Friday, 8 May 2015

** 7th May: Elmley NNR **

Hoping that it was going to be a nice day I decided to go to Elmley for 3 hours. As it happens, the weather forecasters was right.
Skylarks, Little Egrets, Lapwing Marsh Harrier, Pheasant was seen from  the  track going to the car park. I was hoping to see a Yellow Wagtail, but it wasn't to be. Once at the car park it was nice to see so many House Sparrows nesting in so many boxes that they have put up, plus the Swallow has returned to nest again in the ladies toilet, plus  Chaffinch,Greenfinch, and Dunnock in the orchard.

 The  birds of interest on the way to the hides was a good number of Reed Warblers singing, a male Reed Bunting, a Dabchick in breeding plumage, Little Egrets,and a pair of Coots with 5 little ones bringing up the rear and Mute Swan sitting on a nest,
While Pamela and I was sitting having lunch in the car park area a passerine flew up and sat on one of the fence post not far away, it turned out to be a  male **WHEATEAR**. This was a first for me, so even if I saw nothing different I was happy.
I was surprised that there wasn't that many people there. so it meant that I had the Wellmarsh Hide to myself most of the time which meant I got to sit in my favourite place (Ken's corner) I wasn't expecting to see many different species of birds, due to the fact that they have gone home for the summer, but what I did see was enough to keep me entertained. Out in front of the hide was a good number of Avocet, most of them courting and mating, and B/H/Gulls doing the same thing.
Other species of bird that dropped in now and again was: Oystercatcher, Teal, Wigeon,Shelduck, Redshank, Common Tern which kept returning the whole time. The ones that stayed the whole time was: Mallard, Shoveller, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Moorhen, Coot.
In between scanning the reserve I did a bit of sky watching, as you do straight away I got onto 2 Common Buzzards soaring on the thermals, then it seemed like wherever I looked there was Marsh Harriers.
Later on during my visit I picked up on 6 in the same area though my bins, but after getting the scope on them I picked up on some more,4 to be precise higher up, 10 is something I have never seen before in one part of the sky. It goes to show that the breeding population of Marsh Harriers in the area is very successful.
It's strange that when people like me/you go to other places in the country where they are found how excited  other people get when they see one, yet if you live down this area you don't really take much notice of them, it's like "Oh yeh a harrier".
Getting back to birds  I saw, there was a good number of Avocets in the pools at the far end, plus Canada Geese, and Greylags, Mute Swan,  Cormorant was sitting on a post, 2 pair of Pochard, and a few of the prior mentioned wildfowl: Shelduck, Wigeon Tufted Duck.
Through out the whole time I was there I must have see a good dozen or so Swallows darting back and forth from one end to the other. Birds I saw passing through was: G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, C/Crow, W/Pigeon, Collared Dove, Starling.
After leaving the hide and making our way back to the farm house the same species was seen apart from a Grey Heron..
Before leaving I had a quick look over the wall next to the toilet block when me and another birder watched another Wheatear land down by the owl boxes, this time it was a female, a pair of them in one day, I am very happy with that.
Heading back down the track I was hoping to see one or more Hare, one would have done, but I had no luck, not like Greenie, talk about right place right time, if you want to see how many he saw then have a look at his blog ,  http://www.greenieinthewild.blogspot.co.uk/ .  Nice photo's  Greenie.
After a enjoyable afternoon at Elmley the species of bird I saw in all was as follows:
Time for me to select my "Bird of the day". Not difficult, it has to be the male ** WHEATEAR.**

Below is a 3 Avocet pictures that I took and 1 B/H/Gull

Thursday, 23 April 2015

** 22nd April. Stodmarsh and Oare Marsh.**

Yesterday, 22nd April I took a long over due trip to Stodmarsh. I thought I heard that the weather was going to be pretty good, it couldn't have been further from the truth. Once at the car park I thought a fleece would have been adequate, but I ended up needing a lighter coat over the top, and I wasn't the only one there  dressed like this.
 I spent about two and a half hours in the Reed Hide, because as other people came in I asked if they had seen anything else and they said that it was very quiet all around, and I didn't really feel up to doing much walking.There was a couple of photographers in there when I arrived and, as you do, asking "Seen anything"? Back came a answer I didn't want to hear " You have just missed the ringtail Hen Harrier by about 20 minutes, I never did see it. There was about 4 Marsh Harriers putting on a good display. There was some firsts for the year for me while there,  those being: SWIFT, HOUSE MARTIN, GREENSHANK, COMMON TERN, REED WARBLER.
The other species seen was: Mallard, Shoveller, Gadwall, Teal, Coot, Moorhen, G/C/Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, G/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, C/Crow.
The birds seen on my stroll back was: Magpie, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wren, Pheasant, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Green Woodpecker (heard).
I was hoping that at least one of the Garganey would still be around but they seemed to have moved on, as did the Green Sandpipers.
Shortly before leaving the hide the weather started to change, it warmed up and blue sky appeared, so not being that far from Stodmarsh to Oare Marsh I thought I would go and see what was about.
Arriving at Oare Marsh late afternoon was very pleasant, meaning there was very few people around. even the sun was shining brightly. I started off looking from the lay by half way down the road. There was plenty of birds about, most of them being Black tailed Godwit, about 3/4 of them in breeding plumage. In with them was Turnstone also in breeding plumage, and Redshank. There was small groups of Avocets feeding in the shallows, a few Oystercatcher here and there, and 3 Common Tern resting, 
From here I moved to the East Hide. I did this for a good reason, to see a bird, well 2 birds that I have been waiting to see, those being GARGANEY. I knew that they had been here for quite a while because I looked for them a few weeks ago without any luck.
When I first saw them they was laid up on the grass area to the right of the hide, then after a while they went for a swim, and with the light on them they looked terrific, That was the best and closest sighting of a male Garganey I have ever had, even the female looked good, she might me dull, but it was nice to see her subtle head markings. Other species seen from the hide was: Herring Gull, B/H/Gull, Little Egret, Greylag, Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveller, Pintail, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Marsh Harrier, Coot, Moorhen, Pheasant,Pied Wagtail.
There was one thing that annoyed me about this day out, and that was when we was on the M2, and  I said to Pam " I have only left my camera at home". It hurt the most when I think about the close photo's I could have got of the pair of Garganey. 
All together I saw 41 species, As for my "Bird of the Day", no other species came close, it had to be the
*** GARGANEY.***
My day actually started by seeing 2 of the many Common Buzzards soaring over the M2 near the Sheerness exit.

Monday, 6 April 2015

** Oare Marsh. 5th April + Harry is back.**

Yesterday, 5th April I went to Oare Marsh with a couple of really good friends of mine. The weather was bright sunshine, but a little breezy. The night before, I checked on line to see if anything out of the ordinary had been seen there,and there had, it was a pair of Garganey, but alas the whole time we was there they never showed. we set up our spotting post in the lay by half way down the road.
There wasn't as many birds there as I thought there might have been, but there was enough to keep me interested. The largest number of birds species was Black Tailed Godwits, followed by Avocets. One of the Avocets had leg rings which was all above the knee. On it's left leg was blue above a green rings and on the right leg was from top to bottom, cream, yellow, orange. I am always curious to find out what I can about ringed birds so I did what I usually do and that is send my sighting to the B.T.O.
About 40 minutes later I had my first sighting of a SWALLOW. It flew across the east scrape heading north east. I also saw my first SKYLARK. Seeing and hearing Skylarks on a sunny day, is a nice thing, I also think it makes you feel good.
Watching the usual species of birds going about their business is always relaxing, then at times something turns up that excites you for a while, and for my friends and I, it was 2 MEDITERRANEAN GULLS. While scanning the water I got to where most of the B/H/Gulls was, and then these 2 birds stood out like a sore thumb, they was both in their full breeding plumage, bright red bill, black head,and broken white eye ring, with the bright sun on them made them look wonderful.
A G/B/B/Gull made a couple of passes over the scrape putting the birds up. I was hoping that it might bring the Garganey out of hiding, but no such luck. The occasional Marsh Harrier made a appearance, and 3 Common Buzzards was soaring together high up in the bright blue sky.
The total species seen was: Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Cormorant, Mute Swan, G/B/B/Gull, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Dabchick, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Avocet, Black Tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveller, Shelduck, Pintail, Starling, Skylark, Swallow, Magpie, C/Crow, W/Pigeon.
We stayed until about 3.30pm before leaving for home.

            My "Bird of the Day" was  the  **MEDITERRANEAN GULL**.
While writing this post I am happy to say that Harry my Hedgehog is back, it is just outside the french doors, about 2 feet away from me. It made it's first appearance 2 nights ago.
 I am assuming (and hoping) that it is one of the 2 hedgehogs I was feeding last year right up until they hibernated. I have been putting dry meal worms out for about a week now, but now it's back I am feeding my hedgehog Chappie mixed with dry meal worms (only the best for my little friend)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

** Red Kite in Halling **

Today I took a walk down Marsh Road to the river. When I arrived the tide was high so I wasn't expecting to see much on the water. There was only a few birds about, they was Cormorant, Common Gulls, B/H/Gulls, Mallards.
There was more birds in the flooded field on the left going down the road which I checked out on the way back, but the highlight of my day was a bird that had me very very excited, in fact I couldn't wait to tell Pam about it when she came home from town. It has always been my favourite (no1) bird ever since I saw my first one in Wales. As you may have guessed it was the beautiful RED KITE.
I was just approaching the kissing gate at 1:15 when I saw this large bird fly over the salt marsh. I was could see what it was but then when you see something special like this you think to yourself, it can't be, can it? I did managed to get great views of it.
As it passed over the tree's towards the flooded field. I made my way through the gate to scan the area, hoping for another good look at it, but it was now heading in a north easterly direction.
There has been one seen recently up on the north downs, so there is a possibility that it might be the same bird.
I then stopped off at the flood to see the bird there, but all the time thinking about the Kite. There was 4 Shelducks, 4 Gadwall, 5 Moorhen, 1 Coot, 5 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, and 2 Little Egrets.
So, bright sunshine, nice birds, and a lifer for Halling which was my one hundred and first  species made my day complete.
I have no need to do a Bird of the Day because it is pretty obvious what it would be. I would have to have seen a real rarity to beat the RED KITE but even then I am not so sure it would.
P.S.  Yesterday afternoon I had a male SPARROWHAWK fly in and land on the feeding pole, sitting there with the sun shining on it was a lovely sight to see.

Monday, 23 March 2015

** 3 Hour Home Watch. **

This afternoon was beautiful weather so I decided to sit at the kitchen window and see which birds was still coming in to feed.
As usual I would mention all the regular species, but it has now come to the point where I can add a male BLACKCAP to that list, because since it started visiting back before christmas it hasn't stopped returning to feed. It is coming to feed on a fat cake in a bush just 15 feet from the window. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker came to feed on the fat balls and peanuts.The male REED BUNTING is still here, and looking very dapper.
As the afternoon moved on the weather got better, wind dropped, more blue in the sky, and up in the bright blue was 3 COMMON BUZZARDS  enjoying the thermals, and at one point I found myself having to nip out into the garden to watch one of them go over,
The other species that flew over was: C/Crow, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull.

Before I write my days list, yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the lounge when I heard this strange scuffling type noise coming fom the kitchen. I turned around and there was this Long Tailed Tit flapping/hovering at the window and occasionally tapping it with it's feet. As I neared the window it flew off, shortly after it did it again. This left me well puzzled, anyway after I told Pam I put it out of my mind. Today I was sitting on the sofa and  Pam heard a strange noise. She turned around and she saw what was probably the same bird sitting on the window sill. She quickly told me and as I got up it lifted up, fluttered at the window as yesterday then flew off. Will it return tomorrow, watch this space.

My days list is as follows: Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, H/Sparrow,  Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Blackbird,  C/Dove, W/Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, C/Crow,  Common Buzzard, B/H/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull.

By home birdwatching ** Bird of the day **  has to be the = All singing, all dancing  *** Long Tailed Tit. ***

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

** First garden watch for weeks.**

For the 1st time for weeks yesterday(24th) I spent a short time in the afternoon having a look out of the kitchen window.
I had to go out and fill the feeders up as they have been empty for a couple of weeks, something I really didn't want to due to still feeling rough, I am trying to be a bit more now.
At first I noticed  lack of birds, but they soon started to return, guess they know where they are well off.
At first the usual birds was seen, but after a while the male Blackcap returned, then 2 male  Reed Buntings showed up on the hanging table, one showing more breeding plumage than the other, then later on while waiting for the kettle to boil out of the corner of my eye I saw a large Bird fly into the small tree, I soon knew what it was,  male Sparrowhawk.I think seeing the other birds make a quick exit (passerines 1- Sparrowhawk 0 )
The other birds seen was as followed:  Blackbird, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock.

Friday, 20 February 2015

** Still alive and kicking.......just. **

Just in case any of my fellow bloggers and readers have wondered what has happened to me, well Pam and I  have both been ill and are still recovering, me with a serious flu illness(god it knocks you for six)and Pam with bronchitis on top of her asthma, but as Arni says "I will be back."
I hope all you bloggers out there are having a great start to the year. I must start catching up soon with what is going out out there in the big wide world. Later guys.