At the moment.... mostly about moths

Sunday, 13 February 2011

St Margaret's Bay and the cliffs

A walk, yesterday, with the family and the mad spaniel along the White Cliffs provided the opportunity for a bit of birding and some new lifers for my daughter, which she seemed pleased with. Having had a nice lunch at the Coastguard ( I can recommend the "award-winning" cheeseboard) we climbed out of the Bay south toward Dover, hitting the cliff edge as soon as you can. It was mild and very pleasant - Monty (the dog) was in his element of course, and spring really does feel like it's just around the corner, even though all the vegetation still looks dormant. We did spot a Great Black-backed gull (24) out to sea and a small flock of Cormorant (25). Fulmar (26) was quickly added, we had great views of them in flight, too distant for any pics though. The highlight, birdwise, was as we reached Fan Bay, since we spotted 2 Raven (27). We sat for a few minutes and had good but distant views. I'd been hoping we'd see some display flying, but it wasn't to. We did get a single photo as one of the flew overhead, not great though I had only brought the 24-105mm lens.


K was well impressed. One thing that slightly intrigues me is the white mark on the bird's underside - it's visible as a tiny mark on the pic above, but more obvious of you zoom in a bit:

IMG_5125 - Version 2

You'd say it might be a colour-ring, but a quick search at didn't mention any CRing activity on Ravens around here (or indeed the whole UK). So I'm not sure?

We also saw a few Jay (28) and the usual mix of birds.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Rose-ringed Parakeet

During a quick trip to the sweet shop after school yesterday we saw a nice flock of 11 Rose-ringed Parakeet, in Broadstairs town centre. My daughter's 23rd species for her UK life list. They all count.

New species added to K's Life list, Feb 7th 2011.

23) Rose-ringed Parakeet

Saturday, 5 February 2011

2011, a new beginning

After a long absence I'm reviving the blog, partly as I'm anticipating having a bit more time over the next few months (I will soon be "resting" between jobs), partly because I went out birding with my daughter this morning and she officially started her UK life list, which seemed like something worth recording for posterity.

Our first trip was modest enough, being a couple of hours down at the Monks' Wall Nature reserve. This site was once my local patch but I haven't visited the site in at least 2 years. It can be very good indeed, and is very under watched. During the period 2004-2008 I probably visited the site over 250 times and took my site list to about 106, which is not bad for a couple of flooded fields and a few hedges.

Anyway, back to today. We arrived at about 8-30 and having parked the car, and spotted Carrion Crow and Magpie as we went through the gate, we immediately had a bit of excitement as a male Sparrow Hawk flew down the hedge and landed on a nearby post - we had great views through the scope, daughter suitably impressed. Nothing was added to the list as we made our way to the first hide, but once inside we were greeted with a mixed flock of gulls, with 36 Common Gull, 28 Herring Gull and 62 Black-headed Gull. We also quickly spied 35 Wigeon and a nice flock of 13 Curlew. 3 Greylag Goose landed after a few minutes along with a few Wood pigeon and 9 Starling. We then walked round to the other hide, adding 12 Goldfinch, 6 Teal, 2 Blackbird, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Goldcrest, 7 Pheasant (all female) and a single Mallard. Not much from the far hide, just a single Coot and 2 Redwing, which gave excellent views. The final additions to our day's tally were 2 Long-tailed Tit and a nice pair of Bullfinch - once again, giving great views.

New species added to K's Life list, Feb 5th 2011.

1) Carrion crow
2) Magpie
3) Curlew
4) Wigeon
5) Common gull
6) Sparrowhawk
7) Greylag goose
8) Starling
9) Herring gull
10) Black- headed gull
11) Woodpigeon
12) Goldfinch
13) Teal
14) Blackbird
15) Redwing
16) Coot
17) Goldcrest
18) Pheasant
19) Bullfinch
20) Mallard
21) Blue Tit
22) Long Tailed Tit

Current Total 22