We left around 6:45 to get to the pick up point were we would leave to go to the Isle of Sheppey. We arrived just on time. We then went into someone else's car and drove off. It took us about an hour and a half to get to our first stop.
Raptor Point is on Harty Ferry Rd. We looked out of the windows while we drove down the road looking for anything special. We first past a pair of Stonechats and stopped to have a better look at them. We also got out of our cars and set up some of the scopes so as to try and find anything else. We all had an eye out for a Rough-legged Buzzard which had been seen. We scanned for a while and only saw some Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and a Kestrel. We went on to the official Raptor Point and thats when thing began to get better. We first saw a pair of Reed Buntings in the reeds in front of us I went down to photograph them and when I turned round my brother signalled for me to come to him. At first I just thought he wanted me to leave the Reed Buntings alone. I went up and my brother said that there was a Short-eared Owl flying in the distance unfortunately I did not see it but then I decided to stay with the group. I took a scan my self. After a while someone pointed out a flock of White-fronted Geese and I trained the scope on them and saw the distinct features of a White-fronted Goose. After that I gave the scope to my brother to have a look. In that time I looked around anything else. At first there were some Meadow Pipits and A green Sandpiper which flow over but then someone found a Ring-tailed Hen Harrier and pointed it out to the rest of the group. Luckily I saw it and put the scope on it and followed it until it landed. We carried on looking after that but there was nothing much until we were about to leave and a local pointed out a Merlin. I first looked through his scope and after that my brother had already set it up to see it so I had another look through that scope.
When we arrived we went straight down to the beach and began looking for some stuff. On our way down we saw some Black-tailed Godwits and a Curlew .After we went on and looked over the sandy beach. Every one set up there scopes and started to look. There was a lot to see and so we didn't manage to see everything. I looked over part of the sand and saw a hug amount of Knots with some Redshanks. Also to the other side there were some Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Bar-tailed Godwits and some more Redshanks. Next to all those waders was a Great Black-backed Gull all alone. After that we saw the usual stuff like Marsh Harrier, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Brent Geese and then a Barn owl which was a very pleasant surprise. At first we thought it was a Short-eared Owl but as it got closer we recognised it as a Barn Owl. After this I decided to go onto a jetty which went over the beach, I could not go on the beach because it was quick sand. I managed to obtain a few pictures but none of them were very good.
Grey Plover in middle
After being at Harty Ferry for a while we went up and had our lunch. Some of the group wanted to go for a walk so we did that along the side of the beach. Nothing much happened on that part of the trip. One thing was a hug flock of Brent Geese which were in a field behind them there were some White-fronted Geese. After that we went on and saw some Avocet amongst a few hundred waders.
BACK TO RAPTOR POINT
After coming back from the walk we went to Raptor Point again. This time I especially looked out for a Short-eared Owl and I saw one.
We went to another beach after Raptor Point were we saw hundreds of Sanderling and Turnstone there was also a big flock of curlew that flow over. The tide was very high so the Sanderling and Turnstone were very close which allowed me to get some good photographs.
Me and my Dad have now officially finished the hide which is in our back garden. When we had finished it last time we still had to add the shelf but today we did that and now I can use the hide to its fullest extent.
We left home at around 11 to get to Brighton. On the way me and my brother decided to play a game. The game was to look out for birds of prey. Kestrels would be 1 point, Buzzards 2, Red Kites 3 and any other bird of prey would be 4. On the way down I saw 1 Red Kite and 1 Kestrel. I also saw 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
In the car on the motor way.
When we arrived at Brighton the water looked ruff and promising. We decided to all go for a nice walk along the beach before we would go to the restaurant. Unfortunately there was not much to be seen and we ended up seeing some Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Cormorants and a Pied Wagtail.
Three Herring Gulls.
Herring Gull with something in its mouth.
Herring Gull diving for a clam which it just dropped.
We made the walk lead us straight to the restaurant which were going to eat at. After a nice meal we decided to head back to the car which meant we had to go back along the sea front but this time instead of going along the beach we went along the path which was higher than the beach. on the we witnessed a Starling roost. I managed to take some rubbish footage of the roost.
After that we went back to our hotel which was in Arundel.
On the 1st of January 2012 I decided to stay at the hotel instead of follow my brother to the near by beach. I managed to have a nice swim in the swimming pool at the hotel and then have a full English breakfast. After that me and my dad went to the beach to pick up my brother and this allowed me to get some of the easy new year ticks at the beach.
1. Woodpigeon: I saw the Woodpigeon at the hotel car park.
2. Blackbird: also seen at the car park
3. Magpie: on way to beach
4. Carrion Crow: also seen on way to beach
5. Herring Gull: At the beach
6. Black-headed Gull: flying over beach
7. Oystercatcher: going around on the beach (NOT EATING OYSTERS(WHY IS IT CALLED AN OYSTERCATCHER?))
8. Sanderling: wading with the Oystercatchers
9. Brent Geese: I saw some Brent Geese before the Black-headed Gulls but it was a probable sighting not definite.
10. Turnstone: at list there name is correct because that's exactly what they were doing.
11. Kestrel: hovering over the sand dunes on the beach.
This is my Year List from last year I saw a total of 149 species which was 1 of my target of 150 I hope this year I can get 150 or over. One of my favourite birds that I saw on this year list was the Snow Bunting.
On Boxing Day me and my family decided to go for a nice walk at Ivinghoe Beacon because I had just got my new Nikon D3100 I decided to make that the priority so I could practise. We started off at Steps Hill and walked down into the valley. When I was in the Valley a Red Kite flow around as if it wanted me to photograph it.
After trying to get decent photo but failing my brother pointed out a Kestrel which was hovering over a meadow. I ran to get closer and zoomed in and took a few pictures here's the only photo that came out OK.
As we got closer to Ivinghoe Beacon there was an increase in Redwings and Fieldfares. Find the Redwing in this tree.
As well as photographing birds I decided to photograph nature. Some of the views that you see from Ivinghoe Beacon are spectacular. But when we got to the top the wind was very strong coming from the west. Which meant it probable wouldn't bring any good migrants to were we where.
I woke this morning at about 9 o'clock and got all my birding equipment ready to leave by 9:40 and get the train at 10:01. I arrived at Marsworth Reservoir at about 10:50 and got out the scope to have a scan for the Jack Snipe which had been seen recently. After a while of scanning with no luck I decided to go and have a look at the Snow Buntingon Startop's End Reservoir and add it to my new year list for 2012. I went round and had a good look and obtained some good pictures of the Snow Bunting with my new Nikon D3100 which I got for Christmas. I was with many other people looking at this wonderful and spectacular bird. Here are 7 of the 211 pictures I took (I only choose 7 because I couldn't really be bothered to crop all the pictures)
When I had finished photographing it I went on to Marsworth Reservoir to have a look for the Jack Snipe and some other stuff. I went first to the hide which is looking over Startop's End Reservoir and had a quick look, now that I think about it I think I could have looked a bit harder to find something good. I also had a quick look at a flock of Black-headed Gulls unfortunately there was no sign of a Mediterranean Gull. After that I had another look for the Jack Snipe but I was fruitless in my findings. Because of this I decided to go to Wilstone Reservoir to have a look at what was there I arrived at the jetty and saw two fisherman on the bank in front of it desterbing all the birds there was also nothing to be seen so I headed back to Marsworth to have another look for the Jack Snipe. When I arrived there was a large group looking at something at about were the Jack Snipe was often seen. I walked over and asked what it was and to my delight it was the Jack Snipe I trained the scope on it and looked at it and took notes for about 45 minutes. I decided to catch the 14:26 train back to Kings Langley were I got a lift from my dad back to my house it was a very enjoyable trip.