Thursday, 4 April 2013

Bank holiday and a Penduline Tit.

    I've been stuck indoors for the last few weeks decorating, the camera put to one side its been full steam
    ahead with the paint brush and rollers. I think I am losing the plot somewhere but I am sure if it had have
    been better weather I would have been out in the country air doing what I do best, enjoying it. This bank
    holiday weekend I ventured out into the cold in search of the White Spotted Bluethroat which had taken
    up residence at Samphire Hoe. I had three mornings there seeing it on each occasion but rarely getting a
    photo opportunity. However, at least the tea hut was open. It was absolutely freezing in the cold north
    easterly wind but a few hours on each visit was spent none the less. Sunday morning Steve Ashton picked
    me up early and we had intended to go to Dungeness however with sunshine on the forecast we again
    headed for the hoe. On arrival we soon found the Bluethroat feeding along a newly dug trench. It was
    difficult trying to get a picture because it was in and out the trench and only briefly sitting up. More people
    arrived and the bird disappeared, we soon followed as it was so cold and headed along the path below
    the cliffs towards Folkstone. We watched a pair of Peregrines put on a stunning display high in the sky,
    climbing to tremendous heights then diving using the wind and aerodynamics to the best of  their
    advantage, simply stunning to see. We sheltered at the path end where there was a small wall. The flask
    of hot tea was most welcome whilst we watched a few Rock Pipits. Stonechat, Chiffchaff and a possible
    Tree Pipit were also noted. We made our way back against the wind it was a real battle and on arrival
    at the car decided to go to St Margarets where there was a male Bluethroat seen earlier. Joined by Mike
    Gould the three of us found the dung heap where the bird had been spotted but it was not visible. Apart
    from two Green Woodpeckers not a lot was seen, neither of us had a photo to show for the day,
    frustrating or what, especially as the sun was out. I was off work Tuesday morning so with the sun shinning
    again (that's twice this year) I headed for Stodmarsh and the long staying Penduline Tit. Again meeting
    Steve we enjoyed the sun and good views of the bird.  A few pictures were obtained and I also noted
    three Chiffchaff a stunning Cetti;s Warbler, two Blue Tits and a great view of a soaring Marsh Harrier
    looking magnificent against the blue sky.
                                                        White Spotted Bluethroat.   (female)      

                                                                               Penduline Tit.

      This is only my second blog of the year its a bit slow I know but if a few more photo opportunities come
      about there will be more. I did have a close encounter with a Slavonian Grebe back in January, again
      dull weather played a big part with the photos I obtained.

                                                                       Slavonian Grebe.

Friday, 18 January 2013

A New Start With Winter Up The Woods

I thought I had better make a start with the blog as January is nearly half way through. Ive decided as its
 the first for the new year that I would change the blog title.  I have been to Stodmarsh a few times not seeing much of note except for two different female Hen Harriers and a Bittern close in by the reed bed hide. Its been so muddy in fact the path to the marsh hide has been just passable. The camera didn't come out of the bag as the sky's were so grey so it was back to the woods to try for some action with the woodland birds. Much the same as my last photos but I will share them anyway. First up is the Marsh Tit, my favourite by far, although it would take second place if  I could only locate Willow Tits locally. I watched them regularly back in the 80,s.

                                                                          Marsh Tit..

                                                                        Marsh Tit.

                                                                           Marsh Tit.

     I've visited the woods two or three times this year hoping for the sun to shine but as usual on arrival the
     sun has disappeared making exposure tricky. For me the Coal Tit is the hardest to capture as the whites
     can easily over expose and they are extremely skittish.

                                                                              Coal Tit.  

                                                                          Coal Tit.

                                                                            Coal Tit.

        As said earlier I once knew where Willow Tits could be seen and I have managed to find an old  photo
       of one back in the 80s. .A characteristic of Willow Tits is they bore out rotten stumps for their nest site      
       as this pair had done to nest in along with several other pairs in a lose colony.Sadly this top woodland
        bird is now extinct locally.

                                                                     Willow Tit.
      Next up is the Great Tit , there were several on the go they are another tricky one to get right with the
                                                                         Great Tit.
                                                                           Great Tit.

       Two Blue Tit shots next, such  colourful birds  that we take for granted,  hopefully it won't be to long
       before we hear the sound of them  as they start to sort out their territories.      

                                                                              Blue Tit.

                                                                         Blue Tit.

     This Chaffinch joined in the fun it seemed huge against the smaller Tits and was happy to pose for the

      This woodland beauty was a joy to watch and for a while it came to gather seeds and nuts and I could
      see where it was stashing them. I can;t take to many Nuthatch photo's they are fantastic to watch.


       And so there you are that is what I have been up to, nothing exciting but several enjoyable hours away
       from the rat race. Not a lot different from my last blog from 2012 and  no doubt I will be back up the
      woods for more very soon.