Sunday, 22 April 2018

A Not so Unlucky Friday the 13th.

With news of a Black-winged Stilt present in front of the Marsh hide at Stodmarsh, late on Thursday 12th, I arrived at 5.00 am the next morning hoping the overnight showers were enough to keep it there, at least long enough to see the bird. I did see the last bird here in 2015 but Stilts at Stodmarsh have been very hard to see over the years. Although plentiful just a few miles across the channel in France, it is only my 3rd Black-winged Stilt sighting in the U.K, the above mentioned bird at Stodmarsh in 2015 and a pair at Elmley in 2008.

As soon as I arrived at the hide I saw the bird and throughout the morning I was able to get a few shots but overcast grey skies made it a little difficult. I left, hoping the Stilt would stay around until the sun appeared, which it was forecast to do later in the day

The sun arrived for the late afternoon so I returned to the Marsh hide hoping for better results. The light was a lot better now and the Stilt was back in front of the hide after i was told being on the distant pool to the left of the hide for a couple of hours.

At one point the Stilt decided to bathe and to the delight of the people in the hide, right out in front of us.

After bathing the Stilt kept jumping up out of the water, drying it wings by vigorously flapping them.

There was also a Jack Snipe and at least a pair of Water Pipits seen from the Marsh hide as well. All in all a not so unlucky Friday the 13th.

Monday, 16 April 2018

A Pair of Ramsgate Merganser's.

I had the pleasure of being able to photograph the pair of Red-breasted Merganser's on the inner basin at Ramsgate harbour last Tuesday (10th). I was actually at work in the lorry which made it all the better, seeing them in the morning and returning in the afternoon to get a few images. There was a male and female bird, this being the first time I have been able to get a male in the view finder. I usually see them through binoculars out on the Swale at Whitstable or Oare but far too distant for images. I did not realise just how smart the males look, especially at this time of the year.

Red-breasted Merganser (female)

Red-breasted Merganser (male)

It's good getting paid and photographing birds at the same time lol.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Waiting !!!

I have had a view trips out over the past week or two, dodging the rain and hoping to find newly arrived migrants but apart from a few Chiffchaff's and a single Sand Martin, I have not done very well. I was able to get a few images of a Peregrine Falcon, the location undisclosed for obvious reasons.

Most of my time has been spent at Stodmarsh and Grove in the hope of an early Garganey but fruitless. It surely will not be long now ?

The Marsh Harriers are pretty active from the Reed Bed hide and a few images were taken whilst waiting for non showing Chocolate Brown Ducks.

And a couple of Common Buzzards joined the Harriers for a bit until they were chased off by the local Crows.

 Other bits to arouse my attention from the Reed bed hide at Stodmarsh was a lonesome Canada Goose, before departing to the fields behind the hide,

one of several Shoveller that decided to swim past the hide window,

and a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes that came close in, a lot of head shaking and weed offering but stopping just short of their weed dance. It would of been nice to see at such close quarters.

also out of the right hand window of the Reed Bed hide a flock of Bearded Tits were seen in the Willowy scrub. Shooting into the sun is always difficult, but with a bit of Photoshop tampering, a couple of usable images were obtained.

 It cannot be too much longer before the incoming migrants arrive in numbers, let's hope the weather improves as well.

Monday, 19 March 2018

A Ramsgate Razor (09/03/18)

A walk around the harbour complex at Ramsgate on the morning of the 9th and although nothing too exciting had made its way into the various basin's, I was quite pleased to photograph a Razorbill that I saw swimming in amongst the moored boats in the inner basin. Normally it is Guillemot's that sit close in and pose for the camera so a Razorbill made for a nice change. Dull, gloomy and overcast skies (when isn't it of late) with a few spots of drizzle for good measure but a few record shots escaped the delete button.

I looked for the Iceland and Glaucous Gull's with no joy, no doubt they have now moved on but the two Snow Buntings were seen way down near the now redundant cafe by the old Sally terminal entrance. There was also a female Black Redstart by the Fulmar's nesting site. I returned to Ramsgate on the 11th as the sun had decided to show but try as I did, I could not re locate the Razorbill anywhere. My hopes of better images in the sun dashed, I found a European Shag sitting on the slipway where the fish are off loaded in the outer basin. It let me pass it within a metre to get the other side with the sun behind me and continued to sit there for 10 minutes as I snapped away with the camera. (Notice the bling, well you cannot miss it really). Then it went into the water as the incoming tide approached and started to fish, catching what I presume to be a Weaver fish which it dropped once but dived and caught again, giving me an opportunity to get a few more images.

Where is the Spring ???

Sunday, 11 March 2018

A Fiery Crest.

I have made a couple of visits to the reserve at Stodmarsh over the past two weeks and a pleasant surprise for me was a Firecrest seen along the entrance track to the Grove end of the reserve on the morning of the 25th (February). I do not see many Firecrest's at Grove so was fairly pleased with this one.

It's easy to see where they get their name from.

Two days earlier, on the 23rd, a Little Grebe swimming in the dyke in front of the Feast hide gave me a reason to get the camera out of the bag.

Then we were treated to the Icy blast, the Beast from the East, which never amounted to much really, enough snow to be a nuisance and a week of freezing temperatures, feeling uncomfortably cold in the biting easterly winds. I watched three Common Snipe from the Reed Bed hide which stood out well against the snowy backdrop.

Nothing out of the ordinary seen during the cold snap but nice to get out and walk around the reserve all the same. A few more images below from my visits over the past fortnight to Stodmarsh.



Tufted Duck.



Spring is just around the corner and hopefully the arrival of our returning migrants will soon be evident.