Tuesday, 26 November 2019

A New Lorry Tick.

When I know my work necessitates a visit to the Brett concrete plant in the Ramsgate harbour complex, I always take a camera as I often encounter the three Fox cubs that are resident there. After I loaded my lorry I had a scout around the plant looking for any sign of the cubs with no luck but they are still about as I get reports from the Brett staff who feed them every morning when arriving to start their shift. Whilst looking, I came across a solitary Snow Bunting feeding along a path by the sea defence rocks. Armed with my camera, I set about getting a few images, once again ensuring I was late with my delivery, not a too unusual trait when I visit this site. 

I counted at least 3 Black Redstarts around the complex, one a smart looking male, but dressed in a green Hi Vis coat (a statutory requirement when visiting this site) and also with time being a factor, I had no chance of getting close enough to get any images. 
Still, a good way to start a working day.

Monday, 11 November 2019

A St Margaret's Great Grey.

A couple of visits this week to an area known as the Freedown on the Bockhill estate at St Margaret's at Cliffe to see and photograph the Great Grey Shrike that has taken up temporary residency there. Easily seen on each visit, the beauty of this species is they like to sit up on top of the bushes, making them easily visible to anybody watching. On the first visit (5th) I was able to get a few images, waiting behind the hedgerow that lined the footpath to the side of the meadow known as the "Freedown" for the Shrike to land on a nearby bush. At first the weather was grey and dismal but it gradually improved throughout my stay.

The weather as mentioned slowly improved and the bird landed on one of the smaller bushes giving a different backdrop, the green of the field behind the Freedown an improvement from the pale grey sky.

The weather forecast for the 6th was for sunshine throughout the afternoon at St Margaret's so with my work load finished by late morning, I returned and was able to photograph the Shrike as it continually took off from the various bush tops, chasing and catching wasps under a cloudless blue sky.

Other birds of note were Yellowhammer, a Ringtail Harrier that caught me unawares, flying low over the freedown with 2 Crows giving chase and disappearing over the farm to the south, 2 Ravens along the cliff top, a Peregrine and a couple of Kestrels, one in range of the camera.

A great couple of visits and as always, great to catch up with various Kent birders and photographers whom all enjoyed superb views of the Shrike.

A few more Great Grey Shrike images,

On Sunday, (10th) a walk around the harbour at Ramsgate where I bumped into Steve Ray and we both had quite close views of a Red Throated Diver that has been there for a couple of days. Although looking nowhere near as good as it did six months ago, it was a photo opportunity too good to miss. I must make the effort and try to get images of these Divers in the Spring when they are dressed in their best suits.

Red Throated Diver

I think this is what they mean when they say "showing well"

All in all, not a bad week.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Crest's to Brighten a Gloomy Weekend

Last weekend and after a fairly disappointing World Cup Final Rugby result and the weather to match, Sunday (3rd) produced a better day with the gale force winds abating overnight and even the sun put in an appearance, albeit far too briefly. With nothing planned, I took a walk around the lanes of Westbere and a circuit of the gravel pits down to the river Stour and back. Goldcrests were numerous in numbers, a few posing for the camera.

Especially pleasing and always great to photograph were the Firecrests. I counted at least 6 birds on my walk but getting photos of these was a little more tricky. They are constantly on the move and never remained out in the open for more than a few seconds. 

Crests, cracking birds and so tiny.