Monday, 28 January 2013

Big Garden Birdwatch and a Trip to Elmley Marshes

It was rather a lovely weekend. Despite the forecast of rain on both Saturday and Sunday we were lucky enough to miss it on both days!

We went for a nice walk on Saturday morning with blue skies and that bright thing we hadn't seen for a while, the sun I think they call it! There were quite a few fieldfares around, as well as possible mistle thrush or two, however flew off before we could confirm.

We had a bit of a job getting the puppy clean and dry as he likes to play with the towel. Once settled kept an eye on the garden so could start the hour of birding for the RSPB big garden birdwatch. Let the pup into the garden and heard Long tailed tits, so quickly called him in so he didn't disturb them then started my hour! 9 LTT turned up along with a great tit and chaffinch, a blue tit which visited 3 or 4 times in the hour. A few house sparrows visited the nut feeder, a couple of blackbirds hopped about, the resident pair of collard doves and a little robin all adding to the total. Not sure where the 10 or so starlings which usually visit disappeared to, and shame the wren didn't make an appearance and the great spotted woodpecker which made his d├ębut last week. In the front garden there were 8 or so sparrows at one time, along with a dunnock that fed on the ground. All in all 9 species and 29 birds in total!

Long tailed tit


Blue tit

Yesterday we headed over to the Isle of Sheppey, to visit the RSPB reserve Elmley Marshes. On our way over we saw 2 buzzards and then we had just entered the reserve and a kestrel landed in a tree in front of us. As we drove, or rather crawled, along the winding country road to the car park area, we saw hundreds of lapwings, a large flock of curlew. A lone skylark fluttered along in front of the car, twittering away! When we got walking we saw a few teal and widgeon down on the flooded marshes. Again lots of curlew and probably dunlin and knot. We also noted a solitary little egret and a couple of shelduck flying over. We just turned to head back as it was rather chilly and I spotted a hare! First one of the year! Luckily it was close enough to get a few photos! Could have stopped and watched it all afternoon but pup was restless, he isn't such a keen twitcher! We also saw the usual suspects, marsh harriers, always a pleasure to watch.




Pup got bored of waiting for us to watch birds and lay down in the grass...

And now for the star of the show...

No, not the sheep!

How do you do

On our way back along the lane there were lots of cars pulled up, presumably something interesting had been spotted. We could see a number of knot and also probably a fair few ruff or maybe they were redshank, but maybe they weren't and we missed out on a fabulously rare bird!

Here are a couple of blurry photos, any comments on idenification would be welcomed!

Anyway pretty good weekend all in all! Hope everyone else did too! 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Wood you look at that!

Yesterday my mum and I were just sitting eating our lunch, watching the birds come and go, as usual. I then saw something with a red bottom... our first great spotted woodpecker! We've seen one on a nearby tree before, but they have never fed on the peanuts that we put out! Must be the cold weather!
I got a few photos from the back door, but I didn't want to open the door and frighten it away.

We also had chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, robin, song thrush, sparrow, starling and blackbird in the garden all at the same time! I think that must be a record for our little garden! Wish it was garden birdwatch this weekend, would have been a cracker! Haven't had any visits from the LTTs recently though. Well I guess they may have popped by whilst we weren't watching!

Anyway here are a couple of my photos

Friday, 18 January 2013

Better late than never... first post of 2013!

Well, not got off to a brilliant start to the new year with regards to posting frequently... Don't even really have a very good excuse other than been fairly busy I guess! Been out walking lots with the pup but don't often take my camera or bins, and see the regulars; chaffinch, blackbird, song thrush, various tits, lots of fieldfares and starlings around also.

Our brief snow flurry earlier this week resulted in it settling for about 2 hours until it all melted, I did get a few nice photos though...

Blackbird with a snowy beak

Collared dove

Pup with a snowy nose, ready to jump into the flower bed!

I had a driving lesson on Wednesday and as I was driving back towards home, there was the most beautiful hazy sunset. When I got home my mum informed me she had seen 12 waxwings at Whitstable Tesco. Gutted I missed out on seeing them.

Anyway yesterday we seized the opportunity to go out for a wintry walk down to Seasalter, have a wander along the sea wall and along the beach. The main thing to note were about 400 gulls looking rather lovely on the estuary lit by afternoon sun. I think they were a mixture of gulls, they aren't really my strong point so could have been just a mixture of juveniles and adults. Well I took a few photos but they were quite far away, if anyone would like to enlighten me if there are any gulls which look exciting to them, please do leave a comment! There were a few turnstones, a couple of ringed plover and also knot around and we were also delighted to have a shelduck fly by!

Beautiful calm water
They are quite far away, but any ideas? We both also wondered what the group of black birds were to the right of the photo..

Ringed plovers

Turnstones in flight


Our naughty pup

More gulls


Shame about the pylons but it was such a lovely sunset!

As I said above any comments on the gulls would be welcomed :)

I will try and post again a bit sooner!