Saturday, 14 October 2017

They come in 3's

No....not buses....

For years, it seems, and its probably true, I've been chasing Ospreys around England....well...Sussex and Kent anyway....always ending up a day late to the particular reservoir of their choice.  I well remember listening to an older lady at Arlington telling me how, every day for the past three days, she had witnessed that particular bird feeding and flying around....marvellous....!

So after years of chasing them around....and the last I saw was one in Canada many moons back....I found one in Morocco at the pungent Oued Sous near Agadir....I was then lucky enough to see the recent visitor to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve....and possibly even luckier to see the one at Furnace Pond, Horsmonden.

So....none for many years...and, as per the bus rule.....3 come along at once....or nearly at once...


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Return....slightly

Such pleasure as there is, is here, now. Take pleasure as it comes.  Take work as it comes.  The end may never come, or when it does it may be the wrong end.
                                         Wendell Berry

0915 - 1200 overcast, grey, occasionally bright, one shower WSW f2-4

A meander with DH along the pits and back....

 A Gadwall and a Shoveler showed signs of things to come....maybe these two were the early returners.....nice to see them on island pit.  Other than that the water held Mallards, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Coots, Tufted Ducks....

100+ Black-headed Gulls were between middle and west pit as well as out on the fields as the farmer was working in the field.  A few Herring Gulls were mingled amongst them

The tit party that went past had Blue, Great and Long-tailed in it.  A few Blackbirds were around and plenty of Robins, a Mistle Thrush flew over the west side of the quarry.  A small flock of Linnets and a small flock later of Goldfinches passed by.  Several Reed Buntings were south of island pit.  A number of Skylark went over calling.

A Kestrel was swooping around, being beset by Feral Pigeons, Crows and Jackdaws or some of the gulls.......one of the Buzzards was calling continually south of the  quarry area, where its been located for a number of weeks now.  It was seen briefly the far side of the field before it moved slightly east to some trees.  A Great-spotted Woodpecker was seen close by reversing down a tree.

30+ Meadow Pipits went over.

A nice stroll out on a bit of  blustery day....but its always good to get out....take pleasure as it comes...

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

It's a beautiful sunset, sir.....or.....Wilsons Phalarope

Sgt. Arthur Wilson: It's a beautiful sunset, sir.
Cpt. George Mainwaring: It's a beautiful land, Wilson. They're not going to get it, you know. We shall fight them until we have just one round each, and we'll use that on ourselves!
[pause]
Cpt. George Mainwaring: By the way, how much ammunition have we got?
Sgt. Arthur Wilson: [trying not to laugh] One round each, sir!
                                           Dads Army

Today or probably not at all....a trip to Oare Marshes....always a pleasure.  A great place to go birding.


Arrived on site at 1000 having done the school run....

1000 - 1200 occasional sunshine, some high cloud SW f2-4 cool to cold

....and as I pulled up in the car there, walking toward me having parked in the car park, was the effervescent John Cantelo.....so I took the opportunity to introduce myself.....having spoken to John via Facebook about my trip to Andaluscia last year and him having given directions for the Bonapartes Gull a few weeks ago....

....so off we ambled to see if e could find the Wilsons Phalarope.  To find it had just 'gone behind that big clump'.....John moved further along the road and re located it and took the time to get it in the scope for me.

Excellent.  Distant, but doing the crazy circular erraticism.

I located the Long-billed Dowitcher in its usual place.....it was feeding amongst some Lapwing statues.

A scan around found plenty of Ringed Plover, Teal, Godwits, Avocet, Dunlin, a few Ruff....a Stonechat was calling and eventually posed on a fence post.  Meadow Pipits were all around the site calling....a Cettis Warbler joined in.  There were House Sparrows and Linnets too....Pied Wagtails.....Skylarks.....

Scanning the pool again I located a Curlew Sandpiper feeding close to the shore with some Dunlin....a bit of movement out on the mud and three Little Stint were feeding.

I parked the car near the car park, it was pretty crowded today....and decided to have a meander round....first bird up was a Wheatear by the slipway....


Curlew had been calling distantly whilst I was at the pool and now two flew across the water....not a huge amount to see on the way round....


....two Little Egrets were feeding in the creek....


...plenty of Goldfinch were just east of the hide on the south side....they were accompanied by a few Linnet, a Starling, a Meadow Pipit and a Greenfinch....

Back at the pool the crowd had increased quite a lot...maybe 20 or so when I arrived, it was now probably double that....


.......however....the Phalarope had come considerably closer than earlier...


.....at least three Little Stints were present feeding in the same area as was the Dowitcher and Curlew Sandpiper....

It may be pressing toward cooler times....but the Bristly Oxtongue ws still blooming bright yellow...


Friday, 29 September 2017

Im going to use the C word....

0915 - 1045 overcast, brightening, occasional light rain SW f1-2

Changing colours of Autumn

A few Chiffchaffs were calling at the gate on the way in....the Buzzards near by were also calling...

2 Grey Wagtails were near the concrete apron, nice and bright and nice to see. 

Update on Tarmac....thanks to DH, re-training as a detective possibly, they have applied for permission to keep he pits basically as they are for at least the next year, with potential to do something then....so all we can do is watch that space....

In the meantime, I'm unsure who is coming in and taking the sand...but these piles have contained mining bees over the past couple of years....but not any more....


Apart from that not too much to report, little on the water apart from 2 Cormorants, approximately 25 Black-headed Gulls and the usual Mute Swan / Great Crested Grebe families.  A flock of around 50 Linnet were on the south side of the west pit.

Around the quarry area and along the straight plenty of these can be found....Puffballs I believe..


Now the C word....Christmas.....today was Sloe collection date, they will be off to the freezer for a day or so to soften them further and imitate the first frost....then in to the bottle with the Gin...for Christmas jollity....!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Yesterday...

...theres a song in there somewhere....

0900 - 1200 cool but warming, brightening though cloudy on/off

3 hours...not a huge amount of birding done...more....opening up of opportunities.....

But what was there was nice to note....Buzzards were still calling around the quarry area...no doubt the juvenile requesting lunch!  Talking of juveniles....or immatures....the young Great Crested Grebes are still constantly bothering their parents....

The highlights were the three Kestrels over and around island pit, clearly together....three Chiffchaffs were singing.....and the 100++ Swallow / House Martin flock that was passing slowly over heading SW....

Sunday, 3 September 2017

J.M.W. time of year....

0600 - 0800 brightening, misty, gradually clearing, cool

Autumn mornings.....the Turner time of year...(https://www.william-turner.org/)

A meander round the pits to see if much is happening....and the answer is....not really....

Still very little on the pits themselves...a few Greylags and the usual calling juvenile Great Creseted Grebes to their parents....a Lesser Black-backed Gull lumbered by....


2 Buzzards were calling to each other from trees on opposite sides of the quarry area.   A group of Blackbirds, 6, were together on the long straight.  One highlight was probably the 20 or so Reed Buntings at west pit.


The other highlight was a Chiffchaff singing brightly....and though I missed the Phalarope at Oare yesterday this more than made up for it.....fabulous.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Oare for the Phalarope

.....or not as it turns out.....

0600 - 0840 quite cool to start but warming slowly, clear, slight breeze

Arriving at 0600.....



.........the first apparent bird was the Long-billed Dowitcher, looking smaller and neater than the Godwits it stood with....the small group in the lower photo....small, neat....and long bill....it really was obvious....son after it was flying away to join the much larger collection of birds on the east flood...

Despite some time scoping the east flood it became apparent that the Phalarope had disappeared....a few other birders were looking too and for the next couple of hours the search was fruitless....maybe it turned up in the afternoon...?

There was certainly plenty to keep me entertained though starting with Cettis Warblers...good numbers of Godwits.....Golden Plover....Dunlin....a few Ruff....Snipe...Avocets....Starlings.... Curlew....Yellow Wagtails....a Water Rail....

During a walk round I found several Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler....from the creek side I could see a Wheatear quite well tucked away....

A group of birders had gathered near the hide and volunteered that a Curlew Sandpiper was present which I managed to locate...a nice tick for me!....before it meandered behind the reeds....

A nice couple of hours out, shame about the Phalarope but birds do have wings....so be it...maybe next time....