Sunday, 29 June 2008

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

The Small Faces would have been proud of this Hare.
Mid June, and the start of July are often quiet and a chance to look at Butterflies, stay at home, track down Dragonflies, botanising, watching the rain at Wimbledon or our absence in other sports in Europe. Sunday 29th June was one of those days when I set off down the A2 in order to give the Treasury some more money from fuel duty, and my car runs on LPG!! I decided to take a visit to Elmley and take some piccies though it was pretty clear that there wasn't much to photograph except this Hare, and a few Little Egrets.
With all this talk of splitting in the Bird World, this Hare was evidently wondering when Mammals would be split or possibly it had just seen the latest updated file from BBRC!
A bird to photograph, a superb Little Egret, still good to see despite their abundance in Kent nowadays.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Quasimodo of the Bird World?

Very little birding this weekend, though I did manage a brief visit to Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve, a great place near Sevenoaks and run by the Kent Wildlife Trust nowadays. The aim of my brief visit was to see the breeding Egyptian Geese, and their youngsters. I can think of very few birds that could match these 'most pretty' of birds except perhaps Muscovy Duck, or Friarbirds from Australasia, and it seems a shame that what starts off as such a cute gosling can turn into this mismatch of avian evolution,. Having said that, I remember seeing my first 'Gyppo' Geese in Norfolk and screeching to a halt in the car, so overcome with excitement as witnessing these marvels of the Avian World.
It surely has got to be one of those birds that has a very appealing reflection, better than the 'real thing'
A cute Gosling. just don't grow up!
I saw very little else this weekend bar the LRP's at Sevenoaks showing very well and finally met 'albeit briefly' Josh Jenkins- Shaw in the hide at the reserve. Check out his blog for some great photos and local sightings.
On Saturday morning whilst walking the dog I saw and heard 8 Crossbill flying over Northfleet heading West , part of a recent movement in the UK.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Hidden Treasures of Kent

A poppy field at Luddesdown

The past week has been relatively quiet bird wise though I've managed a few trips out into the 'Garden of England' . I've always had an interest in birding little visited localities and areas on the periphery of well known sites, ie Conyer and Luddenham, close to Oare. Pigwell farm and Belgar Farm near to Lydd and Dungeness, and the marshes of St Mary's and Binney , near to Allhallows. Another excellent site to bird despite the longish walk is Stoke Lagoon near Allhallows, a seasonally flooded area that historically has been good and warrants regular watching if time allows. I visited there last weekend for a few hours and in apart from some amorous and frisky cows, the four legged kind, I had a pleasant walk. Little Egret were seen regularly plus Sparrowhawk, and a superb Med Gull that flew overhead. On the lagoon there were many Ducks though I never managed to count them due to the marauding cows. The walk out there is easy enough though the stile seen below is evidently designed for walkers on stilts or trapeze artists. It certainly should be awarded most impractical stile of the year 2008!! I reminds me of a new barrier and stile built on Dartford marshes many years ago to deter the motor bikers. the words, 'My Gran can't climb' were etched on the metalwork, testament to the skill required to negotiate this marvel of metalwork.

A Med Gull at Stoke though amazingly a pair of adults were watched for nearly an hour during the week at Luddesdown, near the church, a fantastic sight over the verdant fields and superb countryside worthy of some lovely summer walks.

Stoke Lagoon, keep checking those ducks!!

View towards Grain power station.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The Purple patch finally ends!

The past week has still seen a few good birds turning up in the SE though as is usual in previous years the Northern Isles often turn up the Big One! This year Fair Isle stole the show with a a very lost Citril Finch that allowed many crews the opportunity to see 'another' 1st for Britain on this amazing rarity magnet island of the far North. For me though it was business as usual in the Home Counties with a quick dash over to Rainham RSPB in Essex last Saturday for a Great White Egret that showed well through the scope and represented 252 for my LNHS list, ie 20 miles from St Paul's. I've now seen Great White, Little and Cattle Egret, plus Squacco, Purple, Grey Heron, Little Bittern and Bittern in the LNHS area but Night heron will have to wait another day as I've missed previous birds. One day when I get a chance I'll tot up my 'local' area list as James has done on his website. With 200+ at Dartford together with Rainham it should be an impressive list and testament to the possibilities that can be seen so close to London.
My visit to Rainham was short though I did manage to also see 2 drake Garganey and a few Little Egret.
Sunday was a trip to the coast and the only birds of note recorded during the day were the first summer male Red-footed Falcon at Collard's plus a Buzzard thrown in for good measure. It's incredible to think how the status of Buzzard has changed illustrated by the fact that I saw one in the Darent valley yesterday, a bird that 10+ years ago I would have struggled at times to find in Kent.
Last Tuesday evening a last minute decision to head into West Kent in the evening paid dividends with a few hours spent with Andrew (Gull Boy) Lawson and James(mobile off) Hunter. Luck was on our side as Tree Pipit, a family party of Redstart and then good views of Nightjar were had both in flight and perched. I haven't Nightjarred for many years though I know it's a regular pursuit in the Summer both at Pubs and heathland type habitat. A good evening out with some old friends and more fun than staying at home watching TV.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

M.R.S.A --------> AGP (American Golden Pleasure)

Sunday 1st June. Not a good day to be at work all day with news of an American Golden Plover at Pegwell Bay and a shed load of work to do . To say I was inundated with MRSA screening swabs would be an under estimate and so the day continued with the bird showing well, as did the swabs until night fell and I was still working!!!
Monday dawned dull and grotty, though a text early am lifted spirits as the AGP was still present. At 1318 I was on site, vying for a position amongst the gathered hordes of birders, 'only I was 24 hrs late' and the track was deserted, wet, and not a bird or birder in sight! Fortunately out of the gloom appeared Keith Holland and his mum and we had the bird to ourselves for a while enjoying it's finer detail as the rain continued to fall. A great bird to see and a real stunner, well worth the trip down.
The delights of Pegwell mud minus the bait diggers and the sun seekers.
Ok, poor piccie but what a worm !!!!! It you want to see proper pictures of this bird see the following