Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Lean Times But Ended Well In The Garden!

Again I have only managed a few short local trips this last week, the weather has been the usual almost gale force winds.


A trip to the levels, sunny but a strong wind keeping most things out of sight except one buzzard, cetti's, a family group of four kestrels but little else. It depressed me so I packed up and not out again until the ...........


Plenty of gatekeepers on the plots plus a peacock, common blue (not so common now), s.skippers, whites m.browns. Birds seen were blue tits, goldfinch and a greenfinch (not common), marsh harrier and the usual common stuff. From the beach; curlew, oystercatchers, g.c.grebe, 1 barwit and a lesser b.b.gull.

Rosele's Bush Cricket on the garage door when I got home - forgive the paint runs!

Oare; seeing little stint, 3 LRPs, 2 grey plovers, 1 golden plover plus the godwit crowd along with dunlin, ruff, redshank etc..

25th evening

Just a walk along the LNR to get some sunset photos but I managed to see the barn owl over the back fields. The field opposite the Sportsman PH seems to have attracted a roost of gulls lately and I watched 3 Sandwich terns fly in and land amongst them and there were two common gulls on the breakwaters.


Hardly any different


I thought, sunny and little wind, could be a good day but no, the wind was soon back up to full strength keeping everything out of sight. I stopped at the roost and counted 14 cormorants, 1 lesser b.b.gull, 1 gbb gull, 1 curlew, 1 whimbrel, 54 oystercatchers, 1 Med gull flew west then one man and his dog walked out onto the 'roost'.

The two hay fields were cut today on the plots

The plots were quiet, I was hoping for butterflies but only found plenty of gatekeepers, skippers a few s.whites and a peacock and just one common blue. Birds were also keeping out of sight but a close encounter with a reed warbler took us both by surprise.  I walked along the wall to the Sportsman, the field opposite held 101 cormorants, a flock of 49 bh gulls plus 2 common gulls.

 8 miles offshore another 15 turbines being installed, totaling 30 -  they are 140 metres high and weigh 600 tonnes.  




Monday, 20 July 2015

Barn Owl At Last

I have hardly been out this week except for Tuesday evening when I saw the barn owl out over the back fields near the sub station at Seasalter, a year tick for me.

Sat. 18th
I had a short look over SS which looked quiet except for a buzzard so I continued onto Oare seeing the curlew sandpipers, Bonaparte's gull and a little stint plus all the regulars.

Sun. 19th

Back down to Seasalter Lane finding a couple of sand martins, two house martins and swallows plus Geoff Burton, who is now becoming a regular sighting! At the levels, 2 stonechats a few whitethroats, reed bunting and linnets plus a lovely view of a grasshopper warbler through Geoff's scope who heard it and located it in a bush. I could see it buzzing away but not one 'note' came to my ear, a big advantage to have hearing! However, I did pick up a raven honking away as it flew across the plots westwards. 
Back at the seashore the tide was coming in, curlew were streaming westwards to their roost plus 7 whimbrel were down on the flats and later another 2 flew west.

Mon. 20th

Rather mizzly this morning but I saw 32 sand martins in the reeds along SS Lane plus a few swallows flying about. A stop by the Ski Club produced a Med gull flying along the beach eastwards and the rook made another appearance (not common here) near the toilet block. On the plots a total of 7 stonechats, several whitethroats and reed buntings plus one chiffchaff. Back at the seafront c.250 black-tailed godwits, good to see again and my first 2 returning bar-tailed godwits, 12 egrets, 1 whimbrel, 4 g.c.grebes, curlew but no turnstones yet!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Dunlin Every Month So Far

13th July

I had a couple of hours to spare so went down to SS again hoping for some returning waders, it was near high tide and I was pleasantly surprised to find two dunlin plus a ringed plover on the beach by the Ski Club, my first stop!

Dunlin by the Ski Club

Just one Ringed Plover

The next stop was the 'plots', a look over the sea first which revealed 1 g.c.grebe plus a couple of g.b.b.gulls and on the 'island that was' 8 cormorants, herring gulls, 3 juv. g.b.b.gulls and 2 common terns but no other waders, not even an oystercatcher.  

  The 'island roost that was', now well joined to the beach - attracts walkers to go out on it with the obvious results!

This juvenile common tern was resting next to the outfall

I went onto the plots finding several stonechats, a dozen or more reed buntings, whitethroats etc. and a couple of great tits and blue tits (not seen lately). A kestrel was the only raptor and with a single heron was flying around several times. I counted 6 blackbirds, 2 wrens and 7 goldfinches plus 5 swifts, no swallows. The wind was increasing in strength again so I returned to the car and saw a common gull flying west, close to the beach.

Young Stonechats

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Bits and Pieces

3rd July

I have not been out for too long a period lately, the pollen in the strong winds was playing hell on my eyes plus the tennis has kept me in the armchair in the afternoons. However, a visit to Seasalter on the 3rd produced 3 hobbys over the levels and a marsh harrier etc..

Black-tailed Skimmer

On the 6th., another short visit, windy again but I found a lesser black-backed gull, kestrel, curlews, egrets, goldfinches, cetti's, marsh harrier plus the other common species. It was better in the afternoon, throwing stones on the beach with the boys at Tankerton  we saw a close Mediterranean gull and better still back at home in the garden, a red kite drifted over escorted on its way by the gulls,

The 8th was quiet on my thirty minute visit to SS just seeing a flock of 5 Med gulls fly over and 2 Sandwich terns.

On the 9th I did another evening walk, this time going along the seawall at the S.Swale LNR. The tide was in and virtually nothing, just an oystercatcher on the beach! Over the fields a distant marsh harrier and on the seawall c.500 starlings feeding on the tiny beetles that have invaded the coastline over the past two weeks. 

Tiny beetle invasion along the coast - here on wild carrot

A few clumps of sea-lavender

As the light was fading c.400 crows flew up from the C.Coote area heading inland to roost, now there is a target for the hunters to blast at, we might get some success with breeding waders etc. then.

Another amazing plastic object washed up - stands about 5 feet high!

A visit today, the 12th., produced several stonechats on the plots plus the attendant cast of goldfinches, whitethroats, reed buntings, the coot family, still holding onto at least 6 of their young. Earlier Geoff Burton recorded marsh harrier, a flock of 16 siskins, buzzard and grasshopper warbler. I tried to photograph a few butterflies in the strong wind with a little success on small skipper but failed on my first gatekeepers. Also another black-tailed skimmer on the track.

The only wader this morning! He caught nothing.

Stonechats have done well in the area this season 

Small skippers common on the plots

Thursday, 2 July 2015

A New Year Tick

1st July

I hadn't seen turtle dove yet this year although I haven't gone looking but I heard about some that could be seen from the car.  Just as well as the temperatures outside rose to 34 degs on the car readout but after making my way there it was true, AC going and viewing from inside the car, I saw six birds on the wires. I took a couple of distant shots but they weren't up to much due to the distance and atmosphere.

Back home I've been lucky to have a family of greenfinches and goldfinches coming to the feeders, I've not seen greenfinches in the garden for a few years so hopefully they will become a regular visitor.

In the evening I took a walk into Church Wood with a few friends finding at least 1 nightjar and woodcock but numbers do seem down as were the moths!  5 glowworms on the walk back though.

2nd July

I went to the patch for a start to the month finding 48 species on the levels and out on the sea. nothing unusual except for 4 BRENT GEESE that flew in from the Sheppey direction then tracked east. Another new tick was an adult redshank with two youngsters just by the outfall otherwise it was all the usual stuff, whitethroats with young, reed warblers, 8 shelduck, 69 curlew, 3 g.c.grebes etc..

c.30 swallows feeding over the cut hay field next to the road plus 6 stock doves and a cetti's

A very territorial whitethroat along SS Lane

My first returning redshank - two babies and mum!

Out on the horizon another c.14 turbines being installed. The ship 'jacks' itself up on the seabed.