Reculver - 0815hrs - mild, overcast, light airs - Off the Marsh today to recce out a couple of sites in north Kent for articles, in company with Chris Philpott, Mark Hollingworth, Phil Lightman and Barney.
Havent been here for ages so ambled around the car park for a bit checking out the facilities. On the sea, decent numbers of Red-throated Divers coming and going, plus a few Brents heading east; as the tide came in over the next couple of hours the total rose to c300, including one pale-breasted bird. A distant sand-bar attracted several common seals. Along the foreshore below the car park and around the tower 2/3 Black Redstarts, 2 Rock Pipits, 5 Mipits, 5 Pied Wagtails, Wrens, Robins and Turnstones.
We then walked a section of the Thanet Coastal Path eastwards besides the oyster ponds. On the seaward side a few more waders included 14 Ringed Plovers and a Grey Plover, plus 7 Shelducks and another Black Redstart, while inland Marsh Harrier, 3 Redshanks, 10 Reed Buntings and a flock of 50 Linnets noted.
MH then took us on a trip down memory lane, between here and Minnis Bay, regaling us all with birding tales from before the last Cod War!
Grove Ferry - 1115hrs- In the car park we were greeted by 3 Ring-necked Parakeets (sadly, a site tick for us all). Also, around the car park were a number of Song Thrushes, Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff. A scan from the ramp produced 4 Ruffs in a mixed flock of Grey Lags, Lapwings and Teals, plus a distant Peregrine. Cetti`s Warblers and Bearded Tits were heard and we had a couple of brief views of Bittern here and from Feast`s hide.
The long trudge down to the ox-bow lake marsh produced precious little apart from brief views of a ringtail harrier, 2 Greater peckers, 3 flyover Water Pipits, Green Woodpecker, Little Egret, Snipe and a couple of distant Marsh Harriers; by `eck this place is hard work.
Anyhow, spirits were lifted as we back-tracked to Marsh hide from where we had brief views of 2 Glossy Ibises as they emerged from a ditch; after which, they flew off towards Stodmarsh. The saving grace was superb views of 3 Water Pipits (bird of the day) on the muddy field in front of the hide.
Back at the car we lamented the paucity of passerines throughout the day; there just wern`t any winter thrushes, Skylarks, and very few finches, mipits and buntings, pretty much the same as the farmland on Romney Marsh really.