Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A more than welcome return.

Wheatear's, smart in their breeding attire and a most welcome returning migrant to our shores. Over the Easter weekend, quite a few arrived and reports were plentiful as they were seen stopping off along the Kentish coastline, taking a break before carrying on to their breeding grounds further North and West. (although I am sure a few do breed along the North Kent shoreline) I was lucky enough to see 5 Wheatears along the stretch of coastline around Seasalter, 4 being Males with one flighty Female that I could not get near enough to get a photo. Waiting around the grassy area along the top of the beach by the sea wall, the Male birds would periodically land on the fence allowing a few images to be taken before dropping down to the floor again to resume feeding. A shame a few Whinchat's were not with them, or is that being greedy. 

Today, (Wednesday 19th) I noticed two Common Terns on their new purpose built Tern raft out on the main lake at Stodmarsh, my first of 2017.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Catching up around the Stour Valley.

I caught up with the Cattle Egret at Stodmarsh on Saturday, (15th) in with cows opposite the Stodmarsh Court Farm entrance. Not too sure if this is the same individual seen a few months back at the Blue bridge at Preston and also in cereal fields along the North Stream at Marshside.

New birds for the year (for me) were a bit thin on the ground with three Swallows over the Reed beds at Stodmarsh on Tuesday (11th)  and a Nightingale heard at the Grove end of the reserve on Thursday (13th) all year ticks. There are now quite a few Sedge Warbers to be heard chattering away in the reed beds. Three Common Snipe have been feeding close in to the reed bed hide at Stodmarsh and giving the local wildlife snappers something to point their cameras at.

I hope the returning Terns are happy with their new 5 star accommodation, definitely an upgrade on their old 2 star residence. I have not seen any birds back yet but surely just a matter of days now. They are great targets for the camera.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Fulmar's and Falcon's

A walk in the Spring sunshine around the East Kent coastline never bought about the hoped for inbound migrant invasion but the local Fulmar population provided a few photo opportunities with the camera.

A Peregrine Falcon glided by, checking me out as it passed.

The only other bits caught with the camera were a few of the numerous Meadow Pipit's  taking advantage of the coastal path's fence post line, a good stopping point as they went about their daily business.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A Dapper Looking Duck

Last Thursday morning (30th March) I watched from the Reed Bed hide at Stodmarsh as a Drake Garganey flew into the pool and spent the entire morning in the area, although on several occasions it would go missing only to fly back into the pool again later. It gave the occupants of the hide great photo opportunities as it swam past the hide on numerous occasions before settling down to preen in amongst the other Ducks present. 

Click on images for full size.

A rather smart looking Great Crested Grebe also swam into the pool from the main lake giving us superb views as it went about his business. There was a female bird present as well but she kept her distance.

Other bits caught with the camera were a Grey Heron flying over, three Little Grebes and the unusual sight of a Coot flying around the pool, all in front of the Feast hide at the Grove end of the reserve. There was a Little Ringed Plover on the top end of the pool at Harrison's, my first of the year.

After two weeks of searching every nook and crannie on the reserve for a Garganey, one finally found me. Always a great experience to see these rather dapper looking Ducks in all their summer finery.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

When the East wind doth blow !!

What a horrible weekend. Bright sunshine spoilt by a bitterly cold Easterly wind gale that at times was so strong it was a job to stand up in. So I done the sensible thing and on Saturday I went down to Rye harbour. Not the best idea to come up with, Rye being situated on an exposed coast line and i got what I deserved which was nothing. There were plenty of Sandwich Terns on the Ternary pool but when they did alight from their sheltered roost, they flew past the hide at breakneck speed, pushed along by a 50 to 60 mph tail wind. Trying for images was pointless and the camera remained in the bag. I did see a Red Breasted Merganser on the pool along with 6 Med Gulls in their summer finery but soon decided to give up and retreated to the Castle Water hide which being a mile or two in land, offered a bit more shelter. My hoped for Bittern's never materialised but my first Wheatear of the year was seen on the walk in. I also had 2 Ravens and a Peregrine over the Castle and managed to photograph a Long-tailed tit that was in the scrub around the entrance to the hide and a Canada Goose out on the water.

Sunday and although the wind was still present, it was not quite as strong. I had a quick stroll around Westbere early on and found three Firecrest's. 

I ended the morning down the beach at Sandwich Bay. I must be glutton for punishment as there was very little to see or photograph and once again I was exposing myself to an  increasingly strengthening easterly wind. My scant reward was an image of a Skylark sheltering along the grassy dunes of the beach.