Fallow Stag, Knowle Park.

Fallow Stag, Knowle Park.

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. 
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.
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**


  1. Great post Ken,love the Skylarks,and your Header is amazing.

  2. Ken ,
    Unlucky with the Yellow Wags , but the male Garganey was great compensation .
    I haven't seen any reports of Owls in those boxes for some time now .
    The 'locals' look so much better in a bit of sunshine .
    Hope you manage another trip soon .
    Just a guess , is your new header a LBBGull ? Probably wrong .

  3. Some very nice shots Ken. I must say Elmley is pretty good at the moment.
    Agree with your bird of the day. A really good find!

  4. JR and Sue.
    Thanks for you nice comment. It is good to get out again.

    Thanks Greenie. My header gull is a Herring Gull. I took it at Rye last year, It was after our lunch in the car park, and yes I did feed it,would you argue with that face looking at you

    I am glad you are one of the Elmley lovers as well. I just wish I could all the way to the hides like you can.

  5. Hi Ken, I was so enchanted with your photos on my first visit yesterday that I had to come back and look at some more. These captures are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing.