Today I decided to make a trip along the North Kent coast to Reculver where Shorelark had been reported for about a week or so. As I have written on previous occasions I am not much into twitching. It is not because I don’t like to see new birds or that I am not prone to becoming obsessive about listing, it is just the simple fact that I do not like to be in crowds of people, but Shorelark is a bird I enjoy seeing very much and I did not expect there to be many other birders around given that it is not very rare in UK.
My main hope was that I would be able to get close enough to get some nice photos of a species that frequently can be very confiding as well as birding in an area that would hopefully provide a few other interesting birds. On arrival I met a couple of other birders who had exactly the same idea as me and we were all to be rewarded with some nice lunchtime birding.
Shorelark by Nick Upton
A walk along the sea wall took us a few hundred metres before finding two Shorelarks together feeding on seaweed washed up on the shore but a little bit too far, in poor light, to get any decent photos. However, the small crowd of 5 photographers all stood still together and within 10 minutes both birds had approached us much closer allowing me to get the shot above.
Light conditions were low so I used a wide aperture to let in light but this made depth of field so shallow that it was hard to get both birds in focus together but at one point I got lucky and the following image is fairly good.
Shorelarks by Nick Upton
As we watched the Shorelarks another bird flew in to join them, feeding on weed seeds, on the edge of the shingle beach which turned out to be another very welcome species: Lapland Bunting. This species had been reported here so it was not a complete surprise to see it but sometimes it is nice to be lucky and not have to work hard for good birds. I struggled to get any decent photos of it at first but as others moved along the track the Lapland Bunting flew a short distance and landed in front of me.
Lapland Bunting by Nick Upton
However, as some walkers and cyclists went past all three birds vanished. Nobody saw them leave and as the small group of birders broke up it was a struggle to relocate them. However, some time later I did but never got better photographic opportunities but it was nice to watch them feeding. 2 Stonechats were quite obliging too.
Stonechat by Nick Upton
Small groups of shorebirds included a Grey Plover, 25+ Ringed Plovers and several Turnstones and there was a group of 8 Wigeon on the sea but other than that there was not much else to see and with the time being way past lunch I decided to walk back to the car and find something to eat. On the way back I got a fairly nice shot of the Grey Plover.
Grey Plover by Nick Upton
This proved to be a nice couple of hours with some birds that I have seen only a few times before – I have come to really enjoy being able to take time to actually watch birds going about their business rather than just racing from one species to the next.