Monday, 23 November 2009

Anyone who visits my ramblings will have noticed that I've been missing for six days. I hope now that I will be back for a decent while. After giving my up beat statement that I was fit and well at the beginning of last week, I then found myself spending several days, either asleep in bed, or on the sofa, or in the smallest room in the house. Anyone with any more novel bugs, please keep them to yourself, don't spread them this way, I've had my fill (or the opposite?) of them.

The weather this lunch time was wet and windy, rather reflecting my last week, but there were a couple of birds that caught my eye. This Rock Pipit was being buffeted in the wind but seemed very intent on the the wall around it.

A closer look revealed a huge number of flies along the top of the wall. The strong wings and waves have brought a lot of seaweed to the top of the beach, and even at this time of year it has attracted a mass of these small flies.

This Pied Wagtail joined the Pipit for the feast, and dashed about in a frenetic effort to catch as many flies as possible before the next massive down fall drove me away and I expect the birds to shelter.
I thought that I would have a look at the rocks at the end of Kingsdown Undercliff, in the hope that there would be a Black Redstart in view. I hadn't been there long before a handsome male perched on the rocks some way back. Of course it spend some time perched on the hideous fence that encloses the old MOD range, and although I did get a couple of pictures of it perched there I have resisted using them.

The rain returned and I watched it from my car. It did get a bit closer and this was the best I managed. I hope to get back for another try, there are few better subjects at this time of year.

At the Restharrow Scrape I carefully opened the hide window and looking left saw this group of Common Snipe huddled together about 20 yards along the edge of the water. As the sun down this direction gives a rather strange light.

It took a little while for me to realise that there were three directly in front of the hide. When a Snipe looks directly towards you, it is easy to see that the ways the eyes are situated it can have very little three dimensional vision (areas that both eyes can see at the same time) but that it can see almost 360 deg, so that it will quickly become aware of any danger approaching.

A few brief moments of late evening sunshine, brought out the yellow stripes on the backs of the three birds directly in front of me.

When this bird stoop up for a scratch it made the full length of it's improbably bill very evident. When you see it like this it is easy to imaging the bill as a hard probing instrument. In fact it is very pliable and contains a large number of sensory nerves at the tip, enabling it to feel any items of food deep in the mud.


Anonymous said...

Tony could you tell me where Restharrow Scrape is please? I really enjoy your sightings and just wish I could identify even some of the birds you see.REGARDS Henry Williams

Tony Morris said...

the Restharrow Scrape is part of the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory site. It is accessed from the ancient highway and there is a public hide. Better still. join the obs, and then you have access to all the facilities.