Trip reports

North Foreland and Reculver

Saturday, 30 November 2013

On Saturday 30th November 2013 six members of the RSPB Group met in Croydon, where a Peregrine (probably the female) had flown onto one of the tall buildings, before setting off for Foreness where a seventh member joined us. We were greeted with strong north-westerly winds and a high tide. This did not bode well in respect of one of the target birds; there was very little in the way of exposed beach and no rocky areas for Purple Sandpipers! The small area of sand held about 20 Ringed Plovers and a few Turnstones that were later joined by a single Sanderling. Offshore a few Guillemots, Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Scoter were on the move. A few Fulmars soared by the cliff tops and a single Great Crested Grebe was on the sea. A Rock Pipit was heard, but not seen. The best birds here were the four Snow Buntings that arrived and were seen briefly on the beach before disappearing as quickly as they came.
We headed off to Reculver in time for lunch. A brief stop at the towers saw a few more Scoter and a flock of Brent Geese fly past. A Black Redstart was found at the start of the oysterbeds, before we headed inland to walk round to Coldharbour via the railway line. A distant herd of swans was scanned to see if we could locate the family of Bewick's Swans that were in the area, but without success. We did, however, see large flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover taking flight from time to time in the distance, possibly put up by the Marsh Harrier we saw. Birds were a little scarce to come by until we got to the bushes along the railway where there was a flock of about 20 Linnets, several Chaffinches and a single Fieldfare. More swans flying over as walked up to Coldharbour, but still no Bewick's only Mute. Walking back along the sea wall, we saw another 80 or so Linnets plus Oystercatchers, Grey Plovers, Turnstones and a single Curlew. Then Roy called out as eight Snow Buntings flew past and settled nearby giving good views. Carrying on, a Stonechat perched on top of a bush. Nearer to the towers Roy found us another four Snow Buntings. The light was fading fast by the time we called it a day and set off home having seen around 50 species (excluding the Peregrine in Croydon!).