Sunday, 13 January 2019

Week One Of 2019

1st January 2019

It was an early 6.00pm rise for me and the start of the obligatory New Year bird race around the old Whitstable Urban District Council Area (WUDCA). Starting in Clowes Wood I soon picked up a couple of tawny owls calling, 1 woodcock, crow and blackbird and at 7.30ish the light improved and a few great tits, robin and wood pigeons appeared. Back to the car park where I found goldcrest, long tailed tits and blue tits plus a possible redpoll but it was still rather dark especially at the top of the tree so its not on the list.
Moving around the corner to Thornden Wood CP I added coal tit, kestrel, chaffinches, great spot and c.50 golden plover overflying.
On route to Swalecliffe I added jackdaw, hse sparrow, starling and collared dove. At the seafront, brents, gulls, g c grebe, 2 gannets, 73 ringed plover, sanderling, merganser, red-throats, 8 snipe, 2 lapwings and turnstones.
Back on home ground at Seasalter I saw 2 gadwall in the pumping station dykes plus coots and moorhens.  Further west by the Sportsman PH I added 1 marsh harrier, grey plovers, c.3000 knot, a count of 370 bar-tailed godwits, shelduck.
Inland, along SS Lane 6 stock doves, pheasant and 1 heron and up on Wraik Hill, 3 redwings. 

I finished at 12.30 the final tick being goldfinch at home where I get loads and the mornings tally being 60 species.

3rd Jan.

Blessed with this grey cloudy weather I went to SS trying to boost the SS list only adding a large flock of c.75 goldfinches opposite the Sportsman and by the pumping station it was nice to see a kingfisher. Spent lots of time getting photos.

 I couldn't get close to the kingfisher plus had to try and view through narrow bars of the fence.

 Some of the knot coming in as the tide receded

 Redshank on the water's edge, always difficult to get close

 Bar-tailed godwits are always one of the first to arrive as the tide begins to leave the beach.

 A lucky shot to get the redshank in flight with something to say

Several dunlin along the water's edge

5th Jan

An icy north wind blowing this morning.....didn't fancy getting out of the car but at the SS pumping station the kingfisher was present again.

However, I didn't venture further at SS and drove over to Hampton looking for the purple sandpipers picking up jackdaw for the SS list on the way.  No luck with the purps but from the car park a Mediterranean gull flew past and circled a few times.

6th Jan

Another grey day at SS  the only thing of note were a count of 17 sanderling and 4 teal in the pumping station dyke.

7th Jan

I took a walk along the South Swale LNR adding 7 linnets, pheasant and 3 robins to the list.  The c.60 curlew flock were still using their new roosting field behind the white post, why they have taken to there, who knows. The reedbed appeared totally dead to my eyes and ears, I did see one skylark plus the c.1000 golden plover flock were still present and lapwings. I noted the numbers of brent and knot were reduced, maybe they were moving north or maybe they have moved elsewhere to feed.

Still time to spare I went over to Hampton again missed the purps again but found the MED gull sat on the beach in front of the car park.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Last Weeks Of December With A Couple of Surprises

17th Dec.

A nice sunny and mild day so I walked up almost to Castle Coote finding 2 marsh harriers, c1250 golden plovers in the fields behind, 2 marsh harriers and c.1000 lapwing took to the air for some reason.  A dozen linnets were feeding on the beach where a little egret flew west just off the beach, far out were c.1500 knot and on Horse Sands I counted 117 common seals. Other birds noted were 1 green woodpecker, 2 stonechats and several skylarks.

19th Dec.

A short afternoon visit to Seasalter again, this time I was checking the marsh harrier roost which revealed five birds going down onto the plots, plus a barn owl.

20th Dec.

I went to photograph the brents again, the flock still holding up to 2000 birds at times. Behind the white post I counted 143 curlew on the field, a place they never used to use at high tide, noticed them there several times now, a similar number of dunlin as well. Two marsh harriers and the usual golden plovers and lapwing were present as well. The biggest surprise this morning was a buzzard sp coming my way but a chap with a dog was talking to me but a got a couple of shots as it shot by thinking it was just a pale buzzard. However, looking at it on the PC at home showed it wasn't a common buzzard and confirmation from Geoff B gave me a lifer for the site, rough-legged buzzard.

22nd Dec.

Another walk along the South Swale LNR I noticed it was a very high tide today and this had lifted a lot of the roosting waders off Sheppey and they were wheeling around looking for somewhere to land. It looked like Castle Coote was where they were heading so I pushed on quickly and arrived as they landed.  On route I took a few shots of the grey plovers sitting out the high tide on the remains of the breakwater bythe start of the concrete seawall.  Hundreds of knot, dunlin and a few grey plovers and as when they feed they mostly stayed with their own group.  It was the first time I have ever seen these big numbers on C.Coote, a fantastic sight. On the 'pool' at C.C. there were 30-40 wigeon.

Mainly dunlin 

Mainly Knot

24th Dec.

A very short visit to SS this morning where I counted 19 sanderling but I returned in the afternoon. Just a short walk up to the wall seeing waders coming across to feed as the tide was dropping in the late afternoon sun. I got some shots of the 70 bar-tailed godwits that came down to feed along with some dunlin but the light was poor and I needed high ISOs to produce anything.

Bar-tailed godwits and knot

Temperatures were dropping fast and I could see across the fields a mist was beginning to rise up which was a shot I wanted to get. So I got back to the car quickly and drove just up to the 'rise' beyond the Sportsman where I walked along the path to get my photos.

26th Dec.

Another walk along the LNR Boxing Day taking photos of the brent and one lone curlew that flew within range but nothing special......I thought.   Just today I started looking at the many photos I took that day and the first one showed a pale-bellied brent.

 Pale-bellied brent goose among the dark-bellied

Sunday, 16 December 2018

First Two Weeks Of December


A few notes to photos taken over the last couple of weeks;

A few walks along at Seasalter produced a few ups and plenty of downs. Some days the mudflats are empty and at other times will show a huge flock of knot, black-tailed godwits and curlew etc.. Inland, one or two marsh harriers can usually be seen plus the regular kestrel, the reedbeds being  almost devoid of birds.

 10th Dec.

The morning of my big 70 day if you can imagine what that means, something I find hard to believe! Anyway, continue as I have been over the years and a seal popped up close to the shore by the Sportsman allowing me a few photos and the large brent flock were just offshore.

Back home lunchtime, a sparrowhawk landed in the birch tree staying long enough for me to get a photo.

11th Dec.

Another walk along the Swale and counting 176 seals on Horse Sands {Mike Roser saw 205 yesterday). A Seasalter mega was next to The Sportsman, two yellowhammers in the big tree also in area were two stonechats, goldfinch, green woodpecker, 3 robins, chaffinch, skylark the usual scattering of waders inc. a flock of several hundred knot. I also counted 24 redshank, just two linnets, pied wagtail and a flock of c.20 teal flying across the marshes.

The brent flock and behind you might see the seals on Horse Sands, view large size. 

Closer view of the seals 

Trying a few landscapes;

 'Rabbit Valley' Sheldwich

A view west over Graveney Marshes/fields might be covered in solar panels in a few years as the next stage in the planning process has just been passed (14th Dec.)

The brent flock landing on the field just up from the Sportsman.......I watch a merlin on the 15th chasing a poor skylark which I think got away.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Reculver in the Mist

27th Nov.

It was just a bit of exercise at Reculver this morning as two large lorries were parked to the east of the towers loaded with some large concrete structures.  Started the walk only having to jump off the seawall as a large tractor and trailer rumbled past back to the lorries, one with the load, the other with a large crane attached.

I walked a good way towards Cold Harbour seeing nothing on the beach except c.20 linnets and seeing diggers etc further on I decided to abort.

The only bird photo I got was a pied wagtail on the car park! Time to go in Hats Hats.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Starting the Blog Again

25th Nov.18

With the demise of flickr changing the amount of postings I thought I might see if I can remember how this blogging works. 

The past week or so has been cold with the easterly wind so I only made a few trips in between the school runs etc.. A couple of visits to Hampton finally paid off and I found the two purple sandpipers resting on the breakwaters at high tide on the 22nd and just one redshank.

Last week on a miserable day I took the wife for a drive to Thanet ending up at 'The Captain Digby' where we had coffee and a pastry or two. I went down onto the beach with my camera and got a few shots of the cliffes and tidal foam.

Kingsgate Bay

Today, 25th Nov., I took a walk along the Swale meeting Peter Maton and Chiddy where we walked along the beach hoping to find Mark' snow buntings he saw yesterday. No luck of course but plenty of brents c.2500 on the incoming tide and fields, c100+ wigeon amongst them at Castle Coote. A couple of the fields had not been ploughed and crops planted, the remaining stubble held loads of skylarks, reed buntings and linnets, if only farmers could do this a bit more.  Also at this point the view inland might be covered with solar panels in the future!

Reading the latest plan for the solar farm they have increased its distance from the seawall to 63 meters, which includes the present strip of the LNR reedbed. So they are very close the edge of the dyke, 300yards might be acceptable and give the wildlife a chance and not be quite in your face!

Wigeon and brents feeding close to the shore as the tide came in at Castle Coote

Friday, 9 March 2018

Future Posts

9th March

For the time being I'm giving the blog a rest as its another time consuming job that I find difficult to keep up with, plus I only get about 20 hits each time which doesn't make it worthwhile.

However, my flickr site is always kept right up to date and now Facebook.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Nuthatches at Bossenden Wood

23rd Feb

Made a visit to Bossenden Wood and photographed the nuthatches in the cold weather.