Monday, 23 November 2015

** Garden Birdwatch. Sunday 22/11/2015.**

It has been a while since I did any garden birdwatching, and that must have been a omen to do it. After about 20 minutes while I was watching the Great Tits, Blue Tits, and L/T/Tits  in the bush just along from the kitchen window feeding on the fat cake, and whole peanuts and sunflower hearts, taking them away to eat safely, along came a COAL TIT. I couldn't believe it. That is not only a first for my garden list, taking my life tally to 62, that includes fly overs, but also for Halling list taking that total to 102.
I thought it might it might just be passing through, but it stayed all day. I decided to to keep a eye out today, Monday to see if it would turn up again, and it did, but this time it brought a mate with it, brilliant, all I can hope is it stays around for a long time. All the time there is food I don't see why not.
The peanut feeder didn't stay full for long. They say a elephant never forgets, well nor does a Jay. Last winter it was back and forth continually and yesterday one turned up, I couldn't believe it, and the another one joined it on another visit. Last winter at times I had 3 in the garden.
After having a break and coming back for another watch I was even more surprised. I thought the Coal Tit was the highlight, but I was taken aback to find a female BRAMBLING feeding at the top of the garden with  the finches. I tried to get a photo of it for a record shot which I did but is isn't good. I am struggling with taking pictures at times now. I am waiting to go into hospital to have painkilling anti-inflammatory injections in every knuckle due to very bad osteo-arthritis. I know what to expect because I have had it done before.
Back to birding, below is the pic I took.

As with the Coal Tit, I was hoping that it might return today, and it did, I told Pam where it was and she had a good look at it through the bins. I haven't heard of many being around at the moment, I feel quite privileged to have one in the garden at this time of the year, I am normally lucky to see one deeper into the winter. To end the day yesterday a female SPARROWHAWK shot over the roof chasing some Starlings. Another garden bird I don't see very often is a Wren, and that has been showing well.
I cannot remember having so many birds in the garden at this time of year before..
Below is a list of the birds that I saw yesterday and today.

Now for my Bird of the Day  which is the   *** COAL TIT.***

Thursday, 5 November 2015

** Elmley NNR. **

After many many weeks of not blogging I thought it was about time I posted something just to keep me hand in.
I went to Elmley NNR  at 1pm to see what might be showing. I wasn't expecting too much as it is still a  bit early for this reserve to get into full swing. I went later in the day looking for birds of prey.
It wasn't until I settled down in the Wellmarsh Hide that I realised it is 12 years this month since I left my monogram in the corner. I am surprised it has lasted this long.
Back to the birds. There was only one bird that made my day and that was a SHORT EARED OWL at 13:50. I saw this bird in the far distance head on, and as it got a little closer there was no doubt what it was, it's wing beat gave it away, to me it is moth like. It flew onto the reserve and settled on a post near the far bank, it was nice to get a good look at it before the weather started to change. When it did that's when I decided to call time. By the time I left the reserve it was raining hard.
During the couple of hours I was here I saw: 5 Marsh Harrier, 4 Common Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Teal,  Shelduck, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen. Lapwing, Curlew, G/B/B/Gull, B/H/Gull, Herring Gull, Rook, C/Crow, Jackdaw, Pheasant, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

I wasn't going to bother with my "Bird of the Day" seeing as there wasn't any competition, but then I thought,  why not, so  here it is, it is the..............*** SHORT EARED OWL.***

Thursday, 20 August 2015

** Dungeness RSPB Reserve. **

After last Thursday's attempt to see what was about at Dungeness being washed out due to the horrendous weather, I thought I would go and see what today was going to bring. The weather was on my side, that was a good start.
The water level is low enough for the islands and shallows to show, so after leaving the centre I stopped off in the Firth Hide for a while to see what was about. The one species of bird that couldn't be missed was a good  number of Sand Martin.
There wasn't many waders about, the only ones I saw was 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, and a few Redshank. There was quite a few wildfowl around, but there was one that stood out from the rest, and that was a male in eclipse Red Crested Pochard. The other birds seen here on Burrows Pit was: Marsh Harrier(f), Greylag Geese, Canada Geese Cormorant, G/C/Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveller, Cormorant,  G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, B/H/Gull,
Pam and I had our lunch over the road at the ARC Pit. I made this next stop because of  the variety of birds that was here, thanks to the notice board in the centre. As over the road the water level is low, as low as I have seen it for a long long time. There was plenty of birds to keep happy, and it didn't take me long to see 7 of what I saw 1 of a Oare Marsh last Saturday, and that was WOOD SANDPIPERS. After seeing that one at Oare, I thought that was going to be  it for this year, I have never seen 7 together and I might never again.They had other waders for company, 1 Greenshank, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 7 Black Tailed Godwit, 3 Redshank, 36 Golden Plover, c60-80 Lapwing, 7 Ruff.
The was a Grey Heron up to it's chest Stalking it's prey  in front of the reeds in front of the hide, It is a fascinating thing to watch, moving about in the water with virtually no ripples as it eyes up it's next meal and then comes the strike, with such accuracy. Many people like me may think that it is quite something to see, but how many of us actually stop to think about the little creature is had just downed?
Among the duck here was 2 Garganey, the one I saw was a female, as for the other one, I never did find it.
The remaining species was virtually the same as over the road, but in larger numbers, and that includes Sand Martin.
I didn't want to stay too long because the word had been going around about a Bedstraw Hawkmoth that had been trapped last night at the observatory , and is a rarity, so Like a few others Pam and I went there to see if we could see it, but once we got there Dave Walker was out and the observatory was closed. We waited around for a while but he never returned, so a number of us didn't get to see it, still "That's life".

So this is where I pick my "Bird of the day".  Today I am going to be unorthodox, there are quite a few nice birds to chose from,  but I am picking the    ** GREY HERON.** 
 This is not a bird I would normally think of picking, but after having such close views of watching how it feeds, the stealth and the concentration in the eye for that pinpoint strike. That is my reason why.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

** Oare Marsh KWT. 15th August 2015.**

On a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon at 21c I took a trip to Oare Marsh to see if there was any sign of the White Rumped Sandpiper, but it wasn't to be, but there was plenty of other birds about, mainly wader varieties because the water level is just about right for them. I was lucky enough to get to park down the road. One of the first birds seen a short distance out was a Avocet with what seemed like a broken right leg. There was a good number of them about, but not as many as there is Black Tailed Godwit. The BONAPARTES GULL is still present with the B/H/Gulls. I did manage to see one of the birds I wanted to see and that was the  WOOD SANDPIPER, not a wader I see very often. some years I don't see one at all.
There was some Golden Plover spread out on one of the islands with 1 or 2 LITTLE STINTS feeding among them. Dunlin was in good number, many of them still in breeding plumage.
While I was there off to the right was 2  CURLEW SANDPIPERS feeding and even further right on the dried out mud was 4 Yellow Wagtails,  at times they seemed to be playing chase.
Later on while casually scanning through the birds all of a sudden they all went up and it was caused by a Peregrine Falcon making a fly by.  After the birds settled again 11 GREENSHANKS flew in and landed directly out in front of me. There was also a few Ruff here and there and among them was one that was showing the remains of it's white ruff (I believe they are called satellite). 3 Common Terns flew in for a while.The other waders present was: Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Redshank. Swallows was feeding low over the scrape.
The biggest bird I saw in the sky was out over the sea hide, and that was a VULCAN BOMBER. It was part of the airshow that was taking place at Herne Bay, as corrected by Derek, not Eastbourne as I thought, because it was on the same day. I had great views of it through the scope. It is something to be admired, I believe it is a plane that was built ahead of it's time.
Other species of bird seen was: Herring Gull, Cormorant, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveller, Coot Moorhen, Dabchick, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Wood Pigeon,

My Bird of the Day (apart from the Vulcan Bomber) is the  ** WOOD SANDPIPER.**

Thursday, 13 August 2015

** Pictures of Ollie and his little friend.**

Yesterday (12th August) I went down to my neighbours to see how the Barn Owl chick is getting on, and I was surprised just how much it has grown in a week, it is now about 3 weeks old. While I was getting engrossed with it Astrid went outside and brought Ollie the adult male in. She sat him on the back of a chair right next to me, what a handsome bird he is.
I took my camera with me this time to take a few record shots of them. The little guy was quite happy sitting on a towel, but Ollie was a lot more inquisitive as they are. He eyed me up at one point, moving his head up and down, side to side, wings out a little bit, but it didn't last long.
I ended up staying there longer than I intended to, but she didn't seem to mind. I hope to go back again soon, probably next week to see how much the chick has grown.
Below is a few of the  pictures I took:



Thursday, 6 August 2015

* * Isn't it strange how one thing can lead to another. **

Isn't it strange how one thing can lead to another, sometimes good, sometimes bad, on this occasion it was good.
A few weeks ago a few kids found a lost tortoise just along from us in the entrance to the park. It still hasn't been reunited with it's owner. How do I know, well as Pam and I was going out yesterday I saw a lost tortoise notice on a lampost. I phoned the number and left a message saying what we knew, later that afternoon I had a call from the lady who owns the tortoise. It was't until she told me her name that it rang a bell. We only found out about 5 or so weeks ago that one of the home owners down the road keeps owls, and that is her.
She said " I am about to feed my 2 week old Barn Owl and would you like to come down?"
Well you can guess what I said.Pam came with me, and was greeted by a pair of hands holding this tiny ball of fluff.I could never imagine that one day I would be stroking and having my finger nibbled by a 2 week old barn owl. Another thing I did was something that Chris Packham does, and that is to sniff it. It has a lovely smell, but not a easy smell to describe. She is so dedicated, the chick has to be fed every 3 hours.
She also has a adult male Barn Owl which she flies, a male Little Owl, it isn't until you are inches away from one that you realise just how small they are, and finally a Scops Owl
After chatting for a while I found out that she use to have a Eagle Owl, but it got out of hand, it was a rescue bird. I look forward to watching the baby develope into a beautiful adult.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

** Oare Marsh KWT. Yesterday 20/07/2015.**

Knowing that there was quite a few waders at Oare Marsh and being a nice day I (and my lovely taxi driver, Pamela) decided to have a look for myself. I was expecting to have a job to park in the pull in half way down the road but it was empty, what I did see was round about  8-10 birders/photographers gathered by the fence. I asked them what they was looking at it wasn't long before I was looking at the same birds, they was 2 TEMMINCK'S STINTS , well that was a great start for the day, not to mention for the year list.
The water level is just right for waders that feed at different depths .The highest number of waders was Black Tailed Godwits, I am not really into counting birds when there are so many, all I will say is that they was in the 100's, many of them still in their wonderful breeding plumage.There was plenty of Avocet around, always a nice bird to watch feeding.
There was 4  other really good waders species on the scrape, those that are stopping off to feed before making that long flight back to Africa, 1 LITTLE STINT...2 CURLEW SANDPIPER,..4 RUFF, 3 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. TheCurlew Sand and Ruff are still showing signs of their breeding plumage.
The other waders scattered around was: Redshank..Dunlin...Lapwing... Oystercatcher.
Over in the small bay in the far right corner 9 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons was roosting.  Wildfowl seen was:Mallard..Shoveller..Shelduck...Gadwall.. Tufted Duck, and Greyag Geese.
On the gull front the BONAPARTE'S GULL is still showing, and a nice looking gull it is with it's lovely black hood. I believe it is  migrant from North America, and there is occasional sightings of them over here most years. The other gulls seen was: Black Headed Gull...Herring Gull..Common Gull, and a Great Black-backed Gull which flew over the scrape putting all the birds up. They also went up again but I couldn't see what caused it, but it was a lovely spectacle,especially the Godwits with the sun on them showing off their orange/rufous colours.
The other bird species I saw was: 2 Cormorants..one female Marsh Harrier in the distance... Mute Swan..Coot..Moorhen..Swallow.. Starling..Pied Wagtail..Skylark..Reed.. Bunting..Carrion Crow..Jackdaw..Magpie..Wood Pigeon, and Collared Dove.
My visit had to end  before I wanted to due to me falling off of my seat, now before anyone says, no I was totally sober��. I didn't just fall off as you do, I think it was caused by something that happened  just before that, so I am resting up on the sofa writing this on my tablet.
My days bird list was: Greylag Goose..Cormorant.. Mute Swan..Grey Heron..Little Egret..Mash Harrier..Mallard..Tufted duck..Shelduck..Shoveller..Gadwall..Coot..Moorhen..Bonaparte's Gull..G/B/B/Gull..Herring Gull..Common Gull..B/H/Gull..Redshank..Lapwing..Avocet..Dunlin..Ruff..L/R/Plover..CurlewSandpiper..Temminck's Stint..Little Stint..B/T/Godwit..C/Crow..Jackdaw..Magpie..W/Pigeon..C/Dove..Starling..Skylark..Reed Bunting..Pied Wagtail..Swallow..

Now for my "Bird of the day" . I decided before I started writing this what it will be, and that is the ** TEMMINCK'S STINT **