Sunday, 11 September 2011

Rye Harbour.

A change of scenery this morning with a trip to Rye Harbour for the Buff Breasted Sandpiper. A spur of the moment decision had myself,  Mike Gould and Steve Ashton setting off about 08.30.  Its a good hour drive from Canterbury via Ashford and across Romney Marsh,  a pleasant drive  taking in some of Kents lovely countryside before crossing in to East Sussex   .It was a very warm bright morning which encouraged lots of people out to make the most of the summer.  We made our way through the caravan park towards the scrapes where we had hoped the Sandpiper would be and on spotting a crowd ahead with scopes and binoculars we soon were enjoying close views .Photography was to be a challenge as the sun was in the wrong location, ( Late pm would be best.) so we decided to have a wander and see what else was about. We bumped into Mike Hook who joined us noting  Linnet, Wheatear, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and  Little Egret  as we made our way to one of the hides.  Not much from the hide and with the sun beating down it was decided that refreshments were needed.  After tea ( and ice creams ) we made our way back to the scrapes as a couple of hours had passed along with most people and we were able to position ourselves allowing a few photos. Also on the scrape were Curlew Sandpiper Ringed Plover and  Dunlin all coming close. its a shame that we were not here for the evening as i feel we would have nailed the photos.We didn't see many different species throughout our stay, spending nearly all our time with the Sandpipers but all in all a very enjoyable visit............... Photos 1 and 5 are Curlew Sandpiper 2-4 Buff  Breasted Sandpiper.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Stodmarsh Bitterns

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Its been a long long time since a pair of Bitterns have reared a successful brood at Stodmarsh. There has been lots of work behind the scene to encourage a pair to stay for the spring and the last few years a booming male has been heard and so hopes were high . A wonderful achievement  occurred this year when a successful  brood of three albeit at the second attempt   occurred giving hours of pleasure for those who have made a visit to see them. I spend a lot of time watching Bitterns in the winter from the Reedbed hide enduring the cold weather waiting for a fleeting view of a bird on the ice or in the air,  so to be able to watch four birds ( three juveniles and a female ) in a warm climate has been a pleasure. The camera was snapping away with lots of opportunities for all however the wind blowing the reeds about mucked up a lot of  photos. I watched on a few occasions the female arrive with food and the youngsters scrambling to be first to meet her, this was comical  as the birds were not very good at flying. They showed all the normal mannerisms of a fully fledged bird skypointing etc and i could clearly see them moving their loose throat feathers to blend in with the reeds. It was  a change to watch these birds amongst the green foliage with lots still in summer bloom adding welcome colour from the winter setting that i am used to. These birds will probably move on soon and we will have the wintering birds from Holland etc coming in to boost the numbers again. Here is a few photos from todays visit.