Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Still searching

There are about a million wrynecks in Kent at the moment and I’ve not seen any of them. I suppose I could have twitched the one at Grove but I wanted to find my own one. To this end I have spent the last few mornings looking searching along the cliffs between Kingsdown and Hope point. It has not been a resounding success.
The other problem was I didn’t want a distant view of one disappearing into a bush I wanted a dopy cooperative one similar to that that frequented Hope point a few years ago:
Here's one I took earlier

On Monday I did the cliffs and a short spell in the gullies at Sandwich, Tuesday the cliffs then Backsand and today the cliffs and Restharrow.
On Monday I’d seen very little until I got to the garden of Ship House (by the back entrance to the golf course) there I found chiffchaff, a garden warbler, lesser whitethroat plus 2 spotted flycatchers which was rather nice (though I only managed a poor shot of the garden warbler).
Garden warbler
I then moved onto Hope point and had a chat with Brendon – quite a few  whitethroat (both kinds), a couple of whinchat but no wryneck. I had another look at Ship House garden and saw the flycatchers again but nothing else of note so departed for Sandwich. On arrival I found Steve Raynaert and Alan Ashdown looking for a wryneck that had been seen a few minutes earlier (not seen again) and I then heard that a Western Bonelli’s warbler had been found exactly where I had been looking just 30 minutes before. To rub salt into the wounds someone spotted a wryneck along there as well.
They say better to be lucky than good.... well I managed neither.

Tuesday, undaunted, I was back on the cliffs to resume the search. Very much as before with not much seen until Ship House gardens where I found 2 pied and a spotted flycatcher:
Pied flycatcher
Another search at Hope point yielded several lesser whitethroats but no wryneck.
Around midday I went down to Backsand. High tide on Tuesday was 16.30. I wasn’t going to be able to stay till then but most birds normally come into roost 1-2hrs before the top of the tide so I expected to see most of whatever was going to come in.
When  I arrived 59 lapwing, 16 redshank, 1 green sandpiper and a snipe were already in residence as were 7 widgeon. The numbers then slowly climbed to 48 redshank, 13 greenshank, 2 green and 2 common sands but in general everything was on the far side of the scrape.
The 2 common sands came in very noisily and landed ~ 20 yards away and almost immediately 2 little stints landed alongside them. They only stayed a few moments then moved to the far side.
Little stint
The rest of the session (until 15.30) was spent hoping they would come close and watching for any other arrivals - 3 dunlin and a wood sand turned up but they too landed miles away.
It was close to being a photographic  “duck” when one of the stints had a fly around the scrape then landed right in front of me where it fed for 10-15 minutes. 

 As the saying goes “Everything comes to those that wait”.
Today’s outing along the cliffs was pretty unproductive but I did find both spotted and pied flycatcher in the garden. 
Spotted flycatcher
Warblers in general were few and far between the only exception being common whitethroats – I found a group of around 10 at hope point; it looked as if a couple of families had combined because a lot of them were youngsters. I did find a very dull looking willow warbler (strong eye stripe, pale legs and what appears to be a long primary projection).
Willow warbler
 I didn’t hang around but popped along to Restharrow by way of a change. It was very quiet there as well though at last I saw the water rail:
Water rail
So I missed the Bonelli’s, and failed in my wrynecks quest despite them being found all around me but the little stints were nice. C’est la vie.

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