Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

** Hoop Hoop Hooray.**

After my second attempt I finally found the HOOPOE. I first went looking for it on Saturday afternoon but no luck,  There was 3 others looking for it but nothing.
Today Pam and I was going shopping and before we did I went to have another look, I got there just before half past two. For some reason I didn't stop at the first gap I went straight to the second one.
There was a young girl near the fence through the second gap hoping to get a few shots of it. I asked her if it had been seen, and she said"No not that I know of".
She left shortly after I arrived, she said that she was going to take a walk further on. So I got settled and it wasn't until then had I realised just how hot the sun was today. I began scanning  the field up and down for ages, and then at 15:00 I found it It was feeding over the far side of the field where there are 2 small tree's, too far for any pictures. I stayed watching the Hoopoe for half an hour.The trouble is when  looking at a really nice bird leaving isn't easy. Hopefully it will stay around, it has been here for quite a while now so why not?
The last time I saw a Hoopoe was at Lenham Heath. on 1/5/2010.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

** Elmley Nature Reserve. 11/4/2014.**

After getting out after a while due to one thing or another Pam took me down to Elmley NR. It was a lovely calm sunny day which was a great bonus. I was hoping to maybe see a Yellow Wagtail, after reading that Phil of www.sharpbynature.blogspot.com had seen a couple, but it wasn't to be. On the track to the car park I saw the usual birds that are seen, 5 Little Egrets was feeding close together.

Once at the car park I  took a look over the wall next to the ladies toilet to see if the Barn  Owl was
showing , now I don't know if it is because they have replaced the old nest box with a new one, perhaps they don't like it, so much,  just don't like these new builds.There is also another box on the tree to the right.
There was no birds showing so I scanned the pools at the bottom  as usual. I saw a good number of Teal and Coots, plus a few Tufted Duck, and Pochard. Some of the Teal was laying up on the waters edge, this is where I saw my bird of the day. I knew that I wasn't going to see anything better well that was the plan. I waited until I was sure before pointing it out to the couple next to me, it was a fraction bigger than a Teal with a  cream/white supercilium on a brownish head that gave it away, I was looking at a male GARGANEY.
I didn't take it too slowly going down to the hide because I wanted to make the most of my time, the little I had. I did see 2 species of butterfly, 1 Small White, and a Small Tortoiseshell.  There was a Mute Swan nesting in the area where one nests every year. I knew there wasn't going to be much to see out on the scrapes but you never know. I definitely knew I was going to see a good number of Black Headed Gulls. I got settled in 'Ken's Corner' as I heard it been called, and started to scan the area. It would have been a peaceful trip if those darn Gulls had shut up. I did try and get a couple of shots of one which I did manage when a couple  flew past.

Of the few Avocet that's there some of the males just wanted  to get it on with the females, others were. Birds tend to behave in certain ways after mating and in the Avocets case when he is finished he does a little run along side of her. The picture below, albeit a little way away,  is just before he mounted her.

After a while 7 Black Tailed Godwits flew in as did 3 Redshank.

The only other waders I saw was Curlew and Lapwing, and Oystercatchers.  From the hide 5 Marsh Harriers was seen 4 females and 1 male, plus 3 Common Buzzards soaring high on the thermals above the 2 wind turbines. Scanning with my scope was very difficult due to the heat haze.
The other species of bird seen from the Wellmarsh Hide was: Cormorant, Greylag Geese Canada Geese, Little Grebe( in various places  the reserve) Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Magpie C/Crow, G/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Reed Bunting.
Other species seen today was pairs of House Sparrows nesting  together in the mult nest box in the car park,  a Pied Wagtail,Starlings, Pheasant. On and under the feeders was Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin Dunnock Greenfinch
 Leaving the car park, as usual there was Lapwing scattered here and there, many close to the track, they must like playing chicken.

There was also a few Redshank about.

My last picture is of one of a few Meadow Pipit scattered about.I couldn't decide which picture to post so I have put both of them on.

Birding on a lovely summers day is great, but it is made even better with the sound of Skylarks trilling,singing  high above. Don't they make you feel good??

As I mentioned at the beginning about my bird of the day, there was never any doubt,
'Bird Of The Day' is  ** GARGANEY,male**

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

** Back In Business With Posting Pics (touch wood) **

After posting about not being able to post any pictures, Warren gave a idea. After emailing him and he mentioned Picasa I thought I would have a look at the link he gave me. I have just spent ages looking every where on here and I seem to have cracked it.
I came across Picasa 3, and after reading about it I decided to download it, and I have put a lot of pics on it, now when I go to insert image at the top of the posting page, I open it and from the upload list I click on "From Picasa web albums". I then find a folder that I have in there, when I click on it all the pics in there appear in the download area, I clicked on the ones I wanted and pressed add selected and they then appeared with the posting.
I hope this makes sense, if it does and it works ok, all I can say is" Thanks Warren for the link.

Monday, 17 March 2014

** Help required.**

I am in need of the assistance of my fellow bloggers. I have just changed my blog lay out and colours, even before I did that I looked at my blog and I found that all my pictures have disappeared, I thought it was just the last few but it turns out to be all of them. Can any one  help me out? Cheers. Ken

Monday, 27 January 2014

** Top Day Dungeness RSPB Reserve. **

After receiving a email from Greenie of  http://www.greenieinthewild.blogspot.co.uk/ informing me that there has been a sighting of my favourite drake bird at Dungeness reserve, that being the beautiful Smew, so I had to  take a trip to see if I could see it, today was that day, 27th January 2014.The weather was not as forcast, it was a chilly but bright sunny day, with no showers.
Once there I popped into the centre to see what was on the board that shows the days sighting, but there wasn't much on it. While sitting and having a quick look on Burrows Pit and talking to Pam a CHIFFCHAFF appeared to the left of the window with a Robin near by.
Before going over to the ARC Pit to look for the male Smew I thought I would see if I could get a glimpse of the Black Throated Diver that had been seen on the New Diggings. I had visions of having to look from the road but for some reason I said to Pam " I am just going to have a scan from the Dennis Hide.
( I am so glad they named a hide after him, Dennis did so much work around the hide, he played a big part in the assembly of the Firth Hide, plus a lot more carpentry work that needed doing, around the reserve. It is such a shame that he was struck down with a illness that gradually ended up taking his life.)
Back to entering the hide, I sat in the corner where you get the best views, and no Greenie It isn't ' Kens Corner'....yet! The first bird I saw was one of the GREAT WHITE EGRETS that are about, feeding along the shore line, then I started looking through the bushes to the New Diggings where the diver had been seen I scanned the water right to left many times, and then I saw a bird that I wasn't expecting to see, it was a male RED CRESTED POCHARD looking resplendent. I carried on scanning the pit and than I saw it, the BLACK THROATED DIVER  but the thing that got me excited was the fact that there was (2) of them. That was some find. I haven't seen one for quite a few years now.
A couple of birders came in and we had a chat and shortly after they pointed out  a female GOOSANDER  flying right towards the centre.
Well I thought that was the end of it, I was on the verge of packing up when another bird caught my eye, not another good bird on the same pit, yes it was, this time it was a BLACK NECKED GREBE. I recognised it straight away, not only by it's small size but  also it's steep forehead and slightly upturned bill. If anyone had told me earlier that day that I was going to see all those lovely species on the one pit I wouldn't have believed them.
On leaving the reserve there was about a dozen or so Tree Sparrow  feeding in the farm house garden.
Like many times I was the only one here at the Hanson Hide. so it was down to me to look for the male Smew. There was nothing different on the water, the best ones being the Goldeneye. I spent a long time scanning the water looking for it, or them but nothing, then my worst fears happened, the door opened and in came not one, not two, not three, but a party of 14. The first thing that went through my head was, well I will leave that to your imagination. The one thing I hate is being surrounded by people.
Well I never did find my male Smew, I did see 3 redheads so at least I did see smew.
Again it was a short visit but it was certainly packed with wonderful bird species.

There are many of the more regular species seen today which I haven't mentioned, you can understand why, but I will list them, just because they are the common species it doesn't mean that they should be left out and not get a mention. Here is the days total list: G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Cormorant, Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black Necked Grebe, , Black Throated Diver, Red Crested Pochard, Smew, Goosander, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveller, Mallard, Wigeon, Pintail, Coot, Moorhen, Marsh Harrier,Lapwing, Jackdaw, C/Crow, Magpie, Robin, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, C/Dove

Today's trip was about seeing the scarcer species of birds.
My Bird of the Day is: the male ** RED CRESTED POCHARD.** (but it was a hard choice to make)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

** 16th January. Short afternoon visit to Elmley NNR.**

Yesterday, Tuesday 16th Jan I fancied going to Elmley National Nature Reserve. Just as I had finished loading the car it started to rain. It went on for a while and I wasn't sure as to go or not, but Pam said "It might not be raining over there." so we went. She was right when we came off of the M2 the rain stopped. The first thing I must say is that the track from the road all the way down to the hide is in very good condition.
Nothing was really seen on the way to the car park, but once there the first thing I did was to look over the wall by the toilets to see the Barn Owl's that seems to have taken up residence in the prior long lease  Little Owl's  home.
As expected the ground and fields on the way to the car park sodden, all the sheep there seem to be pregnant, not far off of dropping, and they wasn't straying far from the track. Who can blame  them.
There was a few of the usual species seen en route, to the hides, mostly LittleEgret, but once we arrived and parked up I soon found out just how wet and muddy it was. Now not being able to wear wellies was going to be a bundle of fun getting to the hide, and having to use crutches was, well you can imagine what it was like. Once in the hide, oh by the way there was only 3 people on the reserve apart from me. I once again sat in *Ken's Corner*. When they moved the Wellmarsh Hide from about 100 yard further along the track, and built the new one on the corner where it is now, me and a couple of friends was a few of the first ones to use it , so, out came the pen and I left my mark in the corner, can't remember the month but it was 2003. I had a feeling that there might be a shortage of birds due to the high water levels, but you never know.
As expected the Marsh Harriers was out hunting, there was a good number of them out and about today, more that I normally see in one short period, except when it is breeding season down Harty Ferry Rd from Capel Fleet to the viewing mound.
I have often seen many Lapwing here, especially when the Harriers  have done a low fly byes, but this time was something I have not seen before, In my estimation the number of Lapwing on the reserve could be any where from 2, 3,4,000, possibly  more.
Many of the Lapwing went up twice and that was  when 3 Harriers came through from different directions, and different heights. When they went up and I watched them though my bins and all I could see was tightly packed flocks of Lapwings, even Pam commented on the huge numbers, and she saw them all from the car.
The number of Marsh Harriers I counted in one scan from left to right was 9. Two of them landed on the ground and even at a distance, and the light not being brilliant I was still able to make out that one had a orange right wing tag and the other bird had a yellow wing tag, the only problem was I couldn't make out the letters and numbers on them, but I might be able to get  more information from the Hawk and Owl Trust.
I was happy with my short trip, as usual, it is enjoyable just sitting in the hide thinking, as I do, about the natural world in all it's forms etc.
There was one bit of bad luck, when I was on my way back to the car, and about 30yds from the gate, as I said earlier it is very very muddy, well I followed what I thought was virtually the same route going but I cocked it up. I took a few wrong steps and my boots sunk in up to the laces and as did my crutches. I had no problem getting out but as I pulled one of my crutches out the suction  took one of the crutch rubber right off,  the think is I didn't find out until I got home. Being dark I took them out of the bag as usual, went to get out, and then I heard "Clunk" metal and concrete. Thank god I have got spare rubbers........
I wasn't going to bother writing about my trip because I didn't think I had much to post, but I thought, well it is better than not posting at all.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

** 6th January 2014 Dungeness RSPB Reserve and Walland Marsh + Halling Year List.**

*** First of all I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.**
( I will try and catch up with your blogs as soon as possible )
It has been a long time since I have been out and about so Pam and I decided to head for Dungeness RSPB Reserve. The weather en route was heavy rain, but when we got to J9 on the M20 it was the complete opposite, dry  roads and sunshine. The trip there was via Walland Marsh. I was expecting the road to be a bit muddy but it was not.
 I had already got my year list of to a start with birds seen in Halling, which I will list at the bottom, beneath this blog.
Many of the species seen today was already on the list, so it was now a matter of adding as many as possible. All species seen on the marsh will be listed at the end. I am only going to write about what I take to be the better species. First stop was to see the TREE SPARROWS on the feeders where they are always seen.
Moving on scanning the sodden fields looking for something different paid of, one of the fields that was full of corvids, mainly Rooks had some different birds feeding at the edge of a flooded area, they was FIELDFARE, I counted 11. It was then a matter of scanning the fields looking for the Bewick swans that had been seen. I did put out a email on the   kent-birders@googlegroups.com  to see if I could get a idea as to where they had been seen, I did get a reply so we made my way there. When we got to a T junction it was a matter of left or right, we went left because there was some swans visible at the far end of the field. As we got nearer it was obvious that it was the BEWICK SWANS due to the amount. After parking up it was out with  the scope and then  I started to have a count, my estimation was circa 38, made all the better with the sunshine on them. We left here and  headed for Scotney Pits.
The total species seen on Walland Marsh was: H/Gull, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Mallard, Pheasant, Moorhen, C/Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Mute Swan, Bewick Swan, H/Sparrow, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird.

SCOTNEY GRAVEL PITS: As we neared Scotney Pits the wind got up and the sun went in. I had intended to get my scope out but due to the weather that was a no no. Most of the birds was in or heading for the small bays. I had hoped to look for the Long Tailed Duck that had been reported but I soon forgot about that. Most of the wildfowl was the same as seen at Dungeness reserve. There was a huge number of Coots out of the water, my estimate was about 40+. Just before we left I noticed a gaggle of geese grazing, there was three species , the first was a couple of Canada Geese, the second was one that I have seen there before but in smaller numbers, they was BARNACLE GEESE, circa 39. Mixed in with them was 5 EMPEROR GEESE. I was lucky to see them because while I was counted the Barnacle's they took to the air, where they came from, god knows but it was nice to see them.

DUNGENESS RSPB RESERVE: as pulled into the car park it was obvious that people had had second thoughts about going out due to the weather, because the car park was virtually empty. I called into the centre to see what had been reported. there was a few good species about so they was the ones on my hit list. My first port of call was the Makepiece Hide. I didn't have to wait long too see the one of the species I wanted to see, the bird in question was 3 male and 1 GOOSANDER. They was quite close, but not close enough for my camera.They made their was down towards Firth Hide. Just as I was about to leave when  a huge skein of Greylag Geese, circa 117, came from the far side of the reserve and landed in the middle of Burrows Pit.
I was the only person in both the Makepeace, and Firth hides, and as we entered the car park there was only 6 cars there, 1 was the reserves motor, 2 was volunteers cars, and the other and as for the other 3, well ??
The sun was now shining, even though it was still windy. My final stop was the ARC pit, Hanson Hide. As we pulled into this car park, we was alone. It seemed as if I had the whole reserve to myself today, I met no body and saw anybody. In the hide I sat in what some know as Ken's Corner. As expected the islands are well under water. After about 30 minutes the sun was shining brightly and water was calm, the wind had dropped. The water in front of the hide windows was high and there was Coots and Tufted Duck so close, and trust me I left the camera in the car. if I had brought it I would have been able to take some shots of one particular Coot taking a fancy to a Bulrush/Reed Mace. It kept coming over to it, eyeing it up then pecking at the bottom of it trying to shake off some of the last remaining seed  tops, it was quite successful, then it did something that I found amusing, it eyed it up again stood below it and jumped out of the water and grabbed some that way.
After a good scan around I spotted my favourite duck, SMEW, albeit redheads (3) not the beautiful drake which I love, to me looks like a white porcelain figure that has been dropped and stuck back together with a couple of bits missing,  does that sound weird, no not to me. There was a good number of Goldeneye's around, I counted 4 male, 8 female.  A female Marsh Harrier made a few sorties across the pit which drove most of the wildfowl into the far edges of the water.  I decided to call it a day, and a good one at that, but just as I stood up a GREAT WHITE EGRET made a appearance out of the reeds on the far side.
Hopefully that will give me the incentive to try and get out a bit more often, after all I love winter birding.
Total species seen at Dungeness today was as follows: G/B/B/Gull...L/B/B/Gull...Herring Gull...Common Gull...B/H/Gull...G/C/Grebe...Great White Egret...Greylags...Mallard...Gadwall...
Teal...Shoveler...Pochard...Tufted Duck...Wigeon...Pintail...Goldeneye...Smew...Goosander...
Coot...Moorhen...Mute Swan...Cormorant...Kestrel...Marsh Harrier...C/Crow...Jackdaw...Magpie...
W/Pigeon...Chaffinch...Great  Tit...Robin.

My Bird of the day is the dainty ** SMEW.**
Little Egret...Dabchick...Mallard...Teal...Cormorant...Common Sandpiper...Lapwing...Blue Tit...Great Tit...Goldfinch...Greenfinch...Chaffinch...Starling...Robin...Blackbird...Dunnock...W/Pigeon...C/Dove...B/H/Gull...Common Gull...Herring Gull...C/Crow...Magpie...Common Buzzard...Great Spotted Woodpecker...h/Sparrow...L/T/Tit...Mistle Thrush...Moorhen...Pheasant...Pied Wagtail...Reed Bunting.
My year list so far stands at 57