Thursday, 29 January 2015

Smew at Dungeness.(25/01/15)

Saturday 25th and a trip to the Scott hide on the RSPB reserve at Dungeness. The target was the Smew that had been photographed by several photographers during the preceding week. 1 male and 6 female birds were seen and I was able to get a few images as the Smew came in to plunder Perch from the reedy fringes of the pit to either side of the hide.  Side on light made things a little tricky and our plan to stay until the sun moved round behind the hide was dashed when just after midday the sun disappeared and cloud rolled in from the west, signalling our departure. A great couple of hours spent with these smart looking Sawbills.

Click on the photo for full size.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

A second look at the Lydd Cattle Egrets. (30/12/14)

I accepted an invitation from Tim Gutsell to join him on a trip to Lydd as he had not yet caught up with the 2 Cattle Egrets currently residing in a cow field along the Denge Marsh Road. They were not there at first so we had an hour in the hide on the ARC pit where 3 Bitterns were seen, albeit distantly on the far reed fringes, leaving a Chiffchaff feeding in the reeds in front of the hide to occupy us with our cameras.

We then returned to the field along the Denge Marsh road, (Tim briefly stopping to allow me a distant shot of a Common Buzzard sitting on a fence post) where the two Cattle Egrets flew in and foraged for food just a few metres from our vantage point in the corner of the field by the horse stables. They seemed totally oblivious to the small gathering of photographers and bird watchers that joined us throughout our hour long stay.

Monday, 29 December 2014

2014. (The top ten best bits) Part 2.

Although I keep telling myself it was a pretty poor year regarding birds seen and photographed, when re-calling events, it was not quite so bad. Here is part 2 of my top ten birding and photographic highlights of 2014.

5th Place.

In 5th place, the Isabelline Shrike seen down a track on the Worth marshes between Sandwich and Deal. Along with Alan Ashdown and Bernie Weight, we waited all day but eventually the Shrike came close enough for some photo's. This was another "first" for me. (Can't be too bad a year if an Isabelline Shrike only made it to No 5)

4th Place.

A smart looking Male Desert Wheatear turned up at Reculver during November, taking up residence for 4 days on rocks just east of the towers. Reculver being just a few miles from my house, I was able to visit on each day it remained and enjoyed catching up with several faces that are only normally seen on these type of "twitches" A smart looking North African visitor and only my second ever Desert Wheatear, the first being a female bird seen on the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club at Sandwich back in 2008.

3rd Place.

It was hard to decipher from the top 3 birding/photo moments of the year but they go as follows.Not a rare bird but a late Spring afternoon in the Marsh hide at Grove with the sun setting behind and a superb Drake Garganey dropping in, takes the third spot. With no one for company I had 20 minutes snapping away at this smart little duck. (This could easily of made No 1)

The Runner up.

Two trips to Ashdown Forest in east Sussex were rewarded with great views of a Short-toed Eagle. This was my first ever wild Eagle seen in the U.K and with a bit of patience we were able to get some decent record shots of the bird. Two great days and a cracking bird.

My top bird/photo Opportunity from 2014.

The best for me during 2014 was a new bird again, a Long-tailed Skua seen last August along the Selsey peninsular in west Sussex. Normally, Skua's for me are viewed as dots out to sea in weather that tells you  that you should not be there looking out to sea. This Long-tailed Skua let a small gathering of photographers get to within just a few metres and a number of images were taken throughout my day long stay. They are a lot smaller than I imagined, very agile in flight, evident as I watched the bird out over the sea bullying the Terns into releasing their catches. An extremely smart looking Skua.

And that's that, another year over and it soon all starts again. I would like to thank everyone who visits my blog, web and Flickr site and also to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

2014. (The top ten best bits) Part 1.

Another year older but not too sure about being any wiser. A little different from past years, (normally a yearly review) I have listed in reverse order my 10 best birding and photo opportunities that came my way during 2014. Some are remembered for their rarity appeal and some just because they were obliging and easy to photograph.

10th Place.

 The easy to find but extremely difficult to photograph Hume's Leaf Warbler, seen on each of 3 visits to Ramsgate cemetery during January of last year. This was a new species for me.

9th Place.

The Kingfisher seen on the post in front of the Feast hide at Grove ferry. After numerous visits I finally connected with a bird, fishing and staying on the perches for over an hour. Not rare but a spectacular looking bird all the same.

8th Place.

 The Red Kites at Gigrin in mid Wales, this year being my 4th visit. Big birds, plenty of them and close to the hides, a photographers dream.

7th Place.

 The Peregrines always seem to be a highlight during the year.

6th Place.

And concluding the first part of my yearly highlights, in 6th place, the young Red-backed Shrike that was seen by the yacht club at Seasalter. I think viewing Shrikes if local should be made compulsory.

That's the first 5 places all sewn up in part 1. 
I would like to wish any visitors to my blog, web or flickr site a happy and peaceful Christmas. 
Part 2 to follow, tune in to find out my top 5 personal birding or photographic moments of 2014. (It sounds a bit like a soap opera lol)

End of part 1.