Sunday, 31 August 2014

Gotcha !!!

Several visits to the Feast hide at Grove ferry during the past three weeks, finally paying off with a female Kingfisher visiting the perch and staying for 90 minutes, allowing for a few images. (Well about 800 actually) A few posted below.

One smart bird.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Passing the time at Grove ferry.

During the past week I have made a few sortie's to the reserve at Grove ferry, mainly in the Feast hide trying unsuccessfully to catch the Kingfisher on one of the posts. A male has been seen on several occasions but although landing now and then on the nearest post, (it seems to make a bee line for the same post) the post is too near to the hide and any slight movement or shutter noise from within the hide results in a hastily departing Kingfisher. The post needs moving back onto the island side of the dyke, in line with its current position and I will ask Ben Ring (one of the reserve warden's) if he can do this when I see him next. Whilst in the hide Herons were frequent visitors to the pool, but the Tern raft being the nearest I could photograph them so the 1.4x converter was required. Not ideal but okay if the light is fairly decent.

A Grey Heron did fly in front of the hide and landed for a few seconds, allowing for a couple of close up shots.

A Cormorant was seen on the Tern raft, wing drying after fishing in the pool in front of the hide, the feather detail highlighted in the morning sun.

Several Water Rails were noted, at least 6, but alas no Spotted Crake yet. The water level seems to be dropping, the pool just a couple of inches deep in places so hopefully soon one will turn up but after today where it has rained all day, the levels may of risen slightly. I managed a couple of images of a juvenile Water Rail as it skulked about in the vegetation in front of the hide.

On Sunday, after spending a couple of hours in the hide alongside Andy Hills where 6 Common Snipe thought about landing on the pool but decided against it and a Green Sandpiper deciding the pool was to its liking, a somewhat poor wader count, I moved off to join Martyn Wilson, Sue Morton, Alan Ashdown and Dave Sutton whom were parked between the Harrison's and Middle drove. They got me onto a Whinchat, one of seven seen all in view at the same time, the most I have ever seen at any one time and easily a Grove record for me, having only seen this species here singly. Whilst remarking about a tweet received from Chris Hindle, alerting people to the sighting of a Honey Buzzard flying South over Reculver, Martyn was already on what I presume was the same bird, high over the boat house on the Grove road, where he then picked out a 2nd bird along with 2 Common Buzzards. We were buzzed by a couple of Hobbies, their numbers considerably down on the reserve this year which ia a major disappointment and a couple of Sparrow hawks put in an appearance making for a decent raptor tally. There were high numbers of Warblers on the reserve, feeding up in preparation for their long journey back south, and a flock of at least 50+ Goldfinches seen. The camera action came from the hide, a Little Egret gracing the pool and again with the aid of the converter, a few images were taken. I am not a fan of converters, but with some good light a few useable images can be gained, which is better than no images at all.

On the way out of the reserve on Sunday, we saw 2 Brown Hawkers along the entrance track, several Migrant Hawkers and even more Common Darters. A solitary Willow Emerald was also seen.

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Long-tailed Skua in West Sussex (14/08/14)

A spur of the moment decision saw me successfully twitch the Long-tailed Skua that has been present along the Selsey peninsular in West Sussex for the past fortnight. I met up with Mick Davis and John Stanton who had both been to see the bird earlier in the week and knew roughly what the birds preferred habits were. During the day all three of us managed superb views of the Skua which was a new bird for me and a few photo opportunities came from the daylong session.

Many thanks to Mick and John who made the day easy with their local knowledge, thanks also to Lee Evans who kindly aged the bird as a most likely 4th Summer bird, (5th calendar year) his reasons behind these thoughts being that a full adult, (a bird in its 6th calendar year) has an all dark under wing, some barring being attained by adults in their 3rd, 4th and 5th summers. This barring can be seen in a few of the above images.  (What an educational blog this is, lol) 
I left Selsey just before 5.00pm, the 30 miles to Brighton taking longer than it did to travel from Brighton to home. Chichester, Arundel and Worthing are a nightmare in the rush hour, but still a great day out and hopefully a few more bird arrivals so that I can plan more "spur of the moment" excursions.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Rarities, Scarcities and good old common Waders.

 A couple of afternoon trips to Oare during the past week, enjoying warm sunshine and seeing a few quality birds as well. Water levels are still a little high at the moment, leaving the muddy edges a bit too far out from the road, but a few usable images were taken from the pull in alongside the east flood with the aid of the 1.4x converter. Not ideal but it beats lugging a huge lens around with me. A Wood Sandpiper was present, one of my favourite waders, and 4 Curlew Sandpipers were my first of the year.

Also year ticks I think, if my memory serves me correctly, were Murray Wright and Geoff Burton who kindly put me onto the Bonaparte's Gull which was sitting out on the flood in amongst a raft of Black-headed Gulls. Although distant and in truth too distant, I fired off a few shots as a memento of the grand occasion. (That's where the digi-scoping scores Murray)

I had a text message from Mark Chidwick informing me that a Spoonbill had landed on the flood earlier and it was easily picked out sleeping on one of the islands at the back of the flood. After trekking around to the sluice in the South Eastern corner of the reserve and finding the Spoonbill was no closer from there, keeping up the theme of snapping objects which were far too far away to be snapped, I took a record shot of the bird.

Back at the pull in alongside the road, it was great to catch up with Mark Tomlins and Grant Demar, having not seen Mark for over a year and Grant  for even longer.
With the aid of Sue Morton's scope, I was able to get better views of the summer dressed Sanderling, (thanks Sue) which is a rare event for me, having only ever seen 2 Sanderling in summer plumage previously. It was hard work picking it out from the hundreds of dozing Black-tailed Godwits.  Whilst looking for this bird, I also came across a summer plumaged Knot, another good looker. A pleasant couple of visits and I would think more to come during the late summer months, especially as it now seems that Backsands at Sandwich has been lost.