Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Sunday, 19 May 2013
To see the complete "A Dusky Thrush at Margate, 18/05/13." post please visit my new web site and click on the Diary/Blog button. My new web site can be found at http://www.steveashtonwildlifephotography.co.uk or you can CLICK HERE
Friday, 17 May 2013
To see the complete "A trip to the Marsh Hide at Grove, 16/05/13" post please visit my new web site and click on the Diary/Blog button. My new web site can be found at http://steveashtonwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/ or www.steveashtonwildlifephotography.co.uk or you can CLICK HERE
Thursday, 9 May 2013
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Monday, 6 May 2013
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Wednesday, 1 May 2013
The walk along the river towards Grove was pretty uneventful, the water meadows and the Oxbow empty except for a few Geese and Lapwings. Three of the five Nightingales were heard along the river, Harrison's and the new scrapes were scanned for the Wood Sandpiper but I could not locate it. The Marsh hide was also empty but Natural England staff had a work party nearby so this could have been the reason for that. (The work has to be done) A Marsh Harrier did pass quite close in to the hide allowing a few images to be taken of this fine specimen.
About 1.00 pm and I saw my first Hobby of the day, quickly joined by others and at one point I counted 19 birds hawking insects out over the reed beds. Unfortunately the sun was high in the sky by now and it made getting images a little difficult but no doubt along with others I will return to try again in more favourable conditions.
While looking to the skies for Hobbies, the, or a Cattle Egret flew over the water meadows heading east and looked like it dropped down in the vicinity of the viewing ramp at Grove. This is probably the same bird seen on the reserve last week after it decided on an excursion to Oare Marshes for a few days. Plenty of Peacock butterflies seen today, but along with a few Whites, these were the only species of Butterfly seen. No Cuckoo's seen or heard today and only 2 this year so far, but I did have a Turtle Dove fly across the reed bed from the Lampern Wall. Not much of a return for a lot of leg work around the reserve today but still enjoyable in the sunshine with the cool Northerly breeze keeping the temperature just right for a hike. It was nice chatting to John Bull by the Tower hide this morning.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
I moved onto Grove ferry where a Turtle Dove was purring in the paddock and the Cattle Egret reported on Tuesday had returned and was feeding on the pool in front of the ramp in the company of 2 Little Egrets. I took a record shot but it was a long way off. A Cuckoo was heard between the Harrison's and the Marsh hide, a Wheatear (female) was seen in a field by the White House along with a pair of Skylark's.
I saw the Cattle Egret again on the pool to the right of the Harrison's hide later and a Common Tern was a first for me this year. Plenty of Sedge Warblers were chattering away, one giving me a chance of an image as it flew over the reed bed.
The Marsh hide produced 4 Black Tailed Godwits dressed in summer attire, 3 Redshank and a Greenshank which was another year tick for me. (If I ticked that is) I returned to my car, the Cattle Egret still to the right of Harrison's as I passed and drove around to Stodmarsh where I sat in the Reed bed hide for 30 minutes. The car park was alive with song, snippets of a Nightingale heard as I made my way down to the hide. A Green Sandpiper was bobbing in the vegetation to the left of the hide, a single Hobby was seen, the only one I noted all morning and three Marsh Harriers kept me entertained before I had to leave for work. A pity as it was an enjoyable session in summer like weather.
Thursday, 18 April 2013
A trip to try our luck with the Falcons last Sunday was aborted due to high winds, Tim Gutsell and I were struggling to stand up never mind hold a camera steady. Rest bite was sought in the shelter of the Restharrow hide at Sandwich but our only camera fodder was a Little Grebe, one of four seen on the scrape.
This morning I had some spare time but with the wind still blowing, albeit from a different direction now which thankfully has increased the temperature, I decided on the shelter of the Reed bed hide at Stodmarsh. Not much was braving the gusts but a few Marsh Harriers were seen and a pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying and it was the first time I have seen them doing their weed dance. Quite entertaining but the dancing was done at a distance, a bird coming into the pool in front of the hide just once to ward off another female Grebe that had strayed into this pair’s airspace. A few Wrens, Tits and Warblers were seen hunkering down in the Alder wood as I walked through on the way out of the reserve.
Friday, 12 April 2013
Monday, 8 April 2013
Last weekend in better conditions there was not a lot to point the camera at locally. A solitary Common Crane spent a couple of days on the Grove ferry reserve, Saturday giving us distant views and after a text from Martyn Wilson alerting me to its continued presence on Sunday morning, I was able to get a few record images of the bird as it mainly preened in front of the Marsh hide. It was still fairly distant and needing the converter on to get any sort of shot at all, but half decent record images were obtained if nothing else. The Crane flew out from the reserve late morning heading in an easterly direction, gaining height and was watched with a Grey Heron for company as it headed for the East Kent coast line. By paging and Twitter reports it now seems to of settled on the Worth marshes between Sandwich and Deal.
I noted 7 Water Pipits from my vantage point a little way down the track from the Marsh hide, where I waited in anticipation of the Crane deciding to stretch its wings, and a Marsh Harrier flew over head allowing a burst of shots, the results not as good as I was expecting. A wander through the Alder wood where the Penduline Tit was conspicuous by its absence but a flock of Redpolls were seen feeding on the path and a good substitute. Best of the rest were a pair of Water Rails seen fighting from the Marsh hide, a couple of singing Chiffchaffs on the fringes of the Alder wood and 2 Common Buzzards seen drifting high over the reserve on Sunday.
Late on Sunday afternoon I was walking locally and kicked up a Common Buzzard that was hiding on a piece of set-aside ground to the edge of a farmer’s field. It flew low over my head as I rattled off a few shots and watched through my binoculars as it settled in a tree a few hundred metres away. I also found what I am sure was a pile of Barn Owl feathers below a large Oak tree. Can anyone tell me if Barn Owls fall prey to predators, I would have thought they were too big? It was just a pile of feathers with no bones just like what you would find left from a Sparrow-hawk kill. An unwelcome sight was a Mink travelling along the stream that runs through this site. It stopped to check me out before carrying on as bold as brass and not concerned that I was there at all. One animal which definitely looks better as a Ladies coat.