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.

Dunlin and Fieldfares.

16th Feb. 18

Another visit to Seasalter hoping for better dunlin shots finding just a few along the shoreline with turnstones. On the back field were 105 curlew plus c.600 golen plovers and c.300 brents. Lapwings were plentiful with c.400 dotted about over the fields.


No birding but a drive out in the afternoon and a stop for a cup of tea at Brogdale with the wife was rewarded with seeing several fieldfares in the car park.


Lovely sunny morning after the frost, spring in the air and great to see the barn owl flying around at 9.30 plus a marsh harrier later on.  I went on to Oare marsh but it looked extremely quiet with  only a few pintail and shovelers close to the road.........went home.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Hawfinches, fieldfares and redshanks.

1st. February


Another attempt at hawfinch photography at Godmersham. There didn't seem to more than  half a dozen about but I had one close encounter on my own and got a few shots.

Also it was the night of the 'super moon' so I took a few didn't seem any more 'super' than any other night.

8th Feb.

Nothing much more until the 8th and another go at the hawfinches.

12th Feb.

An afternoon drive over to the back of Faversham with the wife, we stopped for a cuppa at Brogdale and on the way out noticed several fieldfares feeding at the back of the carpark......just right for photos, didn't even get out of the car.

15th Feb.

A morning visit to Hampton spending most of the time photographing a couple of redshanks.