Wednesday, 31 January 2018

A Single Waxwing Invasion.

The annual hoped for Waxwing invasion never materialised in Kent this winter but strangely, a single bird decided to park up for a couple of weeks to gorge on the abundant berries alongside the public footpath that runs adjacent to the Eastern perimeter of the North Foreland golf course at Kingsgate. I decided to pay it a visit last Thursday (25th) and as soon as I walked up the footpath, the Waxwing could be seen sitting in the top of a tree overlooking the heavily laden berry bushes. Unlike previous encounters with this species, it was very hard to get the bird out in the open and free from twigs and surrounding clutter but it was very obliging and although always keeping an eye on the few togs and bird watchers there, it never seemed to mind our close proximity. I managed a few images but mostly in amongst the vegetation where the bird was feeding.

After spending a couple of hours with the Waxwing, joined by Steve Ray, we both decided to nip down to the harbour at Ramsgate and check on the now long staying 1st winter Iceland Gull. A loaf of bread that Steve had to hand done the trick and it was not long before the bird appeared in amongst the rest of the hungry local harbour Gull population. The bird actually put on a bit of a show for us, allowing for a few more images.

I could not be bothered to look for anything else (I don't think there was much else about) but on the way out by the tunnel, both Steve and I stopped to grab a few Fulmar shots to end the session. All in all not a bad day out, Waxwings are always memorable, even if the invasion is only a solitary bird.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Fulmar's....Masters of aerial maneuverability (that’s a mouth full)

I had my first outing of the year on Saturday morning (13th) a short stroll along the seafront from the tunnel at Ramsgate and down to the harbour and out on the arm to the Harbour Lights cafe. Having been laid up in bed for nearly three weeks with a particularly nasty bout of Flu, proper Flu and not the usual man flu that I will never complain about again, it was good to be back out in the fresh air again. The day started promisingly with some early morning sun and even blue skies were to be enjoyed. The incoming tide had pushed all the waders to drier roosting spots so not a lot to be seen along the beach front but I did spend half an hour with the Fulmars that are now back and nest building along the cliff face. Graceful in flight and amazing to watch as they patrol back and forth along the cliff top.

I had just finished photographing the Fulmars and as I got to the car a pair of Raven's flew South along the cliff top towards the tunnel. My second Raven sighting at Ramsgate that week, having stopped whilst at work a few days earlier to chat with Alan Ashdown and a single bird seen by the both of us again flying South along the cliff top.
I actually saw a few decent birds during the morning, a Peregrine was seen high over the harbour, a skein of Brent Geese flew North out to sea past the harbour entrance and a distant Red Breasted Merganser was picked up between the harbour wall and the old ferry terminal. The normal Turnstones and Rock Pipits were seen as I walked out towards the harbour lights cafe but the cloud and drizzle had drifted in and by then it was a rather dismal grey end to my walk. I did manage a few images of a pair of Snow Buntings that were out on the end of the arm, looking as miserable as the weather now was.

A whole loaf of bread never tempted the 1st winter Iceland Gull into showing, probably too fat to get off the ground after an ever abundant supply of Kingsmill and Hovis, leaving the local Herring Gulls to make short work of my offerings. A pair of Kingfisher sightings in the inner basin, either 2 birds or the same bird seen twice as it/they darted from one fishing spot to another and a Little Grebe was also seen. On the way back to where I parked the car by the old cafe along the sea front, a female Black Redstart was messing around by the old ferry terminal perimeter. All in all a good blow out after being cooped up in doors for over 3 weeks.