Friday, 21 September 2012

Oare Marshes 18-9-2012

Tuesday was another nice day so Alan and I visited Oare Marshes though the wind was quite fresh it was warm enough (for me) to spend most of the day jacketless. My recent lack of practice at photography tells in these shots for which I apologise. We started off taking a quick look out from the jetty which revealed very little except a single Curlew and a number of Black Headed Gulls, a look down the margin from the western path revealed some Mallards, Coots, Tufted Ducks a sole Dabchick keeping close to the reeds and a Snipe snoozing in the corner of one of the islands. 
Linnet - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

We headed up the main road noting that the New West Scrape was dry with only a few flies buzzing about the remaining small puddle. The East Flood was also low on water but this did not diminish the variety of birds there. A large flock of Bar Tailed Godwits with a few Redshank around the edges were in the distance whilst nearer to us on a dried patch was a significant number of Ringed Plovers with a Curlew Sandpiper preening itself in their midst.
Ringed Plover - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
A large flock of Golden Plovers (aprox 150) covered one island with a similar number of Starlings scattered around as were a large number of Lapwings. Dunlin were dotted about busily feeding as was a Little Stint, however soon after spotting it all the Starlings and Plovers together with the Little Stint took to the air and I never found it again. A scan of the skies revealed a Peregrine Falcon quite high, they must have been very vigilant to pick it out as I needed my binoculars to identify it.
Little Stint - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Other occupants of the flood included Mute Swans, Cormorants, Little Egrets and several Ruffs
Lapwings - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Seen from the roadway was this odd looking heron.

Heron - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

And then it closed its wings.

Heron closing wings - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
As we moved off towards the West Scrape a pair of Swallows flew through and a Goldfinch was seen in a nearby bush. The West Scrape was as usual relatively quiet with the only excitement a Hobby skimming fast and low over the reeds and disappearing behind the hide before I could point it out to Alan. In the distance a couple of Buzzards were over Mocketts, some young coots were in the water in front of us together with 4 Teal.
Starling - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

On the footpath to the East Flood Hide a Green Woodpecker flew out from our right. From the West Flood hide we had repeat views of a Curlew Sandpiper and excellent views of all the Bar Tailed Godwits among which a couple of Greenshanks were stood. There were about 70 odd Avocets in the flood and feeding along the far bank a pair of Spotted Redshank, the summer plumage still clinging to one of them. Occupants of the hide had been watching a Water Rail before our arrival but it did not appear for us.
Dunlin - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
We left and watched the butterflies and dragonflies around the water margin near to the hide. We were watching  a Small Copper, some Small Whites, and a Common Blue of the former and some Common Hawkers and a Common Darter of the latter when a gentleman called us back into the hide as a Water Rail had just reappeared, it was my first sighting of one this year and lovely to see as it walked along the waterline on the far bank too far away to photograph. It was very kind of those in the hide to consider calling us back.

Common Blue - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The walk to the sluice was uneventful and we set up on the creek side of the flood to scour it from another angle but nothing new seen, however I looked over to where the Water Rail had been to see two Water Rails walking together which were then joined by a third – I was in seventh heaven, especially as one of them thought it best to walk in the sunshine avoiding the reeds all together.
Golden Plovers (from road) note summer plumage far right - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

The walk to the Sea Wall hide flushed out a solitary Long Tailed Tit, a pair of House Sparrows and a Linnet were seen in the various bushes whilst on the bank near the hide we saw a Pied Wagtail and some Reed Buntings. From the hide little was to be seen due to a very high tide however on the distant shore towards Seasalter were a large number of Oystercatchers. A check of Sheppey gave up a Marsh Harrier directly north of us.
Reed Bunting - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Other birds seen were Carrion Crows, Wood Pigeons Collared Dove, and Herring Gull. A total of 42 for the days walk but for me the highlight was the three Water Rails. A final thank you to the person who found the lost eyecup to my telescope and put it on a post for me to find, I am very grateful.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Kelsey Park, Bromley 15-9-2012

Young Mallard still with down  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
On Saturday I took my mum for a walk round Kelsey Park, near Bromley in Kent, it is a very popular public park and most of the birdlife is anything but shy vying with the plentiful Grey Squirrels for the nuts seeds and bread all the visitors seem to bring. The closeness of these birds would give some good photo opportunities if they were not forever on the move scurrying after the next bit of food thrown down by well meaning families.
Adult Moorhen - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Tufted Duck  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The park consists of a central lake fed by the river beck which is really no more than a large stream. The lake has a couple of small islands, one of which contains a Heronry consisting of 21 nests, the below photos are of the last chicks this year of which there were 40.
This Years Heron (chicks?)  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Heron  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The lake has always had a good mix of waterfowl and we saw Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Tufted Ducks, Mute Swans, Graylag Geese, Canada Geese and a single Dabchick, all of which are regulars at the park.

A Line of Greylag Geese responding to a group of children throwing food for the ducks  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Its location has also meant that it usually has a few escapees of which a Muscovy Duck and an Aylesbury Duck can often be seen here along with the odd Domestic Duck and an increasing number of Egyptian Geese (6 on this occasion), whether these are all free flying or not I have no idea.

Egyptian Goose  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Muscovy Duck  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
My favourites at Kelsey Park are the Mandarin Ducks which happily breed here, their fantastic colours dulled by their preference for the quieter areas of the lake swimming among the many overhanging trees in the lower portion of the river Beck.
Male Mandarin Duck  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Female Mandarin  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The spot of the day had to be this Teal in mid moult – the probability is that it is a Ringed Teal (note the dark red patches on its back) which have been at the park before.

Teal (probably Ringed Teal)  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Over the years the popularity of the park has meant that the wooded areas have been over-visited from a nature point of view and are heavily criss-crossed with a myriad of mini footpaths and thus especially on a busy Saturday the number of passerines seen was very low, limited on this visit to single sightings of Wren, Blackbird, and Robin whilst overhead a few Great Tits called from the upper canopy as did a large number of Ring Necked Parakeets (the pictures of the latter are taken at my parents neighbours apple tree about 2 miles from Kelsey Park in the early evening when they visited, hence poorer picture quality).

Ring Necked Parakeet  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Other bird sightings were House Sparrow, starlings, Black Headed Gull, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon and Feral Pigeon. A quick word of thanks to the lady from “The Friends of Kelsey Park” who was doing a duck count and engaged me in conversation, updating me on recent goings-on.