Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Spring is beginning to get sprung

There was quite a lot of Spring activity amongst the birds at the Restharrow Scrape, Sandwich Bay today. As soon as I sat down in the hide I was aware of the strange call that an amorous Lapwing uses to seduce his partner. The drake Shovelers were chasing around and Drake Teal were parading round the ducks. A noisy Pied Wagtail was feeding in front of the hide, almost continuously uttering what passes for a song. The Little Egret was just going about it business quietly, while the Dabchicks were frequently braying loudly, one of my favourite noises in the bird world. There are still a few snipe around, and when disturbed on in front of the hide, squatted down and waved it's tail at the world. Although not as colourful as the drakes the teal ducks are now very smart. A lone Wigeon remains, and it was asleep on the island, while the Tufted Ducks at the back of the island were hold a bad hair day competition. At the far end of the scrape a few Curlews were standing around, or preening, and a lone adult Lesser Black-backed Gull looked smart amongst the juveniles. A few Drake Gadwalls tried to impress the ducks. I saw just one Oystercatcher on the island, hopefully they will raise a brood as the youngsters are always entertaining..

 Pair of Lapwings.

 Shoveler drakes

 Drake Teal

Male Pied Wagtail 

 little Egret

 Little Grebe (Dabchick)

Common Snipe 

 Duck Teal

Sleeping Eurasian Wigeon 

Punk Tufted Ducks. 

preening  Curlew 

 Drake Gadwall.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull 

Oystercatcher - just appeared.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

A visit from Doris

Storm Doris has been blowing all day and I wandered down to the Bay to see what she had brought in. There were a lot of Guillemots passing and a few Great Crested Grebes bouncing around, but the most noticeable birds were the Gannets, passing far closer then Normal.Most of the birds I saw were adults, but I don't know if that has significance.

One or two Rock Pipits were feeding along the "esplanade", often using the railing posts for  shelter when the biggest gusts came along.

A few lines of Cormorants came past low over the water

Inland, at the Manure dump from the stables, there were at least seven Pied Wagtails feeding on the insects attracted there. Unfortunately they were the only birds there.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Sturnus vulgaris, a unflattering scientific handle.

Starlings,once so numerous are now much reduced, but still one of my favourites. Full of character and stunningly beautiful when you look closely.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Winter has arrived. well almost.

The weather has been pretty cold over the last few days and it has brought a lot of activity to the garden feeders,

Although the Song Thrush is still a relatively common bird it is declining in numbers. Why it is in trouble is still being investigated, but it has become a less frequent visitor in the garden. I was good to see one gleaning under the feeders, once the frost had vanished.

As Usual Chaffinches were just about the most numerous bird round the garden, and once I'd removed the ice and replaced the water in the bath they made use of the facilities.

When I first got this feeder it didn't seem to attract as many birds the conventional ones. Now it is very popular and often the first to be emptied, and a faourite of the House Sparrows.

Back to the facilities, a mass of splashes comes from the bird bath.

Once the splashing subsides a smart Starling emerges from the cold water.

Lots of Blackbirds around at the moment, and with the frosty ground they are pleased with the free supply of bits of sunflower hearts fdropped from above,

Another ground feeder, this Dunnock is by-passing the ice that was taken off the bath.

It's been good the see an increase of healthy looking Greenfinches in the garden. A disease called Trichomonosis caused the rapid decline of the British Greenfinch population that was first noted in late summer 2006.

This year numbers seem they seem to have increased, so fingers crossed. It is important to keep feeders and bird baths clean.

Not all Blackbirds are black, the females are brown, as are immature males until the moulrt to their adult plumage.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A boost to my very fledgling year list.

A visit to the Restharrow Scrape at Sandwich Bay and a drive along The Ancient Highway was fun.,and provided some great views of a Short-eared Owl.

Before I got to the Scrape I stopped to watch a Kestrel hunting from the wires.

A group of four Curlew and a Common Gull at the back of the Scrape.

Among the many Teal there was one pair of Wigeon.

A party of Black-headed Gulls flew over the hide.

In the distance a Common Buzzard sat on a post with two Crows acting as minders

A Little Egret flew from the far edge to have a quick feed in the near by reeds before returning to the back.

Sparrowhawk. This bird flew through, causing a bit of commotion and landed on the back fence.

There were about 10 Common Snipe in view, but no sign of the Jack while I was there.

A noisy bunch of about 60 Greylags flew in, almost drowning out the chatter of the photographers in the hide.

 Nice to see some of the Drake Shovelers are in their breeding season finery now.

Short-eared Owl. Always a thrill when one comes into view as you drive along the Ancient highway.

After a while it came to rest on a post, not too distant,