Sunday, 3 February 2008

Hoo birding at it's best (photography at it's worst)

A late start today with a slow drive towards the Hoo peninsula for some Gull therapy. I hunted high and low for some 'special' Gulls but drew a total blank, not even a Med Gull. A quick look around the top fields at Allens Hill, Cliffe provided me with good views of 10+ Brambling associating with the Chaffinch flock, along with 15+ Reed Bunts.
I continued on towards Grain passing the local hot spots, or should I say 'cold spots' now as the burnt out cars had finished burning before arriving at the St Mary's tip area. It was pretty damn cold so I set up the scope and watched from the car which almost immediately produced the goods with a distant but 'stocky' Pom Skua that quickly set off after a Common Gull which in turn saw the arrival of a second Pom come in for some action. The birds suddenly vanished and throughout the next hour or so provided distant but ok views as one of the birds continued to harass the Gulls. 2007 was a Lemming year, up north therefore Poms in the winter are not unusual and there have been several sightings recently. Also vying for attention were an adult Med Gull and an adult Kittiwake plus a neat female Merlin and two Marsh Harrier.
Next stop, Grain Mosco pool, situated just as you approach the sign 'Isle of Grain' sign. A drake Scaup was asleep and not particulary photogenic but more so than the Poms!!
Last port of call a look for Bittern nearby which fortunately did the decent thing and showed to it's admirers, again not very photogenic more Houdini like in it's movements, still a cracking bird to see.