Thursday, 23 February 2017

A visit from Doris

Storm Doris has been blowing all day and I wandered down to the Bay to see what she had brought in. There were a lot of Guillemots passing and a few Great Crested Grebes bouncing around, but the most noticeable birds were the Gannets, passing far closer then Normal.Most of the birds I saw were adults, but I don't know if that has significance.

One or two Rock Pipits were feeding along the "esplanade", often using the railing posts for  shelter when the biggest gusts came along.

A few lines of Cormorants came past low over the water

Inland, at the Manure dump from the stables, there were at least seven Pied Wagtails feeding on the insects attracted there. Unfortunately they were the only birds there.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Sturnus vulgaris, a unflattering scientific handle.

Starlings,once so numerous are now much reduced, but still one of my favourites. Full of character and stunningly beautiful when you look closely.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Winter has arrived. well almost.

The weather has been pretty cold over the last few days and it has brought a lot of activity to the garden feeders,

Although the Song Thrush is still a relatively common bird it is declining in numbers. Why it is in trouble is still being investigated, but it has become a less frequent visitor in the garden. I was good to see one gleaning under the feeders, once the frost had vanished.

As Usual Chaffinches were just about the most numerous bird round the garden, and once I'd removed the ice and replaced the water in the bath they made use of the facilities.

When I first got this feeder it didn't seem to attract as many birds the conventional ones. Now it is very popular and often the first to be emptied, and a faourite of the House Sparrows.

Back to the facilities, a mass of splashes comes from the bird bath.

Once the splashing subsides a smart Starling emerges from the cold water.

Lots of Blackbirds around at the moment, and with the frosty ground they are pleased with the free supply of bits of sunflower hearts fdropped from above,

Another ground feeder, this Dunnock is by-passing the ice that was taken off the bath.

It's been good the see an increase of healthy looking Greenfinches in the garden. A disease called Trichomonosis caused the rapid decline of the British Greenfinch population that was first noted in late summer 2006.

This year numbers seem they seem to have increased, so fingers crossed. It is important to keep feeders and bird baths clean.

Not all Blackbirds are black, the females are brown, as are immature males until the moulrt to their adult plumage.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A boost to my very fledgling year list.

A visit to the Restharrow Scrape at Sandwich Bay and a drive along The Ancient Highway was fun.,and provided some great views of a Short-eared Owl.

Before I got to the Scrape I stopped to watch a Kestrel hunting from the wires.

A group of four Curlew and a Common Gull at the back of the Scrape.

Among the many Teal there was one pair of Wigeon.

A party of Black-headed Gulls flew over the hide.

In the distance a Common Buzzard sat on a post with two Crows acting as minders

A Little Egret flew from the far edge to have a quick feed in the near by reeds before returning to the back.

Sparrowhawk. This bird flew through, causing a bit of commotion and landed on the back fence.

There were about 10 Common Snipe in view, but no sign of the Jack while I was there.

A noisy bunch of about 60 Greylags flew in, almost drowning out the chatter of the photographers in the hide.

 Nice to see some of the Drake Shovelers are in their breeding season finery now.

Short-eared Owl. Always a thrill when one comes into view as you drive along the Ancient highway.

After a while it came to rest on a post, not too distant,

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Somewhere beyond the sea Somewhere waitin' for me.................

 I wandered down to the bay after lunch and spent some time looking at a mainly empty sea.

I did come across three Common Seals some way out and not visible without the aid of a telescope. I bumped into an OLD friend, or rather he covered my telescope to attract my attention. Jack told me that the local fishermen are reporting a lack of fish, and this will account for the lack of auks, Gannets and Divers on my sea watch. I did manage to add a few common species to my year list including Kittiwake, Fulmar, Great Black-backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe and Cormorant.

Even with the sun in my eyes I still enjoyed the view of the Bay from the Lees. 

From up here a big chunk out of the cliffs reveals some quite clean chalk face formed when the was a large fall a couple of years ago. As I looked out to sea a small group of Brent Geese headed north.

As dusk arrived I had another look round for the Barn Owl, but ended up looking along Pond Lane for anything in the field there. Almost immediately I came across a Common Buzzard, and as I watched it a Kestrel was up in the air, hovering behind it. Apart from that and a few Black-headed Gulls there was very little to see until I surprised a Common Snipe from the side of the road as I drove down the hill.

 From the top of pond lane there isa good view back to the village and "The Hidden House" is clearly visible.

 From up here I can see our attic windows It helps me to realise what a good view I get from them back over the fields. The attic list is quite good and includes Osprey, Honey Buzzard and Hobby.

 Just at the bottom of Pond Lane is St Peter's Church and Wallet's Court. The Church yard and gardens is a good place for Little Owl, but no sign tonight.

St Margaret's Church from Pond Lane.

A couple more added to my very short year list.

After the news that a Barn Owl has been seen hunting over the fields I had a look round for a while this afternoon, but with out any luck. A few years ago one was quite regular in the winter, but ranged over quite a large area.

In between looking over various areas I popped down to the bay. It was high tide, and in the evening light a Rock Pipit perched up on the railings and posed for a picture.

The dump where the stables empty the waste is often a good place for Yellowhammers and occasionally Corn Buntings and other small birds. When I took a look the only brids I found feeding amongst the straw were a couple of Pie Wagtails.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Red Sky at Night, Shepherds Delight?

A Carrion Crow finishes the last of the Christmas Turkey

Looking south west from the attic. 

 Looking south west from the attic. 

Looking north west from the attic, from the window on the opposite side