Sunday, 11 September 2011

Crossing the Wantsum!

Today I found myself heading East, not to Asia or Oz but to cross the Want some (Wantsum) and into East Kent, home to many a good birding site and also the vebue for todays KOS meeting at SBBO. With a few hours to spare I ventured across to BOB, as Prof Hanby would see 'the back of beyond' or locally known as Backsand Scrape. This superb hidden corner of Kent is a great place to watch and hopefully photograph waders but locating it when you're an infrequent visitor like me isni' always straightforward. Is you was an escaped birder on the run you could hide out here for a while and not be seen, there's even three hides and some large blue plastic containers to hide in if the blog police are after you.
Looking through my photos on the PC, about 80000 digital images now I decided I needed a few good Greenshank shots and looking at other blogs eg Steve Ashton I also wanted a piece of the action knowing the Bittern land and the viewing hide would be open season on a Saturday at Grove.

I was not disapointed and there were ctaully birds present

A billy bonus came in the form of this cracking juv Temminck's Stint that fed sadly too far away for a decent shot but nonetheless a good bird to find and see. East Kent is full of surprises you just need to get out there and look, don't assume someone else will have checked a site, it's a migrantion hotspot and every day is different.

Greenshank at Backsand, crackers

Ruff at Restharrow scrape

These last images are Honey Buzzards plus atmospheric dust migrating through Kent in the last few weeks

And now for something completely different

Ok then we all like birding and many of us take it very seriously 'me included' but there are times when we all 'look on the bright side of life', ignore birding for a while and let our guard down. We all do it, I've seen ultra keen birders watching Mr Bean whilst in hysterics, pretend shooting at passing cars with kids pretend shooting back at them with toy guns and playing knock the can over at Dunge on a poor seawatch.

It's a Hobby, but birding aside it's good fun and often the times between birding are the more memorable and amusing.

Above a photo of me pre Sumo wrestling
above in competition with my sister, ...................I won!!

Lou and myself in Devon at Pixie land this year on Honeymoon........... but note the bins are still with me (never leave home without them)

There we are Derek another posting, it's becoming a habit now, no Moths, no birds, just a break from birding.


Autumn is well and truly here now, bring on the birds!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Billy no mates does Dunge

I've had little time for birding recently based on many factors ...including moths but with the possibility of a few Moth lifers and a potentially good days birding I decided to pay a visit to Dunge, 'pay' being the operative word as the Treasury reaps the benefits of my fuel costs there and back.

First port of call the reserve for the Cattle Egret but as I struggled to see more than about 50 mretres in the mist I diverted to Galloways, tin helmet on, I'm going in. Galloways is one of the places that always has the 'rare bird' feel to it yet it hasn't happened to me yet! It's also birded less than some of the other 'Gilleard' brother sites nearby....(do they have the monopoly on hides in the UK)? Slowly driving towards the sea I managed six Whinchats, good numbers of Whitethroat and a cracking male Sprog Hawk over. The mist started to lift so next stop the entrance track to the reserve and within a few seconds of parking and scanning the Cattle Egret was UTB showing well with it's wavy neck in the fields. It's incredible to think how the fortunes of Cattle Egret has changed not just in the UK but Worldwide as it moves into areas raped of their forest by large Cattle ranches in S America .

It was nearly 9am now and I will still the only birder watching the Egret so I headed of to the Hanson Hide to check for waders. GPs, Dunlin and a few Little Egrets but little else.

The main reserve was next as it was nearly 10 am now and I had to decide carefully where to park the car next to the RSPB vehicle or the one other vehicle in the car park? Yes it's been a quiet autumn but even I was shocked how few birders were present maybe they were lost in the mist?

It was quite evident I was on the scene early as a Water Rail fed unconcerned on the track, Cetti's performed well, and at Christmas Dell hide the Great White Egret did a fly by, my 3rd Egret in just over an hour. Hobbies chased dragons overhead, a Little Gull parolled the pools and on the main flood 4 Garganey, 3 Spot Shanks and a couple of Ruff. Aware that raptors should be making a move soon in the increasing heat my HB dar was on full alert as a stonker of a Honey Buzzard flew overhead and was seen heading out to see at the obs such is the beauty of mobiles these days. Happy with my fill I visited the obs and had a Moth raid at the fridge, surely one of the most visited fridges in the UK. Book at the ready and with the help of Dave I added a few new moths to my UK fridge list including the splendid little, Beautiful Marbled .

One more stop before heading home was to see the Glauc at the fishing boats.

Job done and back home for Amy Pond, sorry I meant Doctor Who.

Today I was mostly working but yesterday was one of those memorable autumn days and all on my own bar the fridge encounter and raptor man!