Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Year Trundle

The traditional New Year trundle around the south of Kent was blessed by fine sunny weather, and is fully reported by Steve, the Greater Kent Birder, here. The other member of the party, Pete, is twice Steve's size so will henceforth be known as the Greatest Kent Birder. This accolade is a blatant attempt at flattery so I can use some of his photos.

The day started well with the friendly neighbourhood Great Northern Diver in Dover Harbour, accompanied by plenty of Guillimots and Razorbills, and the strange sight of Gannets fishing within the harbour walls, and often flying close overhead.

The recent winds had presumably blown the birds from the North Sea and down the coast, and they were sheltering in the safe haven.

Down to Dungeness via Walland Marsh (Bewicks Swans, Tree Sparrows), and a scan across the sea showed large numbers of sea birds were sheltering here too, in the lee of the point. Closest to the shore were Great Crested Grebes, then a little further out large numbers of Guilliauks with a few Red-Throated Divers fishing among them, then 60-70 Gannets diving on shoals - it could have been the Farne Islands.Birds everywhere on the water; no new day-ticks but we enjoyed the sight as long as the cold kept out. The next tick was a Caspian Gull......
.... then the the RSPB centre to watch Tree Sparrows on the feeders.

Adding Great White Egret, Bittern (yay) and a distant Long-Tailed Duck at the ARC pit, we moved on to Pett where there was little to excite but Brents and White-fronts.

As the sun sank in the west, it was time to watch raptors coming in to roost at The Woolpack -up to eight Marsh Harriers at a time circled in the fading light, with a total of at least 20 birds, but disappointingly no Hen Harriers. A Peregrine and an alleged Merlin flew through, though.

A good days birding with fine company and memorable sightings.

Back home........

The first addition to my non-avian pan-list for the year was a house-tick of this critter, which seems to be a False Black Widow Steatoda nobilis which has brought its family to live by the back door, and lurks there at night.

So the New Year starts.... borrowed camera, broken bins, sunny weather followed by gales and torrential rain......

But life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Let it be a Happy New Year, whatever it brings.


Rob said...

That was a good trundle, then.

Thumbs up for your dancing in the rain - hope you don't mind me pointing you to a post of my daughter, who shares this philosophy


Best wishes for 2012!

NW Nature Nut said...

Looks like a nice day! That spider is scary though. Happy New Year to you too!

Warren Baker said...

Nice post until the spider shot :-( I cant stand 'em!!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Steve!
Nice trundling. I had no idea there were so many Marsh Harriers at the Woolpack these days... haven't been there for a long time, but remember a couple of magical (and frostbite-tempting) stakeouts there in the 90s. Seem to remember something interesting (alleged Merlin, or grey goose sp) would *always* fly through after it's too dark to ID.