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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

20th November

Two weeks in and thoroughly bored, 4 weeks to go....jeeez....at least I'm nice and warm indoors while the temperature is dropping outside. I am feeling a lot better in myself now, although my mobility is deteriorating, I am now unable to manage indoors on the crutches, so i have to use the wheelchair all the time.
Our resident sparrow-hawk has been showing itself most days, scaring the high numbers of starlings off the pylon. Two goldcrests have been on the conifer at the bottom of the garden, but the garden is particularly quiet and the feeders are hardly used, probably due to a neighbours cat spending most of its time hunting there...grrrr.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

7th November

Well where do i start?! So much has happened since my last blog, but ive not really had the motivation to update here....so here goes.......
First job today was to remove the semi p from the year list, the distant views we had were inconclusive so i will not count it.
I now have my new electric wheelchair, so once i get a more practical vehicle, ill be able to get out and about as the chair is able to go offroad/all terrain. As nice as it is the jag wont take it!
My working career is now officially over, i have been discharged from my old job, so i am now a state scrounger! I have my disabled badge for the car, disabled pass for the buses, and awaiting confirmation to order a motability vehicle.
I am now volunteering for the rspb at dungeness as a 'Guide in a Hide' although lately the hide has been the visitor centre.
I am currently in Canterbury hospital awaiting transport home, where I have been ordered to have complete bedrest for 6 weeks......OH MY GOD!!!!
More to come...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Friday 13th

The way my luck has been the last 18 mnths, i was definately going to to be carefull and stay at home today seeing as it is friday 13th!
Phone call.....semi palmated sandpiper on burrows.....i just had to do it. Arrived at makepeace, was pointed in the right direction and found it tagging along with2 little stints....life tick! Thanks Wendy for the phone call.
It did stay at distance so i was unable to get any pics. Apparently it has been spending a bit of time in front of firth hide, so after a while i relocated to there hoping it would come and join me for a photo session, but not to be. Other birds of note at firth, were ringed plovers, 7 ruff, bartailed godwit, greenshank, 3 snipe, a few dunlin and the juvenile black tern. After a while i made my way back to the visitor centre, for a coffee and a chat.
Getting used to the wheelchair now, especially since ive got a nice new comfy cushion. I need to put my engineering skills to the test to set up a scope support on it.
My mobile phone died recently, and i havent been able to get any of my numbers off, so anyone who knows me, please ring me or text me so that i can get your number back.
I will post a few pics later from my recent trips out.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

13th August

Managed a few hrs today, started at ARC with 3 greenshank, 4 little egret, 2 common sandpipers, 2 ringed plover, 1 redshank, 6 blacktail godwits didn't last long though, Lucy and the crew turned up to give the landscape in front of the screen a much needed haircut. Over to main reserve where I sat in Firth hide for a while watching 2 wood sandpipers keep their distance so that I couldn't get a good shot of them! another redshank noted, the 6 blackwits settled there from ARC as well. Ringed plover, juv pied wagtails, linnets and oystercatcher and a female Garganey also in view. 2 Black neck grebes still hanging around, a little gull and 2 Egyptian geese also dropped in. A splendid summer plumage grey plover was also in front of Makepeace.
Just watching my garden while typing this up just as a sparrowhawk slammed into a bush and grabbed a house sparrow! Finally saw the green woodpecker which has been very vocal over the last few days fly over.

Egyptian Goose

Little Egret

Redshank

Wood Sandpiper with 2 Blacktailed Godwits

Wood Sandpiper
Greenshank

Thursday, 8 August 2013

6th August

Managed a trip down to Dungy today. The first thing I noticed was the abundance of butterflies today, inc red admiral, peacock, small copper, small heath, gatekeeper, speckled wood, brown argus just to name a few. 2 black necked grebes were showing well in front of Dennis's hide, and from there I drove up to the viewing ramp but very quiet except for a few bearded tits pinging in the reeds but keeping out of sight, 1 juvenile marsh harrier quartering at a distant and not much else really. Moved on to Denge hide where the juv harrier was a bit closer getting mobbed by common terns. Still a few juv terns around, nice to see that they have been more successful this year in raising many young on the rafts. The great white egret was visible from the track just before the hide and as I came out of the hide a bittern flew straight towards and then over me from Christmas dell area. Back to the visitor centre to try and find the swallowtail butterfly that was first seen by Dennis's hide about 5 mins after I left there earlier!!!!! Typical!! but to no avail.
Sitting back at home I noticed a young song thrush in the garden, and managed a quick shot of it.
Brown Argus

Gatekeeper

Juvenile Common Tern


Peacock
Juvenile Song Thrush


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

July 24th

Finally got kicked out of hospital for a few days, then back in for a few days, out for a week...ooh looking good...no!....back in again for another few days....definitely staying out for a while this time (famous last words!) so not been out with the camera much this last month so not much to post. I have managed a couple of short visits to Dungeness so just a few pictures to post just to prove my camera is still working!
Items of note is that the bittern has been showing well at Hookers on its food runs, 3 juvenile marsh harriers active but staying at a distance and the terns on denge rafts have been much more successful this year with many chicks fledging.
Fox cubs have been regularly playing in my garden of late and our badger still comes on the patio for his nightly feed!
Here's just a few odd pictures....








Sunday, 23 June 2013

23rd June

Yet more blank news for the blog, unable to get out again. Been stuck inside 'enjoying' the hospitality of Will Harv Hospital yet again since Weds. I thought i had got past most of this last year but apparently not! I'm not even by the window, so nothing to see from here......hold on a minute.....I see a bird!.....it's a wood pigeon! Woohoo!!! Hint of sarcasm there i believe! Oh well.....i won't be posting anything much for a little, unless i get a good garden view when i finally get home.

Friday, 14 June 2013

14th June

Having been stuck at home the last 2 days it was nice to be able to get out for a while. I decided to try my luck at Stodmarsh...you never know the osprey might still be there......yeah righto! No such luck. I did manage to see a garden warbler in the car park, lots of cettis calling loudly but no osprey. I surprised myself by managing to walk as far as the tower hide (although it did take me about 30 mins to do it - 45mins to return). Plenty of marsh harrier activity with a total of 5 food passes witnessed shared between 2 females. No hobbys around to start with, but then around 1 oclock when the wind died down a bit, at least 8 appeared over the far side of the lake. 2 buzzards passed in the distance harried by corvids and 1 little egret seen. I was watching a male blackcap feverishly collecting food and taking it to the nest for about 1 hour until the female came out of the nest area and then 3 fledglings followed and disappeared. I managed a few shots of the male but he was very active and was never still for very long.



Wednesday, 12 June 2013

10th and 11th June


Monday and Tuesday afternoon spent at Dungeness, both days very quiet with only 1 hobby seen on each day, 3 cuckoos on mon, 2 on tues. Marsh Harriers more active on Tuesday seeing 2 food passes, in all Hookers showing 3 female marsh and 1 male on mon, with an additional non breeding young male on tues. The 3 females are distinguishable with 1 having a much more golden colour to her cap than a more silvery one and of course the obvious 'white' female as seen in photos below of a food pass. Sedge and reed warblers very active at Hookers also. Tuesday I continued to hear the bittern booming although not as often as per the last 2 weeks, one female was seen 3 times in the morning on food runs and I managed to see her once at 1pm leave the nest area and fly right across in front of me to feed at denge. A few blue butterflies around on mon as seen below.
Monday evening I went on a mission to locate nightjars at Hemsted Forest. 2 birds heard and good views of one so very successful, thanks Pete. Too dark for pictures, just one silouhette shot which could be anything, so I'm not even going to post it!


Sedge Warbler


Chaffinch

Common Blue - Female


Common Blue

Holly Blue
Food Pass stage 1

Food Pass stage 2

Saturday, 8 June 2013

8th June

A quick trip to Oare Marshes today, but got no further than the East Flood. Birds of note were 6 little egrets, 1 hobby, usual mix of ducks inc mallard, shoveller, shelduck, tufted, plus coot, moorhen etc. Also blackwits, redshank and avocets. Youngsters inc swan, coot and greylag geese. High tide roosting among the black headed gulls was the Bonapartes gull too far for a decent photo but managed a rough record shot.
Very distant Bonapartes Gull
 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

1st June

A brief visit to Dungy today. After a quick visit in the centre, went up to viewing ramp as usual and on the way saw a cuckoo on the entrance track. Plenty of swifts around today, 4 hobbys hunting successfully right in front, 2 male and 2 female marsh harriers and a pair of buzzards showed. A quick glimpse of a bittern to my right was only my second this year.
Sorry Wendy as soon as you got in your car 3 bearded tits showed quite well!
The most surprising sight was a guy walking through an area obviously not an open track, right through where the harriers are nesting, he must have got within 10 feet of the nest, while the female circled overhead obviously agitated (the 'white' female) which then did come back to the nest after the guy continued on past. Apparently he is known on the reserve so is not naïve to the accessible areas, but why go through there anyway?

Hunting Hobby

??????
The 'White' female Marsh Harrier

Thursday, 23 May 2013

22nd May

Went for a drive today, usual place first through Walland Marsh, picked up 3 turtle dove at the seed dump, only one yellowhammer though. through the marsh birds of note were 2 cuckoo, one male marsh harrier, usual suspects at Midley feeders inc. tree sparrow. Got to Dungy started at Denis's hide where I found 2 little gulls, visitor centre also showed redshank, also greenshank from makepeace. drove up to viewing mound for at least 4 hobbys, 2 cuckoos, spotted flycatcher, bearded tits and the bittern was booming constantly. 3 ruff were reported from hayfield 3, but I cant get there so I missed those. No sign of the cattle egret regretfully. Back to visitor centre for a rich roast and 2 sanderling were found on the low bar in front the centre.
I had to miss ARC yet again, I cant manage the walk at the moment, hopefully I can do it soon or maybe borrow a key to drive up there.
Iffy record shot of Turtle Dove 'Purring'
 

Saturday, 11 May 2013

11th May

Just wanted to give apologies to all who look at my blog, I've not been too lazy to update it, it's just that yet again ill health has kept me from venturing out. I have been out in the car a few times, but not been able to get out and have a walk around.
I did get to Dungeness last weekend and drove up to the viewing ramp over Hookers, and watched my favourites, the marsh harriers. One pair giving away their nesting area, with the male being very territorial towards 2 other females, inc, the partially white one. A bittern was heard booming a few times in close proximity but went unseen. No Great white egrets around, presumably flown off for breeding sites.....oh well better luck next year perhaps, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they breed here. Saw my first cuckoo of the year on the way to Dungeness as I went through walland marsh, and watched a peregrine flying round and round a field.
No chance of any pictures though. Oh, and I have spotted my first brimstone of the year as well, always nice to see.
My garden year list is currently rounded off at 30 and my total year list is 125, which reflects how little time I've managed to get out this year.
There's no indication, that I will be able to get out and about probably for the next month or so, but I'm definitely going to try my best.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

7th April

At long last!! It looks like I've got my blog working again.........well some bits of it.....I still can't access my list on the right....I'll keep trying.
Not been out that much the last 2 months anyway so I enjoyed the chance to be out this weekend. I spent yesterday afternoon at Stodmarsh where I found the little owl in the oak trees at the entrance to Stodmarsh Farm, the penduline was reasonably accomodating allowing a few shots to be taken. I did manage to struggle to the Marsh Hide too late for the crane, although I did spot it fly over on my return to the alder wood. A few redpolls were around, 1 goldcrest, a plethora of chaffinches, a few water rail squealing but unseen, all in all a lot quieter than expected but still an enjoyable afternoon.
Today I spent a couple of hours at Bossenden Woods as directed by Dave H yesterday which showed nuthatch and marsh tit (2 more year ticks) a sparrowhawk was circling above spotted through the trees and a buzzard was heard calling as it flew over. I did see 2 buzzards on the way there between Selsted and Denton.
Blackbird

Chaffinch

Common Buzzard

Marsh Tit

Nutchatch

Little Owl

Nuthatch

Penduline Tit

Redpoll

Saturday, 9 February 2013

9th Feb

Started down at Hythe Imperial, but could only spot turnstone. Walland Marsh next and by the seed pile were chaffinch, 3 corn buntings, and 12 yellowhammer. Driving across the marsh produced over 1000 fieldfare, 27 tree sparrows, the large bewick swan flock in the same place as last week and also inc 1 black swan. In amongst 1 of the many flocks of lapwings was 1 extremely pale (leucistic?) lapwing, but after getting the camera out of the car I couldn't find it again. ARC next where the 2 drake smew were still showing well as well as 5 red heads. A male sparrowhawk flew by quite close to the hide and then headed across the lake, 1 female goosander and 1 great white egret also showed.
Boulderwall farm showed 20+ curlew and although I never saw them on the ground, there was a small flock of golden plover seen in flight when lifted by a marsh harrier cruising around.  Fieldfare in small flocks around the reserve, at least 5 marsh harriers, 3 great white egrets, a cettis gave a brief but visual show for a change, and a year tick came in the form of a barn owl off the track between denge and christmas dell.
A good light early sfternoon for photos but only managed a few distant iffy record shots.
Count for the day 63
Barn Owl


Smew
 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

2nd Feb

Started off down at Littlestone to chance my luck at the snow buntings still being at the sailing club, but too late they've moved off, did see plenty of curlew and oystercatcher though. Off to wallander marsh, found corn buntings, 5 marsh harriers, flocks of fieldfare and I did manange to find 172 bewick swans. From there I went to Arc which showed all usual wetfowl plus M&F smew and a F red crested pochard, a kingfisher was also heard as it flew past close to the hide but out of view. Main reserve showed more marsh harriers and 2 great white egrets. I did chuckle at the moorhen sitting up on the feeders in the carpark.
Count for the day 55

Had a play with a new version of photoshop as can be seen below with a marsh harrier mix.

Teenager moorhen?

Photoshopped Marsh Harrier at Denge

Sunday, 27 January 2013

26th Jan

 
A lot more comfortable today, so after a catch up with some mates at the cafe, I headed over to Dover to look around the harbour area but my car had other ideas, it wouldn't let me go to Dover it just kept on going and ended up at Oare Marshes.....well it is a nice day. It was nice to get out and finally managed a walk around the East circuit. Birds of note on the East side were 20 Ruff, green woodpecker a pair of song thrush, 8 fieldfare, snipe were eveywhere you looked, lots of redshank and dunlin, a few grey plover, turnstone, avocets and a oare marsh first for me was a red headed smew. West side held mainly teal and widgeon with 1 grey heron, little egret, kestrel an a few stock doves. Swale held plenty of shelduck on sheppy side, a few small groups of brent geese flying through and amongst  the avocets and dunlin on horsesands were 11 grey seal. Mockets was quite raptor happy with up to 5 common buzzard, 2 marsh harriers and 1 roughleg buzzard. At 1 point I had marsh harrier 3 common buzzard and 1 rough legged buzzard all in the scope together.
Count for the day 56.

Common Gull
 

Dunlin
 

Mallard

Turnstone