Naturelog: 27th December

Keith and I trying to wrap up a few local rarities for the year.

Our first stop is Chatham docks which has been home to a Black-Throated Diver for a couple of weeks. No 2 dock seems to attract them as a couple of years ago it was the winter residence of a Great Northern Diver. When we arrive we find a group of local birders watching the bird sleeping on the water.

After a while Keith and I together with some others move closer down the side of the dock basin to try and get some closer shots. Eventually the bird wakes up and starts moving around.

Also present on No 2 basin was a Eurasian Shag

Then it is off to New Hythe Lakes in search of Ring-Necked Duck, an American species that occurs here occasionally in winter.

Brooklands Lake

After leaving the station we make our way to the first lake but cannot see the duck amongst its more commoner cousins.

As we make our way down to the next lake we meet a young birder who tells us that it is at the southern end of the enxt lake, Abbey Mead. This seems to be its favourite spot although it has wandered to other lakes in the complex during its stay.

Abbey Meads Lake
A couple of distant shots of the Ring-Necked Duck. The top one shows the grey flank with the white area at the front and the bottom the peaked head which are two of the features which distinguish it from Tufted Duck. Below is a third image taken by Keith which shows the peaked head and white markings on the bill.

On the way back home we passed over Jane’s Creek on the River Medway at Strood. Keith just happened to be saying it was a good winter site for Common Sandpiper when I looked down and there was one standing on the mud. Keith had his camera at hand and tried to get a picture of it from the train!

Common Sandpiper seen from train (Keith)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Black-throated Loon [sp] (Gavia arctica)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
European Shag [sp] (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

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