Saturday, 29 June 2019

Rye Harbour and other bits.

I joined Tim Gutsell and Andy Hills for a mid month trip to the reserve at Rye harbour, hoping to see and photograph the Terns that arrive there for the breeding season. Little Terns seemed quite numerous (which is good news) and from a safe distance from the fenced off area where they are nesting along the beach, we were able to catch them as they flew over out to sea and then returning with their catch.

The opposite could be said for the Sandwich Terns. In previous years these have been there in their hundreds but we only saw a few birds, I do not know if they just have not returned this year or if they have been and gone already but it seems too early for this to be the case.

I never bothered with the Common Terns of which there were plenty, as these are easy to get locally at Stodmarsh and Grove Ferry. Plenty of Oyster-catchers and Avocets breeding but apart from a few ringed Plovers, waders were in short supply. Several Wheatears were seen on various fence posts but too shy for the camera but not so with the Skylarks, again plentiful in numbers.

All in all a slightly disappointing visit to Rye harbour.

Other bits seen and photographed over the past couple of weeks, a pair of hunting Barn Owls,

 a Cuckoo covered in Blossom in one of the trees behind the viewing ramp at Grove Ferry.

Common Terns were up and down the Lampern Wall at Stodmarsh as were a few Grey Herons, but not the reported Purple that was hoped for.

A pair of juvenile Bearded Tits were seen in the reed bed whilst photographing the Terns, a welcome site at Stodmarsh.

and also from the Reed Bed hide another Grey Heron and Common Tern, this time the Tern sat on a post in front of the hide.

Plenty of Bittern activity seen, although the birds were always distant but nice to see them doing well on the reserve.

Sunday, 23 June 2019


Up until now, I have not had too many opportunities to photograph Jay's, actually, I cannot think of any so with the help of a friend, (he knows who he is and a big thank you for an invite to his set up) I was able to get a few images of at least three different birds coming down onto perches. A bonus was being hidden in a hide and we were able to click away from just a few metres, the birds completely oblivious to our presence.

It's strange that these birds cause as much carnage in our hedgerows as the hated Magpie but because they are a lot easier on the eye they seem to escape the stigma attached to Magpies.

Still, evil or not, they make great subjects for the camera, especially when just a few metres from the camera.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, 10 June 2019

The Ramsgate Port Foxes

After lugging the 500mm lens and tripod around Thursley Common a few weeks ago, weighted down like a pack horse, I decided to cash in the lens and go back to the 400mm f4 DO IS II lens (i think the decision to change was already made before Thursley) a lens that I owned before buying the 500mm. (a quarter of the size and a lot lot lighter) It means I will lose 100 mm of focal length but I will just have to hope my subject comes a bit closer. The trade off in focal length for a small lightweight lens with more portability seems worth it at this moment but time will tell.  I found a 400mm DO in "as new" condition, with a warranty, being sold by MPB in Brighton and traded in my 500mm lens for a straight swap with them taking care of all the fully insured courier charges both ways. It arrived on the 4th June and I took it to work with me the next day as I was due to visit the Brett concrete plant in the Ramsgate port and I knew it would give me a chance to make sure the lens was all okay. After getting loaded I walked around the back of the plant where I knew a pair of Foxes had a den and immediately a young Fox cub looked out rather inquisitively. 

He eventually ventured out and settled down on one of the sea defence rocks to soak up the sun.

I also noticed two pairs of Black Redstarts, both pairs busy feeding chicks, watching them back and forward to hidden nest sites deep within the sea defence rocks that line the outer perimeter of the port.

Time flew past, it always does when you are enjoying yourself, although not so for my customer, receiving his concrete over an hour late.

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