Sunday, 7 October 2018

First Signs of Snow at Reculver

During the last week of September the strong Northerly winds bought out the Sea Watchers and I went down to Reculver on the afternoon of the 28th to see if any sea birds were lingering along the shoreline which can often be the case after a blow. The sea watch was a bit of a non event with the number one priority being to find a bit of shelter from a very stiff Northerly, a groyne near to the coldharbour lagoon on the shingle being all that was on offer. A pair of distant Gannets and a Ist winter Sandwich Tern was scant reward for my efforts but I then noticed the familiar sight of a solitary Snow Bunting, foraging in amongst the debris in the section of beach I was sitting on. A few images were gained, rather pleasing considering the difficulty in holding the 500mm lens steady in the teeth of the gale. It did actually blow me over on a couple of occasions as I crouched on the shingle trying to get a shot.

It looks calm and windless in the images but I can assure you it was not.

I returned to Reculver on the 3rd of October, a bright sunny morning and with just a gentle North Westerly breeze. The Snow Bunting was still in the same section of shingle and easily picked out as it foraged in amongst the vegetation searching for food. A few more images were taken but as with my last visit, not a lot else on the avian front that was noteworthy.


A good job the Snow Bunting was there, it was the only images I took over the two visits.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Hide Hogging in a Jungle

Several visits hide hogging at HQ (Grove/Stodmarsh) over the past three weeks where unfortunately trying to find anything has been severely hampered with all the vantage points so overgrown that it is a case of what could be there rather than what actually is. Saying that, I have managed a few images from various points between the Reed bed hide at Stodmarsh and the Viewing ramp on the Grove Ferry end of the reserve.

Reed Bunting from the dipping pool at Grove.

Migrant Hawkers from the Reed Bed Hide at Stodmarsh.

Also from the Reed Bed Hide, a Grey Heron arriving on the pool, a female Marsh Harrier and a young Hobby that I thought was going to come in through the window.

I have seen a few Bearded Tits, not in large numbers, a few family parties around the Marsh Hide area.

The Feast hide has seen quite a bit of Kingfisher activity where I have seen three birds fishing and chasing each other around the pool. Due to the area in front of the hide being heavily overgrown, the birds have been reluctant to use the two perches, so grabbing images of the birds whilst hovering has proved rather challenging.

It has taken several visits over the past three weeks to actually catch a bird on a perch in front of the hide but persistence paid off with a female bird flying along the dyke and landing on the perch where she soon dived and caught a fish before being chased of by a Male bird who was perched on the rear side off the Island.

It has been a struggle at times and not a great deal to see but a few images from the camera beats driving my truck any day of the week. Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Twitching a Moth.............Never !!!

I spent a couple of days at Dungeness recently, Friday 14th when I was able to get a few images of the Wryneck that was in residence in the shrubbery around the trapping area just to the South of the DBO and returning on the morning of Monday 17th where I had the pleasure of looking at an Oleander Hawk moth trapped overnight by Martin Casemore and in the custody of Dave Walker at the DBO. I am not particularly into moths, there's too many of them to identify, but I know Hawk Moths tend to be large which makes the species pretty impressive. Poor image quality as my 500 mm lens was rendered completely useless for this job and I had to make do with images from my phone.

Very smart and worth calling into the DBO for a look. Thanks to Martin and Dave.

It was my first visit on the Friday that proved to be the most successful regarding the Wryneck, getting to see it on numerous occasions and also lucky enough to have the bird land close to me and pose for a few images.

During the day I saw several Lesser Whitethroat's but they would not pose for the camera and at least half a dozen Whinchat's, all fairly distant but looking good perched on top of the blackberry bushes.

On the Monday I saw the Wryneck a couple of times but there were a lot more birders and photographers present, consequently the bird seemed a bit reluctant to sit out in the open so much.
I noticed a few Wheatear's fence post hopping so I soon turned my attention to these, sitting on the shingle and waiting for them to land. I did not have to wait long.

I was also able to get a few images of  a pair of juvenile Stonechat's along with an adult male, part of a family that I saw when waiting for the Wryneck to put in an appearance. The juvenile birds were looking very scruffy.

A very enjoyable couple of visits to Dungeness and nice to have a chat with Martin Casemore whom I have not seen in a while. Easily the best Wryneck images I have obtained and an Olelander Hawk moth as well, but I don't think I will be building a moth trap just yet !!!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

A Close Scoter

A trip to Ramsgate harbour on the 8th proved a pretty mundane affair, a couple of distant Kingfisher's were the only birds of note until walking up the western arm (the one with the clock tower at the end) and just over the wall in the ferry turning basin, a drake Common Scoter was resting on the water. The bird was heavily in moult, the reason I guess that it was there. Each time I popped over the wall it swam out a little but was plenty close enough for some photos. 

It makes a change to see these birds up close, usually for me they are just black dots out to sea bobbing up and down in the swell and a good job the bird was present otherwise it would of been a pretty poor outing.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

A Wood Sandpiper at Sandwich Bay

I have made a few visits recently to the hide on the Restharrow scrape at Sandwich Bay, mainly to try and get a few images of the Wood Sandpiper that has been reported there over the past week. Arriving early, I saw the bird on numerous occasions but it seemed to leave the scrape mid morning on each of my visits. There had been reports of two Wood Sandpiper's but there was only ever one present whilst I was in the hide.

Other birds of note were not that many, two eclipse drake Garganey's that never came close enough for a decent image so only a record shot and several Common Snipe that were displaying in front of anything that moved included the Wood Sandpiper and several Teal.

Several House Martin's and Swallows were gathering before their impending journey South for the Winter.