Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Kent trip 30.09.13

Last Monday saw me heading for North Kent at 5a.m. First stop was Oare Marshes near Faversham. Always a pleasant reserve, easy to park and view. The target was a spotted crake that had been present for a while, in a ditch behind the East Hide. I arrived at first light and immediately noted in excess of 750 black tailed godwits and 200 redshank. A flock of 33 avocet flew in as I made my way around the sea wall to the hide at the promontory. Plenty more redshank, some dunlin and 30+ little egrets along with several calling sandwich terns on the estuary. I continued to the east hide where, after a few minutes, the spotted crake showed ofr less than 30 seconds before heading back to the bullrushes and out of view. It called several times but was not seen again. Olly Frampton, up from Hants, waited 2 hours but a no show. See http://thedirtyburtonbirder.blogspot.co.uk for his birding blog.

sunrise at Oare Marshes

Sunrise over the estuary

lapwings

black tailed godwits and redshanks

more black tailed godwits and redshank


Looking east
After returning to the car, I made my way to Cliffe Reserve. Here was a lesser yellowlegs, but as I had plenty of time I wandered off to the distant flamingo pool first, checking the redshanks and ruffs for the el yell. No sign. Several kestrel were hunting and good numbers of little and great crested grebe along with over 50 little egrets. Usual wildfowl were also noted. I met up again with Olly who had not ticked the sp crake. We checked the pools before he drove us to the far Black Barn pools. Strangely a report came up the the lesser yellow legs had just been seen here, but with only 5 of us on the reserve and no one having seen it, seemed strange to be on rare bird network. A check, into the sun. of the black barn pools gave little new, so I thanked Olly for the lift and headed back to the car park. All in all, a rather disappointing reserve that was, if I recall correctly, going to be the RSPB flagship reserve when first purchased. Plenty of anti London's 3rd airport money was pumped into the purchase of this vast reserve, but there has been no development whatsoever. In fact, there seem to be fewer birds present than 15 - 20 years ago. There seems to be no management plan, no water level management and, I suspect no check on salinity. A shame. Also, trees that held a roost of long eared owls have been removed (to attract nightingales) and the local population of over wintering Short eared owls also appears to be in decline. Not too sure what the RSPB are doing as I see it just being a burden to them unless they make some much needed investment. I shall endeavour to find out. Very little was close for a worthwhile photo, just a few little grebe and a view looking north towards the Thames estuary


Having returned to the car, I headed off to Rainham Marsh as I wanted to be through the Dartford tunnel before rush hour. Here, after a coffee, I had a good wander around, without noting anything wonderful. 5 pintails coming out of eclipse plumage were good and I heard several bearded tits near thew dragonfly pond. Again usual suspects were present but I was soon back on the car park that was the M25. and home.
All in all, not my greatest day birding, but still a joy to be out.
Species list from the day:
little grebe, great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, brent goose, shelduck, (10 sp) mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck, sparrowhawk, kestrel, (20 sp) common buzzard, pheasant, spotted crake, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, avocet, golden plover, lapwing, dunlin, (30 sp) redshank, greenshank, black tailed godwit, curlew, snipe, ruff, black headed gull, mediterranean gull, herring gull, lesser blcak backed gull (40 sp) great black backed gull, sandwich tern, stock dove, wood pigeon, collared dove, tawny owl, green woodpecker, greateer spotted woodpecker, swallow, meadow pipit, (50 sp) pied wagtail, grey wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, redwing, mistle thrush, blackbird, blackcap, chiffchaff, (60 sp) great tit, coal tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, bearded tit (heard)magpie, jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, (70 sp) starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, bullfinch, reed bunting.
In total 78 species.

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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander