Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Home and Away

The Ash tree in our front garden has been heavily lopped in the past. Where the main branches now start there is a large natural cavity. In previous years this has been used for nest by a pair of Blue Tit but this year a Starling has the tenancy.

The apartment is well appointed with an upper and lower door. As you can see by the white marks, the lower doors doubles as the outside loo. As one of the parents approaches and calls the heads of the young appear.

The gaped of the young bird is so large and bright the parent feels compelled to keep filling it with food. Fortunately Starlings are the gardeners friend, being particularly fond of leather jackets that they extract from lawns.

As I had behaved well today Pam took me to Sandwich for a treat this afternoon. The hide at the Restharrow scrape could have been designed for people with new knees. The bench has a lifting part, useful if you can't get your leg over (like Ian Botham in that infamous commentary) and there is a nice extension forward to stick your legs in. When I arrived I met Julian Russell and he quickly found the Temminck's Stint, that had been around a while, on the edge to our left.

When Pam joined us in the hide the Stint had temporarily disappeared, but after Julian had left we did have a Yellow Wagtail come and bathe on the island in front of the hide. To be honest the distance is too far for decent pictures, but I didn't let that stop me getting bad ones!

Pam noticed a small wader in front of a sleeping female Tufted Duck and this appeared to be the missing Stint, atlthough I hadn't seen it fly across. I was disturbed by one of the other birds and vanished to be back of the island.

I waited a while, hoping that it would appear on our side and thought I'd been rewarded when a small wader came into view. This turned out to be a Common Sandpiper, that we had seen earlier, and I began to wonder if I'd mistaken this for the Temminck's Stint which I always think think look a bit like minature Common Sandpipers.

It wasn't long before the Stint came into view, to put my mind a rest. Again the pictures are poor, but you can see the breast band recalling a Pectoral Sandpiper. In this light it is difficult to see, but it did have yellowish legs.

Still quite distant, from this angle the dark centres to the mantle and scapular feathers are visible. After this encouraging trip we popped into the observatory and had a sociably chat and a nice cup of coffee.
Other birds around were a family party of Canada Geese, a sight that may be pretty but not one welcomed by most observers of the scrape. A few House Martins hawked over the water and there were several Swallows and a Swift as we came along the Ancient Highway. As usual Corn Bunting were constantly heard singing and a Reed Warbler was chuntering from the reed bed.
Mothing remains almost non-existent while the nights are clear and the wind cold north easterly.
St Margaret's Players I've finished my set of pictures of the Players production of Abigail's Party acessible here.


tut-tut said...

I haven't been by here in a while, but I discovered this blog, in the upper reaches of Canada, that you might enjoy, as he is a birder, though apparently doesn't think of himself as such: http://openheadspace.blogspot.com

Tony Morris said...

Thanks tut-tut, nice to hear from you.