Thursday, 14 April 2016

** A Sunny Trip To Dungeness RSPB Reserve.**

We woke up to lovely sunny day today, and at about 11.30 I asked Pam if she fancied a trip to Dungeness reserve so that I could do a bit of birding, not feeling that great she said she would, bless her. As soon as we started off the temperature was at 15c,  I had a feeling that I wasn't going to need my fleece, and I was right.
From the Visitors Centre I went to the Firth Hide, because I was told that there was a lovely little bird out in front of the hide. I set up my scope , which today I had it on my hide clamp because it was lighter, easier on my shoulder, and it didn't take 5 minutes to see it. The bird in question is a BLACK NECKED GREBE in full breeding plumage, black neck, golden ear tufts, and red eye. Top bird.
Apart from the usual species of bird seen the other species I saw was: LINNET, CETTI'S WARBLER, SEDGE WARBLER, CHIFFCHAFF, REED BUNTING.
From here it was over the road for a hour at the ARC Pit, the temperature was still about 16c, and no wind. On the way out along the track was a small flock of Linnets.
 I thought there might be a few in the hide because there was a couple of cars in the car park, but it was all mine. As usual I sat in Ken's corner. I left my mark there just over 11 years ago,I thought someone would have  scrubbed it out by now, but it is still going strong.
Hopefully it will be there for a long time to come.As soon as I opened the window I heard the squeal of a Water Rail.
Again the birds there was as over the road. There was a good number of Great Crested Grebes partnered up and displaying. It was getting close to packing up time when I saw 9 birds having a wash and brush up, and after a short time they all went up and started feeding from the water's surface, they was COMMON TERNS. It is possible that they have just arrived back from their winter holiday in Africa.
Total list of birds seen: Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Black Necked Grebe, G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Common Tern, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Shoveller, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon (2 at Denge Marsh) Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, C/Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, C/Dove, W/Pigeon, Blackbird, Starling, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Great Tit, Chaffinch, House Sparrow.
The camera did get another outing,but no luck today.

My "Bird Of The Day" can only be the  ** BLACK NECKED GREBE.**

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

** A Run Out To Leysdown**

Pam and I are are a lot better, my problem isn't  as bad as Pamela's, was, she has virtually recovered, and I am going to have physiotherapy for my shoulder. After a long time Pam said that she wanted to get out for a drive so we went to Leysdown. This wasn't a birding outing, but we did have a drive down Harty Ferry Rd. The first thing we saw was a lot of cuddly baby lambs, then as we rounded the bend at the bottom along by the large dirt mound on the right was 2 RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE, my first of the year. The pictures aren't that good as the sun was in front of me. It has been a long time since I posted any pics with a blog that I am not sure about the settings I am using. I usually use aperture priority, I suppose it is back to trial and error.
From here we drove down to the viewing mound to turn around, as we pulled in this is what we saw in the ditch on the left.
Like many fly tippers is it really too much trouble to dispose of  their crap like decent people do, it just goes to show what scum bags there are out there. IF they feel they must do it, they could at least
leave it on the side of the road so that it can be collected easily. Is this what it has come down to now, virtually everywhere you go to now it can be found. Jokingly, is that it annoyed me because there wasn't anything that was of use to me, even if there was, how was I going to get it......typical.
On the way back was half a dozen Reed Bunting, 4 male, 2 female, then to my surprise I saw a bird that  I was very happy to see and that was a male WHEATEAR. I managed to get a couple of pictures of it, but not being that close wasn't easy, after cropping it  etc on here it didn't turn  out as good as I hoped it would, still it a record shot for me.

This Wheatear was half way up the hill going towards the main road, on the right where the five bar gate is among lots of wood, there is a tall metal pole there.
The other birds worth looking at was 4 Marsh Harrier on the thermals and another being mobbed by a Common Buzzard.
Here is a few random pictures that I took earlier this year that I didn't post.
This is the old Sheppey crossing that seem to take for ages to come down.
Couple of Starling shots.
And finally a poor attempt at a male Marsh Harrier in flight. I admire people who can get pictures of birds in flight.

Bird Of The Day is easy, seeing as I wasn't there long enough to have a good look around, I can only go for the ** WHEATEAR.**

Thursday, 24 March 2016

** Haven't Given Up Blogging.Shoulder Injury The Reason .**

Hi to all you bloggers out there. I have not posted for quite a while now, but I have been reading what you have all been up to, even if I haven't left a comment.
The reason is, because since my last post I have damaged my right shoulder, which has been giving me a lot of pain, another one to add to the list, but I have been told that this problem should/will get better but it could take a while. It is worse when walking, the pressure that is transferred from shoulder through the crutches is, how shall I put this, "NOT NICE".
Pamela  as also been very ill over the last two weeks. I was going to write  here what was wrong, but I thought twice about it, this is not the  place, then I had a thought, if it makes a person feel better, maybe they have nobody to talk to about it, who is to say they shouldn't, after all aren't we all part  of this living world?

Sunday, 31 January 2016

** RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 **

Yesterday lunchtime, Saturday 30th January, I did my 1 hour RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, and I couldn't have picked a better day, weatherwise, bright and sunny.
Settling down at the kitchen window I recorder the following:
JAY  = 1.
ROBIN = 1.
HOUSE SPARROW = 24 ( daily count is always between 20 - 35)

Thursday, 21 January 2016

** Oare Marsh reserve with a nice surprise**

I spent a couple of hours at Oare marsh reserve this afternoon, and the trip was well worth it,. Shortly after settling in the East Scrape Hide a guy taking pictures showed me a couple of pictures of a bird that he had just seen, but he wasn't sure. He told me that this bird was still sitting on a mound not far from the hide. I had a look and to my surprise it was a WHINCHAT. I have seen the odd early arrival before but never as early as this. There was 2 other birds that arrived on the grassy area out in front, and was a maleSTONECHAT, and a Green Woodpecker. When I left home the temperature was 1c but it didn't take long to rise to 6.5c and sunny. There wasn't much in the way of waders because the water level is quite high, but a couple of species did turn up, Black Tailed Godwit,Ruff, and Lapwing, all of the other birds was mainly  wildfowl.
There was some Brent Geese flying west with a few Cormorants bringing up the rear. Raptorwise, there was plenty of Marsh Harriers out and about on the other side of the swale, plus 3 Common Buzzards who were hanging around together, only occasionally drifting apart.
I stayed until about 3.30pm in the hope of seeing a bird that normally makes a appearance around this time and it did, the BARN OWL, it was lovely watching it quarter the reeds, especially with the sun on it, so I went home happy with what I did seen in the time I was there.
The complete list of birds seen was as follows: G/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, B/H/ Gull, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Brent Geese, Dabchick, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Shelduck, Shoveller, Whinchat, Stonechat, Green Woodpecker, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Ruff, Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwit. C/Crow, Magpie, W/Pigeon.
 My "Bird of the Day" is the  **WHINCHAT.**

Thursday, 7 January 2016

**Wednesday,6th Jan 2016. Scotney Pits & Dungeness RSPB Reserve.**

I needed to get my years bird list up and running, so I put my trust in the weather girl on Tuesday night who said it was going to be a nice day, how right she was.
Scotney pits was my first stop because I wanted to get the BARNACLE GEESE on the list. What I didn't know, was there was some even better bird species there, one being in my top 5 birds, and that was a male SMEW with a female in tow. 3 birders was leaving as I arrived, and they told me that there was TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE in with the Greylags which they hadn't found, then just another birder pulled up I found it. Talk about a needle in a haystack, but after a bit of scanning it was evidently clear that was it, slightly smaller darker neck and head, and the bill being smaller which is black and orange.
It didn't end there, I saw a solitary BRENT GOOSE  and about a dozen WHITE FRONTED GEESE. To round off the geese there was a good number of Canada Geese on the far bank. As I was packing up Alan Woodcock (Snodland and Surrounding Area)arrived. After a short chat I told him about the geese and off he set with his camera to see if he could get any shots of them.
The other species seen at Scotney was: Wigeon, Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Mallard, Shoveller, Little Egret, Lapwing, Redshank, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit.
Before arriving at the reserve I already knew quite a few of the birds that I was going to see so I could write them down straight away.
The first birds seen on arrival was a GREAT WHITE EGRET and a LITTLE EGRET feeding in the shallows behind the farm house.
While in the centre I was told of some good birds that was here, so off I went to look for them, this is where fellow birders come in handy, it saves one having to spend a while looking for them. The first one is the bird that has been spending a lot of time in the same place for a few weeks now, and that is the LONG EARED OWL. From here I went to the Firth Hide, the only birds of interest seen from here was GOLDENEYE, 2m,3f (no disrespect to the other species), then while I was packing up another birder picked up on a small bird in the reeds just out in front, it was a CHIFFCHAFF.
There was 2 more surprises to come, both from the Dennis Hide. The first was a SLAVONIAN GREBE, and the second one had to be seen from outside the hide, and that was 3 SHAGS.
The other birds seen was as follows: Marsh Harrier, Greylags, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, including sinensis species, G/C/Grebe, L/B/B/Gull, G/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Pintail, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveller, Wigeon, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Lapwing, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird, H/Sparrow, Rook, Magpie, C/Crow.

Now this is where I do my *Bird of the Day*. Where do I start?
I have made my decision, and I gone for the little  fragile looking black and white drake
** SMEW **

Monday, 14 December 2015

** Great Northern Diver at Chatham. **

Pam had a appointment today at the Medway Maritime Hospital, and afterwards we went down to the dockyard outlet centre. After having a look around Pam said "Have you brought your bins with you, you can go and see if the diver is about".
As it happens today I didn't, but Pam's Nikon 9×25 are always in the car, and they are pretty good on nice days, and today it was.
I knew where to look, it was in basin number 2. I didn't have to spent long looking for it, the diver was at the far end spending most of it's time feeding.
After reading about it being there for the last ? amount of days I was please to see it is still there.