Monday 19th March
After working and being busy all last weekend with family and sports committments, I was keen to get out at the beginning of the week to catch up with all the migrants seen at Reculver. However, clear skies on Sunday night appeared to have prompted a large clear-out, as on Monday morning when I went for a long walk along the coast there wasn't a single Wheatear to be seen, and all the Black Redstarts were absent from the areas they had been frequenting. Highlight of my morning was finding a georgous male Black Redstart at Coldharbour, but it proved elusive, and I failed to manage a photo.
After 3 hours birding on a lovely bright morning I had seen a large number of waders, including a flock of 52 Bar-tailed Godwits, quite a good count for the area. A Fulmar flew west, and the 4 Eider were sitting offshore. A steady passage of around 75 Meadow Pipits and 5 Rock Pipits flew west, and around 35 'alba' Wagtails also trickled past west.
Mid afternoon a call from Chris Hindle told me a Kumliens Gull had been found near Coldharbour. This put me in a tricky situation, as I had promised the wife I would do some gardening pm. The garden could wait, I raced over to look for the gull, in the knowledge I only had an hour before the car was being dropped off for an MOT. This wasn't a relaxing afternoon off, but good fun. The gull had flown out to sea by the time I reached the coast, but Mark Chidwick pointed out a Short-eared Owl, which was nice. I also had more nice views of the Black Redstart, but stupdly I had left the flash card at home, so my camera was along for the ride, but of no use to me.
Wednesday 21st March
The morning was bright sunshine, but again few birds to be seen at Reculver. There were 4 Chiffchaffs singing around Chambers Wall, and 3 Ring-necked Parakeets flew west, but that was about it really. So I spent the afternoon in the garden, where there I could hear a Goldcrest singing away.
Friday 23rd March
Dissapointment this morning when I awoke to to thick fog outside. Nevertheless, I went off to Reculver in the hope the sun might burn it off. I walked for 3 hours, seeing very little. There was a Little Owl in the caravan park, and I flushed a Short-eared Owl from the seawall near Coldharbour, and that was about it. It was still cold and foggy by the time I returned to the car. I had to be home by 10 o'clock to give my wife a lift to the train station for her weekend away, so I was resigned to a poor end to the week.
However, things changed for the better when I received a text from Chris Hindle to say there was a drake Garganey on Brook, at around 10:30am. By now the sun was streaming down, so I grabbed the camera, scope, bins and my old coolpix just in case a bit of digi-scoping was required. Just as I reached Reculver there was thick fog again. I sat down at the edge of Brook and scanned across the lake, and there were 2 drake Garganey together. I tried a few photos but got nothing at all, too misty. Luckily, with a bit of patience, the sun started to break through, and eventually I managed an ok photo. It's been a long time since I digi-scoped anything!