Friday, 10 February 2017

Seasalter

6th Feb.

No camera today as it was very overcast and not a day for photos and after the first few minutes I saw two peregrines on a pylon and two pylons beyond a raven, a good start. Nothing much more exciting than that but a fairly good haul of common stuff with 51 species seen over the morning. In front of the pumping station were c.250 brents and 9 shelduck plus in the area lots of dunlin, plus small numbers of redshank, barwits, turnstones and ringed plovers. A count of 11 black-tailed godwits by the old 'island' and 26 great crested grebes and 2 red-throated divers further out.  

On the plots I walked the east and west tracks but didn't find much except in the dykes which held 7 mallard, 5 teal, 4 gadwall and 1 little grebe. It was good to see a nice fox along the path.

On the edge of the LNR I found another little grebe, a couple of stonechats, 1 mipit and strained the ears to tick off skylark plus robin, dunnock and heron. further out I counted another 140 shelduck.


Bar-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher from sunnier days! 


Kingfisher at Grove

5th Feb.

It was a rather dull, gloomy morning but I decided to go to Grove and hopefully see something.  The view from the Feast hide was more open after some much needed clearance work, the old island has been moved further out into the middle.  It was rather quiet with a couple of wigeon, a few gadwall, teal, mallard to complete the scene. A couple of green sandpipers and a marsh harrier put in an appearance and it wasn't until midday when a kingfisher came to the 'perch'.








Red-throated Divers Galore

30th Jan.

Abandoning some carpentry work I zoomed off to Swalecliffe after a call from Geoff informing me of 3 long-tailed ducks on the deck there. However, as expected they had flown but I did manage to see the great northern diver,  plus a razorbill and lots (19) of red-throats on the water, some close in. I moved off to Seasalter where I counted 48 red-throated divers, 2 mergansers. and c.30 great crested grebes.


Whitstable Waxwings and Hampton

28th Jan.
News of two waxwings on a cherry tree in Gordon Road  where I once lived seemed a more reliable twitch than the pine bunting. Only three minutes away from home they were immediately found and afforded some poor photos, bad positioning, poor light and two many twigs in the way. However, I got a few shots and I made several visits in the following days, I think they were present for just over a week.




I later went over to Hampton with a friend who wanted to try and photograph some birds. We found the two purple sandpipers plus two redshanks and a couple of sanderling plus a rock pipit.










Frozen at Murston

26th Jan.
Hearing the latest twitching news I went to Murston the following morning hoping to see a Pine Bunting. It must have been the coldest morning this winter with an icy east wind which after three hours left me shaking with cold. I did not see the bird although others did but you needed to be looking at a specific piece of vegetation at a distance of about 75 yards. for the 5 seconds when it was visible. I did return a day or so later with the same result so that was the end of that saga! No more!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Stodmarsh

24th Jan.

Another afternoon at Stodmarsh hoping to see the harriers and maybe some bearded tits which seem to have been avoiding me for a couple of years, photographically that is.  I met S.A. at the Marsh hide but apart from the odd water pipit it was quiet although I managed a shot of a water rail on the way down.


I left to go back to the Lampen Wall and wait for the harriers there which did not disappoint with 8-10 marsh, 1 ringtail and 1 male hen harrier. There was also a beautiful sunset which I could not resist with the camera.


The Heavy Frost

23rd Jan.

One of the heaviest frosts I've seen this morning and Seasalter looked the Arctic wastes of the far north. Fortunately, it was brilliant sunshine a little later which gave excellent viewing conditions especially for photography. 
I had a quick looked around the plots where the dykes had about an inch and a quarter covering of ice forcing all the moorhens onto the grassy places, a few running about on the ice.  A quick look revealed a pair of stonechats, robin and two song thrushes, other than that, seemed deserted.  Time for some photography though, all the trees and bushes were covered with a thick coating of ice crystals making super subjects.

 The dark area on the sea is ice!






Back to the seashore where the tide was just leaving the beach and waders were eager to feed allowing some great shots in the clear conditions. I spent well over an hour just sitting with the birds allowing them to approach me whilst I took photos.  Lots of dunlin, 44 black-tailed godwits, a few bar-tailed godwits, grey plovers, 1 lone wigeon.










Moved on to the LNR where the lower beach was frozen near the breakwaters. At the water's edge I counted 240 shelduck that seem to be a recent big rise in the population, c1000 brents with 14 teal among them. Very little on the landward side, except 2 s.thrushes, 2 blackbirds, 1 mipit and 1 reed bunting.