Tuesday, 28 August 2018

A Wood Sandpiper at Sandwich Bay

I have made a few visits recently to the hide on the Restharrow scrape at Sandwich Bay, mainly to try and get a few images of the Wood Sandpiper that has been reported there over the past week. Arriving early, I saw the bird on numerous occasions but it seemed to leave the scrape mid morning on each of my visits. There had been reports of two Wood Sandpiper's but there was only ever one present whilst I was in the hide.

Other birds of note were not that many, two eclipse drake Garganey's that never came close enough for a decent image so only a record shot and several Common Snipe that were displaying in front of anything that moved included the Wood Sandpiper and several Teal.

Several House Martin's and Swallows were gathering before their impending journey South for the Winter.

Monday, 27 August 2018

An American Black Tern

I went to the RSPB reserve at Dungeness on Friday (24th) to see the juvenile American Black Tern. Not that I particularly wanted to see the bird, (it really does look like all the rest of the juvenile Black Terns on the Burrows pit at present, all bar a little darker on the under wing) but logistics placed me not too far from the area so it would be silly not to drop in and pay a visit. I started down at Galloway's, looking for the Wryneck , drawing a blank there but I did see a young Redstart, two Pied Fly-catchers briefly in the same bush and a stack of  Chiffchaff's and Willow Warblers in just about every bush I stopped at. Also a couple of Yellow Wagtails were seen.

I then went onto the RSPB reserve and made my way to the Makepeace hide that overlooks the Burrows pit. The hard part of trying to find the juvenile American Black Tern in amongst several of its European cousins was made easy as a birder got me onto it straight away. It was on the far side of the pit and looking out into the sun made viewing rather challenging, especially as I only had binoculars. The next test was to come off the bird and then try to find it again under my own steam,  which was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought it would be. It appeared to be slightly smaller in flight than the other Black Terns, with grayish flanks and a darker under wing, although after seeing the bird briefly on the deck with other Black Terns, no size difference was evident to me. Due to the American bird keeping at a distance and the conditions being far from ideal for photography, I never managed a shot of it but did manage a few heavily cropped record shots of  the Eurasian Black Terns seen out on the pit.

Other birds seen was a Wood Sandpiper, a Peregrine which flushed the Black Terns as I was watching them on the deck and two Common Sandpipers.