Other than the crake at Oare and a spot fly at Sandwich the week has been pretty dull (I know there was a RB shrike at Sandwich but I saw this for about 10 seconds and at 100+ yards) so with little to point the camera at in my normal haunts I decided to park up at Newdowns poly tunnels and walk the beach.
The track from the poly tunnels to Prince’s Golf club reservoir had a good head of chiffs (21) plus the normal tits and robins etc but new for today was a family of 4 mistle thrush. There was absolutely nothing in the Plantation (the stand of Pines) and the only thing on the golf course were the golfers.
Once on the beach I immediately found 2 wheatears and a whinchat but as normal the whinchat would not let me get close.
If you talk to birders who don’t take photographs they will tell you how close they get to everything whereas most of the time I find it really difficult – especially with whinchats and have to rely on finding the dope of the flock that stays put when you approach. I suspect that the non-photographers just don’t appreciate how close you need to get even with a 400mm lens to get a decent shot and they also forget they are looking at the bird though 8x or 10x bins.
So all I got of the whinchats (2 in the end) was the normal blog shot and the same applied to the stonechats (3) that I found opposite Prince’s club house.
These are the first I’ve seen in the SBBO recording area since the spring so good to see even though they took a leaf out of the whinchat book of non-cooperation with photographers.
The area just north of Prince’s club house was quite birdy in that as well as the chats, a wheatear and a few mippits I found 2 groups of reed buntings one of 5 and another group of 8. One of these ticked all the boxes to qualify for the dope of the flock title hence the picture.
There were a few warblers moving in the sea buckthorn which is quite an unusual occurrence but after 10 minutes of trying to get a view they turned out to be chiffs.
The last few hundred yards up to the Shellness Nature reserve (or 100 acre field) was dead though there were a few waders on show in some of the pools left by the retreating tide – ringed plover (9), dunlin (2) and sanderling(6). Further out, (and the sea was about a mile away) you could see oycs and curlews but I didn’t do any counts.
There's quite a lot of grass now growing between the dunes and the shoreline so the open area where we normally find the shore larks and snow bunting is changing in character.
The route back was a repeat of the journey out but with less birds though back on Prince’s practice ground there were another 2 wheatears. These looked quite dark and orange on the breast though it may have been the light.
So a pleasant walk but nothing exciting to report.