Sunday, 8 January 2012

Hard Work in East Kent

On Saturday I had a walk out onto Worth Marsh and to be honest I wasn’t really worth it. I started the day on 97 for the year and seeing as I still needed  song thrush, redwing, fieldfare, yellow hammer, corn bunting to name but 5 I was expecting to easily get past the 100 mark. Well I didn’t – all I managed was a couple of song thrushes and a Cetti’s.  There were quite a few blackbirds, chaffinch, greenfinch (by theBlue Pigeons) but there's little else to excite out there  AND I didn’t find the great white egret(s).  On the drive home I did find 5 grey partridge by the Chequers so I did manage to get to 100 but it was hard work.
Today I went over to Stodmarsh; the main target being the ibis. I checked out the Alder Wood but no sign of any siskin or redpoll and a search of the duck flock didn’t add to my year tally – of the common ducks I still need pintail. I later met up with Martyn and Sue who had seen a pintail on the main lake but it had evaded my efforts.
A few Cetti’s were calling and the tits were in good voice but the high light of the walk to the Water Meadows were 5 bullfinch, a loner then 2 pairs together. The 2 pairs were in plain view but the light was very poor and they were distant so I didn’t bother getting the camera out.
At the Water Meadows the ibis were showing well though at times they were tucked up tight against the reeds closest to the footpath so could be missed if you were expecting them out in the middle. I did get the camera out for these but it was very dark – the shot attached was at ISO1000 and I still only had 1/160th of a second. 

Whilst standing around chatting with Martyn and Sue a water pipit flew past adding to the year list. I didn’t have long so I wandered off meeting Steve Ashton in the Marsh hide where I saw another another distant water pipit (it’s very wet in front of the hide now – more suitable for heron and ducks than water pipits).
I was late so it was a quick walk along the very muddy path back to the car park though I did pick up some very distant fieldfares and I found another (closer) flock of these as I was driving home.
In all I managed 4 ticks today – ibis, water pipit, fieldfare and water rail raising my year total to 104. A reasonable start though it must be said that the number of small birds in East Kent is very low – this includes pipits, thrushes, finches (excluding chaffinch), buntings, stonechats – you name it they are difficult to find and when you do there won't be many of them. The only things that seems to be around in close to normal numbers are the common tits. It’s not much better with the geese – which are totally absent in the SBBO recording area. If it carries on like this it will be a long old winter.


  1. Not a bad day Steve, I have had worse. Only a few weeks and we will be thinking of migrants!

  2. Good to read your blog Steve, I am still on 67 if any consolation! A trip to Dunge on Friday a disaster a woman drove into the rear and whilst it will need a new bumper the worse thing was being 2 and a half hors late at Dunge,missing most of the gulls divers etc and finishing in the dark. Not one pintail there either. Still a lot at Oare i beleive.!

  3. Nice post Steve, the small bird numbers are slightly lower here too but I did get a good flock of maybe 40 Yellowhammers at the weekend. Maybe you've our Chaffinches their numbers are the lowest for 14 years! :-)