A return visit to Reculver as we felt we had not, as yet, witnessed the full potential of this area. Arriving just after 7 a.m. we parked up and headed for the towers, our intention being a prolonged seawatch in the strong NNW winds. There were several other birders already seawatching in the shelter of the towers and it wasn’t too long before we saw our first notable bird, a juvenile POMARINE SKUA heading west, not that far out and easily identifiable. A Peregrine flew close past the towers being mobbed by Carrion Crows and, a while later, 17 Eider flew east. We picked out 10 more Eider on the sea including at least one male. A Red-throated Diver flew west and two more diver species passed distantly.
One of the other birders present called out that he had a Leach’s Petrel but it was distant. Paul eventually managed to picked it out, which is more than I managed, but he said it was just a black dot in the distance and, although it was obviously a petrel by its behaviour, he felt it was not a good enough sighting to add this species to his year list.
Nine Avocets flew west followed later by a first-winter LITTLE GULL also flying west and a Little Egret passing west close in.
We decided to search for the SNOW BUNTINGS along the beach and headed off east along the seawall towards Coldharbour Lagoon. Just had just passed the Oyster Farm when we found a flock of around 12 birds flying up from the beach, they flew west past us so we followed them back. We managed to get a few shakey shots in the strong wind before they flew off east along the beach. We refound them again a bit later but they were very flighty.
SNOW BUNTING (Graham)
SNOW BUNTING (Paul)
We also spotted the HOODED CROW that has been in the area for some time, on the beach but it soon flew off inland. The local Carrion Crows don’t seem to be too friendly towards this bird.
A Stonechat was on the landward side of the seawall and around 150 Brent Geese were in a single flock out on the fields.
BRENT GEESE (Graham)
Fourteen Eider flew close by not far from Coldharbour Lagoon, the flock included a single drake.
We then headed inland along the Green Wall and crossed the railway line and along the track by the River Wantsum. The hawthorns along this path are laden with berries but the best we found were a few Fieldfares, Redwings and Blackbirds, all very wary and diving into cover as we approached.
We stopped for lunch and then headed back towards the Oyster Farm where 5 Little Egrets were noted. A flock of around 100 Golden Plovers flew overhead heading north-east.
We ended the day with another seawatch at the towers, the tide being pretty high by now but the wind was decreasing slightly.
Looking east from Reculver Towers (Graham)
The best we could do was a Red-throated Diver and a Shelduck flying west and a flock of 18 swans flew overhead heading out across the sea on a north-westerly direction, possibly heading for Sheppey. Apart from thinking that we had only noted two Mute Swans out on the fields, we didn’t give these birds much more thought until a friendly gentleman arrived at the towers a short while later and asked if we had seen the flock of 18 Whooper Swans! He showed us the shots he had taken with his DSLR camera and, they looked to be Whoopers but this has since been considerd by the local birders at Reculver not to be the case, and were in fact BEWICK'S SWANS.
BEWICK'S SWANS (Graham)
A Little Egret passed close to the towers but there was little else of note.
LITTLE EGRET (Graham)
We eventually gave up just after sunset and headed home with a few more ticks on our year lists.
Paul & Graham