Naturelog: Friday 9th January

Posted: January 10, 2015 in Birds, Kent, Natural History, UK
Tags: , ,

The weather influenced a change in destination for a days birding in Kent and Keith and I went out to Cliffe for the day instead of going to New Hythe as originally planned. We started at West Court Farm where the fields were flooded. There were good views of Kestrel, Fieldfare and Greylag Geese. Pintail and other water birds were taking advantage of the flooded meadows as a new habitat.





As we walked towards the RSPB reserve at Cliffe we added some more water bird species on the old quarry lakes. A female greater spotted woodpecker perched on top of a telegraph pole and small birds flitted through the trees. By the time we reached the reserve we had already seen 31 species.

Our first target on the reserve was a male Scaup which had been seen that morning. The eagle eyes of another birdwatcher located it associating with a flock of Tufted Duck on the far side of the pit and through the telescope its pale back (by comparison to Tufted Duck) were clearly distinctive.

Greater scaup LMO 2
A male Scaup
Photo by Paul Sullivan (

Tufted Duck (male)

Tufted Duck (male)

Also present were Goldeneye and the largest number of Little Grebes I have ever seen in a single place.

Male Goldeneye (taken 2013)

Male Goldeneye (taken 2013)

LIttle Grebe

Little Grebe (Kelsey Pk Jan 2015)

We walked out towards the River Thames as the tide was rising and we wanted to see what would come off the Thames marshes. A Cetti’s Warbler calling from the path-side bushes was an unexpected bonus as were 2 Corn Buntings, although small birds were generally low on numbers, most probably due to the wind. At the river we were treated to a fly-by procession of over 1000 Dunlin plus good numbers of Golden and Grey plover. I located a lone Greenshank on the far side of the Flamingo pool.

Photo by Tony Sutton (

A Marsh Harrier and later a Peregrine Falcon were hunting over the marshes, but probably due to the wind there were no sightings of Owls. The overcast conditions meant that the light was fading mid-afternoon and soon it was time to head back to the car-park. Even so we still added species on the way back as birds moved to roost.

An excellent days birdwatching which finished at 61 species, despite the absence of some expected species) with excellent if distant views of some good species.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Greater Scaup [sp] (Aythya marila)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos) 1
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Corn Bunting [sp] (Emberiza calandra)

  1. Keith Cutting says:

    So with 60 species as pass mark a good start to the year. Personally, I would have mentioned Tabatha’s lovely bacon rolls! Keith.

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