Friday, 1 January 2016

New Years Day Bimble!

Oare Marshes - Welcome 2016!
The annual New Years Day tradition in our household saw me take on my Dad in the 1st Jan bird race. I decided to start at Oare whereas Dad headed straight to Dungeness via Scotney etc. To cut a long days birding short I ended up winning with a total of 81 species which was pretty decent I thought considering the lack of winter visitors in any numbers at all. Dad started a bit later and this cost him dear...ha...ha...ha!

There were a number of decent birds which made it onto the list and also some odd omissions such as any swan species except Mute despite looking. No raptors other than plentiful Marsh Harriers and Kestrels. And no thrushes except Song Thrush and Blackbird all very odd especially when you see mating Pintail and find three Chiffchaffs...its a funny old year already!
Yellow-legged Gull - Dungeness Point
Caspian Gull - Dungeness Point
 Highlights at the fishing boats at Dungeness were a stonking adult metal-ringed Yellow-legged Gull and the long-staying first winter Caspian Gull. A very brief seawatch added a group of 8 Red-throated Divers heading west and a stream of Kittiwakes and Gannets too. I couldn't locate the Stonechat which Dave and Gill let me know about earlier in the day but on the way back to the RSPB reserve I added a roosting Long-eared Owl, Great White Egret, Tree Sparrow and a corking drake Smew.

From here I headed out onto Walland Marsh in search of Bewicks or Whoopers but could only find herds of Mutes which was disappointing. I did add a number of finches and Yellowhammer to the steadily growing list but again failed with Grey Partridge and Red-legged Partridge. Onto Scotney Court GP I managed to find the Tundra Bean Goose in amongst some 400+ Greylags and added a nice bonus Black-necked Grebe too.
Glossy Ibis - Pett Level
Glossy Ibis - Pett Level

I then headed further west to Pett Level where I saw my bird of the day which was the Glossy Ibis above. It showed really well and was excellent value watching it catch worms before washing them in a small puddle prior to swallowing them. Quite fascinating to watch and at such close quarters a fantastic start to 2016. The day was finished off with a Tawny Owl sheltering from the inclement weather just round the corner from my house which was a very fitting end to a nice days birding.

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