ben here

Some of you may be aware that there was a Green Heron at Hythe today. I couldn't resist going to see it, despite the fact that my 500mm lens was away being serviced. It turns out I never needed the camera; driving rain and wind prevented any time for a photo, and I only had a brief view of it flying into the denser reeds from a perch, but still... WHAT A BIRD!!! For a photo of it visit Kentos or Folkestone Birds (from Kentos).

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Today's Birding...

I was expecting an average day at Bough beech where it started well with passage of 33 Skylarks over and a few Redpolls, Green sandpipers and Siskins. Graham soon arrived and offered a lift to the R B Shrike in Wouldham/ Halling area. We arrived and had brief but tickable views of the 1st winter bird and then made out way to Dunge. Seawatching was OK with the Highlights being Great Skua(1), Kittiwake( 10), Fulmar(3) and Little gull(3). We stop at a known roosting spot for Harriers and almost immediatly we got onto a ringtail Hen harrier, though it was rather distant and in fading light!
All in all a great day with 2 lifers and 5 Kent ticks! Off to Cornwall for a week 2moro, so wish me luck!
BOU 2008 List= 180

Monday, 20 October 2008

David and Josh's bird race

With the cousins safely in Camberely, I spent the day birding around London with Josh J Shaw ( for the Young Birders Bird Race 2008.

First of all we visited Nonsuch Park, my local patch. Here we needed Little Owl, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Stock Dove, Goldcrest etc.

We quickly ticked off Coal Tit, which was calling by the car park and it was not too long before we heard Green Woodpecker and Nuthatch. We saw a few Redwings flying over, which were my first record at Nonsuch this Autumn. At the Cheam Park end, we got site scarcities like Grey Heron, Pied Wagtail and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

After a bit of searching for the Little Owl, we heard it from the usual spot but it was quite a way north of us! Maybe it has relocated due to high disturbance where it used to be?

There were large numbers of Chaffinches and a single Song Thrush. In the gardens we flushed a Sparrowhawk.

Nonsuch Park got us up to a respectable 32 species in just over an hour (my site record is 34 in about 4 hours!).

Next up, Beddington SF. This visit turned out to be a useful boost to my Beddington list and produced an addition to my British and European year lists.

There were large numbers of Little Grebes and Meadow Pipits around and not many Gulls (because the landfill doesn't work on Sundays). 2 Pochards were over at the far side with a Wigeon and large numbers of other wildfowl. Tree Sparrows were visiting the feeders and the remains of a flock of c140 Ring-necked Parakeets seen there earlier that morning passed by noisily.

Out of the blue, a flock of 29 Fieldfares flew south! My first of the autumn and a Beddington year tick, one which got my Beddington year list equal with my overall Beddington list! Small numbers of Redwings flew over which, surprisingly was another Beddington tick.

Just after a Sparrowhawk flew over, Josh called a female Brambling on the feeders to everyone's delight. A Beddington tick for me and one of the few I've seen in the local area.

We took a walk with Johnny Allan ( around the site to see if we could find the Rock/Water Pipits which another of the regulars had seen. No joy but 6 Green Sandpipers, 4 Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk and a Reed Bunting (Beddington tick).

Shortly after we arrived back at the mound, a flock of 4 Lesser Redpolls flew over! This was the year tick I was talking about and the first I've seen for 2 and a half years! Of course, a Beddington tick too.

Now my Beddington list is on 97 and my Beddington year list is finally equal. I hope I get to 100 soon.

Beddington got our day list up to 60.

To the London Wetland Centre! We had a bit of trouble getting in because we had to be accompanied by an over 16 year old, I forgot my card and Josh didn't have one but luckily the staff sympathised with us and let us in.

Birds here included about 3 Great Black-backed Gulls, 77 Cormorants, large numbers of wildfowl, great views of Little Grebes, Wigeons, Great Crested Grebes and 2 Green Woodpeckers which landed right in front of us! If only I was quicker with the camera.

Above: Little Grebe

There was also a putative Yellow-legged Gull which someone claimed as a 1st winter but to me, the legs were too short, bill not heavyh enough and furthermore it lacked the all dark bill despite having the distinctive greater covert pattern.

We left content and with 66 species for the whole day, including a year tick for me and some much needed patch ticks. Odd thing was we saw no Warblers, not even a Chiffchaff.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Parasitic Jaeger

Hey, everyone! Chris W again reporting from the state of Wisconsin in the USA. 

Here's a couple photos of a Parasitic Jaeger (pronounced "Yay-ger") that I took at Wisconsin point in Northern Wisconsin at the tip of lake Superior back in Sept. 

This is the same species as Europe's Parasitic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) just a slightly different name. 
This bird made close flybys that allowed for some great shots. Normally, photos of this bird are fuzzy and the birds are much farther away.  Since they are pelagic birds, Parasitic Jaegers are labeled as uncommon to rare in Wisconsin and are found, of course, only on the great lakes.
All 3 species of Jaegers (Pomerine, Long-tailed and Parasitic) have been seen in WI. The other 2 are much rarer though. 
Happy Birding! 

Monday, 13 October 2008

Some recent pictures

Hey guys, Chris W here from Wisconsin in the USA.   I've posted some photos that I took last month while attending a field trip in Superior at the tip of Lake Superior. 

This Osprey provided great looks.

This Merlin posed just long enough for a picture.

Franklin's Ground Squirrel.
A rare species in Northern WI.

This Red-necked Phalarope provided spectacular views and photos.

This White-throated Sparrow posed for a classic picture. 

I'll post some more pics sometime, maybe this week.  I got some nice shots of a Jaeger (Skua to most of you) that you might like to see.  Til then, Happy Birding! 

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Little Stint

Spent the day at Oare Marshes NR where I finally saw 6+ juv Little Stints, a much needed lifer. Excuse the poor quality shot, hand held digiscoped...

Saturday, 4 October 2008

My local patch on the big screen!

From Friday 2nd to Saturday 4th October the Mansion House and the Gardens in Nonsuch Park (my local patch) were used as a setting for filming of a sequence in the family film 'From Time to Time' with Timothy Spall and Maggie Smith. Not good news for me because there were tonnes of caravans which were putting the birds off and blocking the cafe and some essential footpaths. Anyway, it will be interesting to see Nonsuch on the big screen.

Great stuff!

This morning I was sat in the school Art room for 2 and a half hours for 'Open Day' and then my mum picked me up and took me to Bough beech. On the way it was starting to rain alittle and I wasn't looking forward to getting soaked...we pulled up on the causeway and I was pleased to see Graham there with his scope. We had a chat for 10 minutes or so and he offered to take me to Dungeness for the afternoon to do some seawatching, my mum said I could and we soon set off. On the journey I noted 3 Kestrel and 1 Common Buzzard. Once we had arrived we headed staright for the seawatching hide but sat outside it for a total of about 2-3 hours. the first bird apparent were c30 Gannet out at sea, also lots of gulls including a Yellow-legged gull. Graham soon got onto some skuas which were Great skua's, a lifer for me. In total there were about 4 seen. There were also 5+ Arctic skua, 2 Little gull, c20 Common Scoter, 9 Common tern and 1 Sandwich tern. But the best bird of all was a juvenile LONG-TAILED SKUA which gave distant views as it headed east and into the bay in the afternoon. What an incredible day with 2 lifers.
2008 BOU list= 176
BOU British Life List= 181
Kent Life List= 145