Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Ramsgate Merganser

I had been looking forward to this weekend as the Eastern  Black Redstart that was showing well at walpole bay thanet all through the week looked like it was going to stay,  however as with so many birds that stop off on migration in our patch it had other ideas and left Thursday evening.  Frustrating or what, I wished I went last weekend.  With Stodmarsh being fog bound photo opportunities were very few and far between,  a Common Snipe was about as good as it got and it did not look like  the fog was going to lift. I sat in the  Feast hide with Steve Ashton where we did not take long to decide to try and find the sunshine as promised by our highly skilled weather forecast team. We moved to Ramsgate harbour where we knew there was a Red Breasted Merganser showing,  this would be a life tick for me and maybe action for my rusty camera shutter.  We meet Allan Ashdown and the three of us soon found the bird looking a little bedraggled, it allowed a few photos as it swam about. I was happy to gain a tick for this bird especially after last weekend. Yesterday I had seen three different Bitterns in flight whilst at grove so I would think if you want to see one the next few weeks will start to see the numbers rising throughout the reserve.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Day To Remember

Remembrance Sunday, so many poignant memories and far to many life's lost .For me,  one of the lucky beings I will be able to remember the day for all its autumn glory and will always be grateful to those not so lucky that I can. The day started with me driving just before sunrise along stodmarsh road and through trenley wood.  The sun was starting to appear and was stunning,  the colours just wonderful.  I slowed down as I passed the rookery and memories of school boy egg collecting came flooding back to me. I looked at the trees we used to climb, and remember reaching out into the branches hanging on for dear life to gain an emerald green streaked trophy. The farmer used to give us hell if he caught us.  I carried along stopping for a photo of the sun,  it was very misty. Reaching the reserve at Stodmarsh I saw at least 10 Goldcrest, 2 Bullfinch and a small gathering of Long Tailed and Blue Tit.  By now the sun was glowing and the mist was descending on a carpet of golden leaves, wonderful.  I made my way to the marsh hide as I wanted a few pics of the Glossy Ibis with the sun on its back,  as I passed the dyke a Kingfisher flew by and 2 Water Rails played in the edge, there was lots to see here including a Grey Wagtail and a handsome Sparrow Hawk.  Male Marsh Harriers were up in the sky and my first November Bittern appeared in the distance.  From the marsh hide I had lovely views of the Ibis the sun playing on its back,  you can see where it gets its name. A good hour was spent in the hide on my own drinking tea,  interrupted only by the birds that graced the day. I moved on to the reed bed hide watching a huge flock of mixed wildfowl being chased by a Peregrine.  2 Jay,  20 Redwing with a scattering of Fieldfare were also noted. The willows have been cut to the right of the Reed bed hide making it possible to see across to the lampern wall, thanks to who ever done the work as it was well worth it .Not much apart from a Cormorant was seen so home for a well earned bacon butty .On a separate note I must add that whilst out with my wife this afternoon on a long walk with our Springer Spaniels we saw 4 Common Crane flying over heading towards Deal. This capped off a great day for me in bird land so again thanks to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for me to do so.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Marsh Hide On A Monday Morning.

I was able to spare a few hours this morning so I decided that the marsh hide at Grove would be as good a place as any to visit,  there is not much about bird wise at the moment however the Glossy Ibis was very alluring especially as I had only fleeting views on Saturday.  I walked from the Stodmarsh end of the reserve and made my way along the track towards the alders, very little to see,  a Chiffchaff being the best. As I reached the clearing I looked towards the boat house and remembered great views of Barn Owls earlier in the year as they went about feeding their hungry brood. On arriving at the hide I was the only one there for a while,  Steve Ashton joined me and we were soon watching a fair amount of action. Birds of interest  were one Ringtail,  Peregrine,  Kestrel,  Sparrowhawk,  Marsh Harrier, Ruff, lapwing ,Egret,  Water pipit,  Jay, Snipe and Heron.  The light was not kind for the camera but we managed a few shots, a few other people arrived and were pleased to see the Ibis,  not common here and yet not the first this year. Its apparent that the seasons seem to be changing, birds and insects staying longer in the field, and boundaries changing giving us lots to enjoy. The morning flashed by and we were soon heading home with work commitments looming.