Bempton Cliffs.

Bempton Cliffs.

Friday, 6 January 2017

** Thursday & Friday 5th/6th Jan. Garden Birdwatching.**

I have spent the last 2 days doing a bit of garden birding, mainly because I haven't been able to get out and about yet.
DAY 1: Yesterday turned out to be a good day, apart from the usual species, 4 others dropped in to feed, the first was one I expected to see on new years day and that was a Greenfinch,the next one was a SONG THRUSH, then I had my first BLACKCAP, a male drop in to feed on the apples. The last one for yesterday     was a bird that I have only ever had visit when the weather has been bad, and that is a GREY WAGTAIL. No sooner had it landed when it made it's way over to the lumps of fat balls on the ground, after it's first visit it came back most of the afternoon. The other birds for that day was as follows: Blackbird, Starling, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, C/Dove W/Pigeon, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Magpie.
My first Bird Of The Day is the ** GREY WAGTAIL.**
DAY 2: Today started well, while waiting for the kettle to boil I looked out the window and I saw one bird on the hanging feeder, straight away I knew it wasn't a sparrow, it was a male REED BUNTING, the continue of it's wagging tail  gave it away, so if I saw nothing else different I was happy to add another one to my years list. Next job straight after coffee was to top up bird baths and then  the feeders, I should have done it the night before but I forgot. As yesterday and most other days the usual visitors, until 10:40 I had my first PIED WAGTAIL of the year drop in to feed on the same food as the grey wagtail did the day before, and to my surprise I turned to Pam and said " The GREY WAGTAIL is back". I couldn't believe, 2 wagtails feeding in my garden at the same time.
I spent more time watching then I intended to, sometimes it is hard to tear oneself away. I thew some old soaked bread out on the grass after lunch and while watching I saw a few 3 Black Headed Gulls over head, but they didn't want to drop in for any bread, all they did was to circle over head, until later in the afternoon while watching the Grey Wagtail again, which I hope will come back again tomorrow, one brave BLACK HEADED GULL decided to swoop down grab a slice of bread and fly off, that was the last I saw of them, but that wasn't the only birds with their eye on it, I have had magpies in the garden feeding but not a CARRION CROW, I have had them sitting in the tree's before and flying over low but not come in for food, it visited twice all told.
Now for today's Bird Of The Day, that is going to be the CARRION CROW, for coming to feed in my garden.

Monday, 2 January 2017

** New Years Birding. Lists Starting.**

So another year goes by, and a new years listing begins. I normally like to go further out than Halling on the first day of the year, but this time I decided against it. Considering how many others would be out doing the same thing, list making I have decided to go a few day later, but it will have to be soon, there are some good birds at Dungeness at the moment, so I thought I would start from home then wander around Halling to see what was about.
I watched from the kitchen window for quite a while from early morning and as I expected the regulars came in to feed apart from a PIED WAGTAIL which is a rare visitor for me. the other species that visits on and off is LONG TAILED TITS but I don't see as many as 11 at once. The other birds was: Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, C/Dove, Wood Pigeon, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, H/Sparrow, Starling, Robin, fly overs was: B/H/Gull, C/Crow, Magpie.
I left home on my walk at about 11am, the weather wasn't brilliant, dull with threats of rain. My first stop had to be to feed Bailey in the paddock around the corner, she loves her apples. I then made my way to the river, nothing different was seen on the way. Once there I saw the usual, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Mallard, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Redshank, C/Crow. After a longish rest I made my way around to Marsh Road, to get there I have to go through a large grassed area by the play ground, and no I didn't stop at the swings. There was quite a bit of activity on the grass, first of all a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER  flew across in front of me, then the was 3 SONG THRUSH'S picking at food, and they was not alone, spread out there was many blackbirds with them I don't think I have ever seen so many at  one time.I didn't stop anywhere else on the way, well it wasn't far down the road to the 5 bar gate at the cattle field.
Once I was there I got myself settled and started scanning around, firstly looking for the winter thrush's that I had seen recently, it didn't take me long, there are a lot of berry bushes and tree's over to the right. I didn't see a great number this time, but there was a small gathering of FIELDFARE and REDWING. I was pleased with that. At this point it started spitting, I was just about to find a tree to stand under when something else caught my eye along with the  many Moorhen that I usually see, it was SNIPE. Now on my last visit I saw a few together but I wasn't sure I was seeing what I was. There was Snipe as far out as the Moorhen feeding, and I started counting them and from there, right back to the wet boggy area under the berry tree's there was a total of 11. Now I had to count them again and I wasn't imaging it. for a moment I was lost for words.
I took my flask of single malt with me as I do at this time of year and if I ever needed a sip it was now.
The light rain stopped and after the Snipe I could start looking around the rest of the field. The Teal was doing what they do and a something else caught my eye, 6 wildfowl circled around and dropped in at the back of the field. I haven't see these for a few years here and that was on the river, they was GADWALL, 4 male, 2 female.I thought to my self "I am glad I came out".  I had had a good day and I had almost had enough, hurting by now, but I wanted to stay to see if the 2 other species turned up, I have seen them on each occasion lately so I had to hang on so I squatted on the gate the best I could, it started spitting again but  it is surprising how quickly you can ignore something, as I hoped the GREY WAGTAIL arrived feeding in the same area as a Pied Wagtail, on the sodden remains of the straw bales, I was able to see if it was male of female I didn't get that good a view, but hey, I saw it. Well I might have over done it but it was worth it, especially when a MEADOW PIPIT landed in the field at the top of Marsh Road. A couple of other species that I saw on my way back that never came in to feed in my garden was Greenfinch and Dunnock.
Well I wasn't feeling too good when I got home I had been out longer than normal, but boy was it worth it, finding what I did yesterday meant more to me finding them on my local patch then all the others that I would have seen else where, what I saw here I may not see again.
I normally pick a "Bird of the Day". I have decided to go for quantity not looks, and that honour has to go the **SNIPE.**.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

** Marsh Road, Halling, Wednesday 14/12/2016. **

Yesterday, Wednesday 14th December I took a stroll down to Marsh Road The cattle have been taken out of their field and all of the straw bales have turned to mush and with the amount of standing water that there is has made it ideal for the birds. I stood where I normally do, by the metal gate. The birds that first caught my eye was Moorhen, the was a good number spread out I counted 22. There was the usual Mallards knocking about, but what I was surprised to see was 11 TEAL, this is a bird that I see very rarely, normally one or two on the river, as long as the water level stays as it is now I can't see them leaving for a while. Along 2 sides of the field is a good number of large berry bushes, which are ideal for winter thrushes, and I wasn't disappointed, what first caught my eye was a flock of birds on the ground and after a close scan through them I saw that they was Starling, FIELDFARE and REDWING. There was more of thrushes mixed in with the Starlings than I realised. I kept my eye on them on and off while checking out the rest of the field to see what might be about, There was the usual Pied Wagtail picking about in the straw, but what I didn't expect to see was a GREY WAGTAIL. This a bird that I have very rarely seen in Halling, the last one I saw was in my back garden a couple of winters ago after a heavy snow fall.
When I went back to check out the winter thrushes they was in one of the bushes feeding along with a Mistle Thrush and a couple of Blackbirds. While looking in this area a couple more Moorhens flew in and as they landed at the far edge of the field something caught my eye, it was way back just visible, It was a bird that I haven't seen here before, it was a SNIPE but it didn't hang aroud for long, and finally a Kestrel made a brief appearance hunting in the adjoining field.
There was another good bird feeding in this field which I often see and that is a LITTLE EGRET. The other birds in this area was a male Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Magpie C/Dove, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Robin,House Sparrow.
As I made my way back up Marsh Road a small flock of Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits was flittering about in the tree tops.
I have to pick a Bird Of The day after seeing so many good birds, but there is really only one bird and that is the ** SNIPE.**

Friday, 9 December 2016

** 3 Waxwings At Strood This Lunchtime.**

On the way to doing my mum's shopping today. I took a detour to Strood to see if the Waxwings was showing. I did go to look yesterday but I dipped out.  I arrived at around 12:40. I started looking in the berry bushes/tree's when I neared the top of Bligh Way. Once I  reached The Bounty pub I saw a guy with his camera sitting on the wall. I spoke with him and he told me that  they had been feeding on the berries at the junction of the pub and Albatross Avenue opposite, but he hadn't seen them because he hadn't been there long.
He knew who I was, which surprised me, he remembered me from the time when there was Hawfinches in the churchyard at East Malling. His name is Graham Nicholls. Nice meeting you Graham. I was coming back along Albatross Avenue when I saw him looking up into a tree, and at the top was the 3 WAXWINGS. I was expecting to have to wait a while but I am glad I didn't have to. They did fly over the road to feed on the yellow berries, but they kept going back to the tree opposite. I did try and take a few pictures of them but none of them was very good, I cannot take pics of birds in the top of tree's. I might have been late doing my mum's shopping, but it was worth it. There is plenty of food in that area for them so  hopefully they will hang about long enough to give other people a chance to see them.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

** Dungeness RSPB Reserve.**

I haven't been to Dungeness for quite a while so it was about time I did, and I couldn't have picked a better day, the weather was lovely, sunny, and just a little breeze. I arrived at  about 12.15 and we to the Firth Hide. It is nice to see the water level is pretty low, with some good sandy beach's out front.  There was good views of 3 Black Tailed Godwits surrounded by lots of Teal. There was many of the usual wildfowl that one would expect to see,  and it is nice to see the Pintails increasing, the males look stunning when the sun is on them. There was 2 other wader species out in front and they was Lapwing and a single Avocet. The birds at the far side went up occasionally when a Marsh Harrier did a few fly byes.
After a while of scanning the birds I came across a female  GOOSANDER which was shortly followed be a female GOLDENEYE. Out of all the G/W/Egrets around I didn't see any. The other  species of birds seen was as follows: Little Egret. Grey Heron. Cormorant. G/B/B/Gull. L/B/B/Gull. B/H/Gull. Common Gull. Mallard. Shoveller. Shellduck. Tufted Duck. Pochard. Gadwall. Teal. Pintail. Wigeon. Mute Swan. Coot. Moorhen. Pied Wagtail. Starling. C/Crow.
I then decided to go across the road to the ARC Pit, but when I got to the track a  short way up from the farm house  I pulled over where  couple of cars was at, they was scanning the water in hope of seeing the RING NECKED DUCK that had been reported being there.....somewhere!
My stop was not in vane, at the far end of the field where all the cows were at was the CATTLE EGRET . I was happy with that, I would have preferred the other one but hey still made my day. Just before I left Mike Hook came along and said "Hi". Nice seeing you again, been a while. The other birds in the fields was: Canada Geese, Greylag's, Wigeon.
I did go over road after a while I thought there might be a few more there than there was. The car park was empty apart from a couple, and one of those was just getting ready to go. Once in the hide after chatting to a lady we heard the squeal of a Water Rail, and it sounded close by. After a while of watching the reeds out of the side window we didn't see 1....we saw 2 WATER RAILS together. That is the closest views I have had of one, not only was I excited, I was also annoyed, I had left the camera in the car. I never expected to see something so close, I really should know better shouldn't I ???
Time was getting on which gave me just enough time for a couple of scans, and I am glad I did. About three quarters of the way out from the hide was a BLACK NECKED GREBE. That was the icing on the cake, nice weather, great birds, and a bag of chips on the way home, well that was the plan, but the chippy was so busy I decided against it. We drove through the lanes back to Lydd where we unexpectedly saw a Common Buzzard sitting on the ploughed field.
 So it is about time I started to pick a ** Bird of the Day again. Today I am choosing the ** 2 WATER RAILS. **

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

** Knowle Park. 01/11/2016. **

I was a bit late with my yearly visit to Knowle Park, and weather-wise, chilly and misty. I picked the worse day of this week.  I didn't expect it to be very busy, but I was wrong. Pam and I went to restaurant before I went for a stroll to see what was around. I did see plenty of female Fallow Deer, but most of them was quite a way off.
After a short time, as I was walking near the road a stag crossed the road a little way down from me, and it was not in much of a hurry, it went into a clearing and settled down in a dip which is surrounded by about 8 tree's. I slowly crept up to it keeping a tree between me and him. The pictures in this post are not that good, I seem to  be having problems with settings, I played about with them to get a few photo's, plus apart from that the old arthritis in my fingers doesn't help with steadiness.
The stag seemed to be very happy where it was, and it didn't seem too bothered with me being around. I took plenty of pictures moving around the tree's trying to get one from different angles,

As I wandered off down towards the ferns there was a small herd of does. I slowly moved towards them but they heard me when I trod on a twig and started to move away.
I knew I wasn't going to get any more shots here so I started to make my way back to the car. About half way back I startled a young white hart stag


When I was finally back I came across a couple of old tree stumps, so I decided to take a picture of them

Hopefully I will get back into the swing of blogging again.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

** Oare Marsh In Extreme Heat **

It has been a long time since I posted on my blog. I have been going out at times, but only for short periods. I haven't be able to take any pictures and I won't be able to  because my telephoto  lens broke and I cannot afford to get a replacement, so my blog will have to go pictureless for now.
Today Pam had a hospital appointment at 9am, so that's why we went there. I was expecting it to be hot today but not at this time of the morning.
We arrived  before mid day, and the temperature was hitting 31C. I was beginning to regret going.  At the East Flood the first thing I noticed was just how much drier it has got, there is so much mud showing. In the shallows was 100's of Black Tailed Godwits, not to be out done there  was a high number of Ringed Plover on the mud, and Golden Plover. There was 4 Grey Heron spread out on the East Flood, 2 of them would have made good photo's, they was sitting on the top of 2 large grass covered mounds, none of them was interested in feeding, along with all the the other birds the heat was just too much for them, the Herons was gulating more than I have ever seen before.
I had this bright idea  about getting out of the sun, so I went to the hide. It was't too bad when I settled down and then it started getting warmer and warmer, I stuck it for as long as possible, I finally had to concede to the heat. I did manage to make bit of a list. I am glad I got it done when I did because just as I was packing up I heard the sound of a helicopter and it was getting closer. It turned out to be a police chopper. Apparently someone from the  Oare area had disappeared, I am not sure when this happened, but the police chopper got closer and closer, it went up and down the creek,  then it turned and went over the hide and around and over the reserve, there wasn't bird that didn't take to flight, this happened twice then it moved on, there was also a police dinghy patrolling the Swale. When we left the temperature was now 32.5c
I cannot pick a bird of the day, the only winner today was the sun!