Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Oare Marshes 27-8-2012

Yesterday I met Stephen at Oare Marshes at 10am, the weather was overcast (hence poor photos) with a gentle breeze gathering strength through the day. The tide was fully up and there were only a few Black Headed Gulls and a Great Black Backed Gull from the ramp. However a quick look from the sea wall into the “New West Scrape” revealed a Greenshank, a Black Tailed Godwit a Heron half hidden in the Reeds and seven Little Egrets with some other waders, when we got down to the viewing spot those other waders turned out to be a Wood Sandpiper and a couple of Green Sandpipers. Whilst watching them a Meadow Pipit landed in the nearby grass.

Ruff feeding - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The East flood was quite bounteous in variety and quantity with large flocks of Avocets, Black Tailed Godwits, and Golden Plovers, interspersed with the latter among the islands were Starlings and Lapwings. In the water among the larger flocks were some Dunlin, Redshank and a couple of Ruff. Ducks included Mallards, Coots, Dabchicks a couple of Tufted Duck, some Teal, some Shovelers, some Gadwalls, a few Moorhens and confusing for me was a Wigeon in eclipse. Somone kindly pointed out two Curlew Sandpipers and a Yellow Wagtail to us which was slowly making its way along the Southern Reed line. Dotted around were some Snipe and some immature Shelducks whilst a Pied Wagtail scoured a bit of dry land near to us. The East Flood also contained a family group of Mute Swans, a couple of Cormorants and some immature Pochards. Whilst scouring the flood a warbler dived in and out of the reeds quite close to us, despite it showing for less than half a second on each of two occasions I am certain it was a Reed Warbler.

Snipe feeding - Canon 400D +100-400mm
Next we went to the West Flood (West scrape) hide – on our way there we came across a lot of Common Darters and Stephen proved to be at one with nature when one of them decided to land on his hand and use it as a feeding post to eat a fly there.

Common Darter eating a fly on Stephen's Hand - Canon 400D +100-400mm
Outside the hide was a couple of Yellow-Winged Darters. From the hide I searched the reeds and found only a family of Coots and a few Mallards whilst Stephen scoured Sheppey where he picked out a Marsh Harrier, then over the distant block houses to the West he found a Kestrel. Over Mocketts two Buzzards were pointed out to us by another couple in the hide. On the way back to the road we heard but did not see a Yaffle whilst a Feral Pigeon watched us from a distance fence post.
Yellow-Winged Darter - Canon 400D +100-400mm

Running short on time we made our way round the East Flood via the Seawall hide, near the gate were a few Greylag Geese, whilst on the creek path we saw a Grey Wagtail. The Creek had large numbers of Redshank in it and a smaller numbers of Godwits. During the days travels we had also seen a Bar Tailed Godwit (I cannot remember where though) and some Wood Pigeons.

Lapwing - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I am cheekily going to add 3 birds to the day list, namely Collared Dove, Swallow and House Sparrow the first 2 being seen by me on the road between Oare village and the reserve whilst the latter was heard on the same stretch on the way home. Stephen saw a Harrier on the way to the reserve which he believed was a Hen Harrier but could not be positive. The day list was 42 on the reserve, or a cheeky 44 with 2 others heard. Butterflies seen were Small Whites, Gatekeepers and Small Heaths.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Northward Hill, Cliffe Pools 21-8-2012

To avoid boredom I have put the reason for recent lack of posts at end of this report.
A Bit of a double report here, despite my break from Blogging the bird spotting continued. Whenever I travel up North I always go via the M40 to see the Red Kites near junction 5. Here are a few photos I took on 3rd August of these lovely majestic birds.

Red Kites 3-8-2012 - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
This brings me to yesterday when Wendy and I went to Northward Hill RSPB reserve, the bird sightings were poor, even the bird feeders despite being full of nuts were devoid of any activity. Wandering around the reserve sightings included Rook, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Whitethroat, Wood Pigeon, Linnet, Magpie, Swallow, Starling and Heron.
Female Linnet with "grub" - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Wood Pigeon - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Looking out from the main viewpoint, the reservoir and mainly dried up lake contained a Little Egret, some Lapwings, Mallards, Dabchicks, Black Tailed Godwits, Moorhens, Coots,  a Redshank and 3 Teal. 22 species in all, a poor count, however the butterflies on the walk more than made up for this with a Small Tortoiseshell, a Red Admiral, several Small Coppers, Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Speckled Woods.

Common Blue - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Small Copper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
There was also an awful lot of Dragonflies about as well (my identifications may be a bit awry here so please correct me if I am wrong), mainly Common Darters, a few Yellow Winged Darters and a couple of what I believe were Brown Hawkers, sadly no photos of these larger Dragonflies which were constantly on the move.
Common Darter - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Mating Common Darters - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Yellow Winged Darter - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Common Darter - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Nature sometimes comes up with something new and interesting and for me it was the clouds of seeds which were being wafted around the reserve some of which caught in spiders webs leaving some interesting shapes - here is one of the hundreds of webs we saw covered in seeds.

We then moved on to Cliffe Pools but due to limited time only got as far as the viewpoint at Radar Pool. However we did get to see a huge flock of Avocets, intermixed with them on the shoreline were Grey Plovers, Ringed Plovers, Turnstones, Common Gulls, Black Headed Gulls, and Black Tailed Godwits a single Dunlin and a few Redshank. Around the edges of the pool were Little Egrets, an Oystercatcher and some Common Terns. On the pool itself were Little Grebes, Coots and Great Crested Grebes.

Meadow Brown - Canon 400D + 100-400mm (Northard Hill)
En Route back to the carpark we saw a Goldfinch, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a large mixed flock of Long Tailed Tits and Blue Tits, in the car park pool (I think it is called Flamingo) were some Pochard. Nearby some Collared Doves sat on some telephone wires whilst a few Cormorants flew overhead. This gave me an additional 15 species for the day – not great, but not bad for what ended up as a hot muggy day.
Small Tortoiseshell - Canon 400D + 100-400mm (Northard Hill)

Gatekeeper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm (Northard Hill)

Speckled Wood - Canon 400D + 100-400mm (Northard Hill)

It has been a while since my last post, apologies for that but RSI meant that anything beyond 10 minutes sat at a keyboard and mouse left me in agony for hours and sometimes days. Several months rest from a desktop now means I can do about an hour at a time without pain, so it is time for me to try and put a few posts together. Hopefully I will be back with a bit more regularity but it is dependent on me remaining pain free. If the pain comes back I will be left with just posting  a few photos and a day list, let’s hope it does not come to that.