Thursday, 12 January 2012

Chatham Dockside 11-1-2012

Yesterday I merged a shopping trip with bird watching and went to Chatham Dockside. After the shops I took a stroll around the Marina and Basin No2. The Marina had loads of boats but little in the way of birdlife, Feral Pigeons were around and a Pied Wagtail was flitting between low rooftops and the boardwalk. There were also a large number of Black Headed Gulls about but no sign of the Dabchicks I saw on my last visit. I moved on to Basin No2 where there had been consistent reports of a Long Tailed Duck and intermittent reports of a Great Northern Diver.
I crossed the road and quickly scanned the basin, there was a Cormorant happily sat on a buoy, a pair of Mute Swans and a couple of distant Coots but no sign of the two birds I had come to see.  However I did get these three Black Headed Gulls to pose for me. The lighting was perfect with the sun behind me, if only I had got the depth of field correct (the one at the back is slightly out of focus).
Black Headed Gulls - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I had a closer look at the Cormorant on the buoy, which revealed its true identity; it was actually a Shag. I had heard of them on the Thames, but had not expected to see one, especially this close.

Shag - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I walked along the south side of Basin No2 and saw the Long Tailed Duck diving on the opposite side. I walked round and managed to get quite close, however I was now facing into the sun. Fortunately the Long Tailed Duck was quite close to the pontoon which runs alongside the north side of Basin No2 and so was able to get an angle without too much glare.

First Winter Long Tailed Duck - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Nicely chuffed with the short outing, I made my way back to the Marina where I saw a Cormorant flying over my head, a few Blue Tits in someone’s front garden and a couple of Carrion Crows on the grassy area in front of the shops. In the Marina were another couple of Mute Swans, I am not saying they were tame but they swam straight towards me and when just below where I was standing one of them barked (it was probably more like a cough) at me four or five times staring straight at me, presumably to feed them!!!


  1. Dam Brian got a Shag off Hythe yesterday that menas both of you are beating me now!

  2. Stephen might be time to go to Dungeness again, with good weather we can both get ahead of Brian - though I doubt I can match his photography. Let me know if you are up for a trip. The Shag was a lucky and fortunate find, especially as it just sat there sunning itself.