With a clear sky early this morning and no wind I was eager to get out early and do some Owling so after getting ready I was out of the house at 5.45am driving the lanes. I did not have much luck at first having stopped at a number of locations with no sight or sound of any Owls so I drove over to Chambers Wall in the dark and parked up in the car park. I had a few cups of coffee and heard a few Golden Plover flying over calling and 2 Grey Partridge could be heard as well as a Snipe over calling. I kept looking for Owls when out of the darkness a Long eared Owl flew over my car and landed on the bush next to the car. I already had the window down and could see the silhouette of the Owl, no doubt looking at me. After a few seconds he flew off into the darkness but I managed another view a bit later on as he flew back down the track. Whilst still scanning a bird caught my eye and out of the other window 1 Barn Owl was seen hunting over the fields. If only all birding was like this! As It got light I got ready and walked on down to Coldharbour being joined by Julian Perry where we walked west along the seawall to the green wall before Julian cut inland and I returned the way we had come. Birds noted were c160 Cormorant, 23 Curlew in one flock, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier flew in from the south and was watched flying over the railway line towards Shuart, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Corn Bunting, 4 Shelduck and c40 Linnet. Walking along the seawall I noted 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Grey Heron, 14 Redshank, 1 Lapwing, 2 Greylag Geese, 9 Oystercatcher, 10 Turnstone, 3 Red throated Diver, c300 Brent Geese, 1 Stonechat, 2 Water Rail, 12 Ringed Plover, 11 Grey Plover, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Dunlin and as I walked back between Coldharbour and the railway crossing 1 adult White fronted Goose (106) flew east towards Shuart. Continuing on towards the car park I had a text from Derek Smith alerting me that he was watching 20 Bewick's Swans from the Chambers Wall flyover. I arrived not long after and had good but distant views of them, the most I have seen in anyone time in the area. I moved on towards Reculver and noted 1 Kestrel, c40 Fieldfare, 9 Tufted Duck, 7 Pochard, 11 Redwing, 8 Gadwall, 12 Wigeon and had good views of a Lesser Redpoll which gave me the opportunity to fire off a few shots.
I had arranged to meet Derek nearby so we could go and have a look for the pale Chiffchaff which proved a good move for as we parked up there were a pair of Bullfinch which showed quite well and allowed a few more shots for the day. This is a tough species to see here sometimes so to get an image of one is very good, and a male at that.
We wandered on down to the site where on arrival there were a few Chiffchaff in song. Great spotted and Green Woodpecker were noted as were 1 Grey Wagatail and 4 Goldcrest. We soon got on to a pale Chiffchaff and it was soon joined by a second bird, not as pale but another interesting bird nonetheless. Photos were hard to get today and my attempts were all binned as the bird did not show well at all, often keeping very low down in the brambles. We both noted a few features on the bird which looked quite good for 'tristis' but after an hour and a half we finally heard what we think was the pale bird give a 'peep' call. We cannot be sure it was this bird that called but it called just once and Derek immediately noted the difference in call. No doubt we will have to go back again to see if we can hear it again but its seems a good area for the Chiffchaff with c10 birds in the area. A quick look in the wood produced 1 Woodcock. A total of 72 species seen this morning without that much hassle and another good session with a few bits of quality thrown in. With a few birds in song this morning its only a few weeks away until those migrants return.