Friday, 19 September 2008


Bockhill was relatively quiet this morning, although there may have been a slight increase in the number of Blackcaps around and more Meadow Pipits on the move.

This afternoon I went to Sandwich to drop in a couple of KOS posters and stopped at the Rest Harrow Scrape on the way. I was fascinated by this Common Snipe that was in front of the hide. As I got my camera ready it was preening and then it Squatted right down in the water.

I wasn't sure if this was part of the preening process or it was actually drinking. I always think that they look strange with their tails sticking up.

It carried on preening, facing away from my, but it could still see behind it. The eyes are set so far on the side of the head that it has all round vision, but of course it must forgo most three dimensional vision as the fields of view of the two eyes hardly over lap.

The side view shows the long straight bill, but it is quite surprising how flexible the bill is. It can open up the tip when it is probing to catch any prey it feels. There are a huge number of nerve ending in the end of the bill so that it is very sensitive to any movement in the mud.

I wandered of into the grass and I noticed doing a sort of "burping" motion, several time in succession. I think it was probably bring up a pellet of the indigestible bits of its food items. At the observatory I was surprised to find a lot of birding activity just outside. The Melodious Warbler that had been rung a couple of days ago had reappeared and was showing in the hedge, along with several Pied Flycatchers. This was a nice bonus for the day, and was completely unexpected.

On the way back I decided to wander through the lanes, and when I turned of the A256 towards Northbourne I saw a Buzzards flying over the nearest field.
By the time I parked and got my camera out it had flown up into some big pines to join a second bird. They didn't hang around long. I don't know if they were local birds as I was told that there had been 13 Buzzards past the observatory today.

Village news: I've been told that the Parish Council has organised a knotweed clearing party this Saturday assemble 10 am car park at end of Sea View road. I know that it a bit late notice but anyone reading this in time and wanting to help will be doing a service to conservation in reducing this spreading alien species.

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