Monday, 20 July 2009

I remember when Avocets were rare!

I had to go to Maidstone today and I didn't want to hurry back and watch the test match, I mistakenly (thank goodness) had a feeling that Australia were going to set a new record for a fourth innings score to win a test match. After a little contemplation I decided to visit Elmley. It had been a long time since I'd walked down to the hides and I got me away from the car radio if things were going badly at Lords.

On the way down to Kingshill Farm I encountered several Yellow Wagtails collecting food for their offspring.

When I arrived at the flood I was immediately struck by how the whole scene was dominated by Avocets. When I first visited the reserve, in the days of Les Street as Warden, an Avocet was a rare bird in Kent, now there are counts of over 200 birds in June and many pairs nesting.
A few Common Sandpipers were quietly making their way round the muddy edges, but even these quiet inoffensive birds would sometimes incur the wrath of an adult Avocet when it decided the Sandpiper presented a threat to its youngsters.

Avocets may be beautiful but there are noisy, quarrelsome birds, and squabbles were goingon continuously.
I don't think that there are many other birds on the British list that have blue legs. The one was having a good stretch and scratch.

Most of the young were fairly well grown, but there was one brood, one of which is above, that were still very small.

Young Redshanks were all over the flood, These three got together for a short while right in front of the hide.

As usual the bully boy Avocets suddenly take it to be essential to chase another bird and this time it was one of the young Redshanks that was the target.

There were a few other species around, a few Dunlin in breeding plumage were at the back of the pool.
Oystercatchers noisily flew around, announcing there presence with loud piping calls.

The Redshank that appeared to be the owner of the area near the hide flew round proclaiming its territory and occasionally flew right up to the hide.
I'm sure it was posing for the camera when it hovered right in front of the hide.

I landed on a post and continued to "sing". All the posts have long nails on them to stop Crows landing on them. This makes to bird look as if it is mounted on the post. I used Photoshop to get rid of it on this picture (see below).
Every now and again a Meadow Pipit appeared in front of the hide, there seemed to be two engaged in some sort of dispute.

A few Black-tailed Godwits appeared and fed out on the flood.

Further back I found the only Spotted Redshank I saw today, it didn't get any closer but even from this distance its blotchy moulting plumage can be seen. I must admit that I prefer them in their stunning black summer plumage.

A few Ringed Plovers were around and although I didn't see any I was told that one pair still had some small young.

On the way back I came across the most yellow, Yellow Wagtail of the day.

Here's the Redshank with the nail still on the post, from some angle it looked as if it had got a false leg!

Mothing last night was poor, even though the weather was a bit better, after a night of the previous night. Alist of the species caught is here.


Mike Watson said...

Well, did you see IT? Hope so! Would be unfair for a good local patch man to miss that one but life can be so cruel at times! BR Mike

Warren Baker said...

Nice episode of the elmely goings on Tony.

Some great photo's today.