Monday, 20 March 2023

A Glaucous Gull at Dover.

A trip down to Dover on Sunday morning (19th March) to see the Glaucous Gull that has been seen recently from the Shakespeare beach area just to the south of the Admiralty pier. A species I have not seen for a while, this bird being a 4th calendar year individual so I am told, that has a slight deformity to the bill. What was evident straight away was the sheer size of the brute.

Shakespeare cliff with Samphire Ho in the background.

Sunday, 5 March 2023

Grove Ferry and Stodmarsh NNR.

 A rather smart looking Great Crested Grebe in his breeding attire seen at Grove Ferry recently.

The female Ring-necked Duck is still playing hard to get on the main lake at Stodmarsh. Several sightings where it shows well but always from a distance. I did get it a little closer in than usual from the Tower hide, but on a very windy morning, making for a choppy surface to the lake.

The female Ring-necked Duck, a lot further out but in calmer conditions.

Marsh Harriers seen hunting over the reed beds at Stodmarsh.



And in the Alder wood at Stodmarsh, a Male Siskin sat still long enough for me to get an image.

Saturday, 31 December 2022

Top Four Birds of 2022 (Part 2)

 Carrying on from my previous post, the top two birds of 2022 for me were

2nd Place.

A spur of the moment drive to East Yorkshire and Bempton Cliffs to catch up with the returning Black-browed Albatross (8th April) is my 2nd most memorable bird of 2022. A long drive, but rewarded with great views of this giant sea bird from the Southern Hemisphere. Photography was a little challenging as the bird always remained low down but a great twitch that I think may be repeated if it returns in 2023.

The Albatross would normally have made the Number one spot but for me, better was to come later on, right at the end of May.

My bird of the year and probably the same for a lot of people unless you were on Bryher or the Shetlands, was the visiting Eleanora's Falcon (29th May and 1st June), that spent a few days hunting out over the Worth marsh. Fantastic views as it posed on top of the various bushes alongside the Pinnock wall and hunting Dragonfly's out over the fields near to the Great Wood. A star performer and a great U.K tick for me.

Some good birds seen locally throughout the year, hopefully plenty more to come during 2023. 

Happy New Year.

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Top Four Birds of 2022 (Part 1)

 My top four birds seen through the year of 2022. 

4th Place.

The juvenile Red-footed Falcon (6th October) seen on the Elmley nature reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. An obliging individual and the first juvenile Red Foot I have seen.

3rd Place.

The American Robin (12th February) seen feeding on Cotoneaster around a housing estate in Eastbourne. Drew the crowds including myself, to see what was a new bird for me. Well worth the drive down.

Part 2 to follow. 

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Not all Gulls are Big and Ugly.

 Many thanks to Mark Chidwick who took the trouble to phone and alert me to a very confiding 1st winter Little Gull at Hampton on the western side of Herne Bay. The weather was very dull and dreary but having not been out for a few days and the very little work I needed to do, already done, I thought why not. I found Mark with the bird and it was as he said, very confiding as it hung in the wind, dancing along the surf of the incoming tide, backwards and forwards between the pier and the first groyne back towards Herne Bay. I took what were fairly reasonable record shots and returned home after about an hour. Also in amongst several Turnstones, Dunlin and Sanderling was a solitary Purple Sandpiper which was a photo opportunity not to be missed even though conditions were not in my favour.

As I got home, the sun put in an appearance and soon the dreary misty gloom turned into a bright sunny afternoon. Being that the Little Gull was just a fifteen minute drive away, I decided to return. The Gull was in the same place and I sat on the shingle and watched as it patrolled again up and down the tide line, much closer now as it was on high water. 

I took far too many images !!!

Although not a rare Gull, I seldom get the opportunity to see them close in shore and so camera friendly, so this youngster stopping of at Hampton for a while was a bonus.

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Asio Flammeus.

The weather of late has been dull and dreary, so have not mustered any enthusiasm to get out and about with the camera. A couple of weeks ago (25th Nov) I did take advantage of a bright and sunny afternoon, paying the returning Short-eared Owls a visit on the Sandwich Bay estate. I counted three quartering the Royal Cinque Ports golf course, around the halfway refreshment hut by the 10th tee. Although the Owls were not up hunting until after 3.00 pm, leaving a narrow window with the fast diminishing light, I managed to get a few reasonable images of these wonderful birds.