Thursday 1 January 2015

Tawny Owl symphony

Park Wood, Appledore - 0700hrs - mild, sunshine/cloudy, wind increasing through the day, sw 2-5
Here we go, here we go, here we go - again! A cracking day in the field with CP (wheelman), MH (entertainments) and PL (awestruck once-a-year-birder) commenced in grand style at Park wood where we experienced the most amazing Tawny Owl symphony any of us could remember. At times five owls called around us for over half an hour, giving several flight views; a brilliant start to the year. We hardly ventured from the car park area where we mopped up on woodland birds including two fly-over Woodcocks, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Bullfinch Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Jay.
Walland Marsh  - Moving down on to the flatlands we cleaned up on all the common thrushes, plus Golden Plover, Tree Sparrow and Yellowhammer. At Horsebones the Bewick`s Swan flock totalled 90, along with a Whooper Swan and four Tundra Bean Geese. Moving on to Scotney a 1st winter Scaup and two Black-necked Grebes were located at the Sussex end, plus the usual feral geese, Shelduck, Pintail, Dunlin and Ringed Plover near the farm. The two Cattle Egrets duly obliged in the field opposite the stone yard in Lydd.

                                Cattle Egret, Lydd

Greatstone Beach - We arrived just in time to clock up seven species of shorebirds including good numbers of Knot, Grey Plover and Barwit.
Dungeness - A seawatch from the boats delivered plenty of Gannets, Kittiwakes, Red-throated Divers and auks offshore, plus bonus birds in the shape of Bonxie and Red-breasted Merganser.
RSPB - Plenty of NYD birders here enjoying the sawbills, egrets, ducks and Marsh Harriers around Burrowes. Over the road from Hanson we had cracking views of two Kingfishers and a Chiffchaff.

    Kingfisher, ARC

Lydd Airport - Following a tweet from NB we ended the day with another treat, a stunning male Black Redstart feeding on the deck by the hangars. We finished on a respectable 107 species of birds, but it will be the Tawny Owls that will live long in the memory.

                                Black Redstart, Lydd airport


  1. Hi Paul, it looks as if I was sitting next to you in the Hanson hide - as you left a tit flock came through with a few Long Tail Tits and Goldcrests, I hope you picked these up if you needed them.
    I was doing my day list solo but didn't reach anywhere near your total, probably because I spent too long in Chilham waiting for a Shrike!
    All the best

  2. Hi Kieron, yes we nailed the two little `uns early on in the wood. The Chilham shrike is a cracker and I hope you eventually saw it. Good birding for 2015.