Friday, 7 September 2012

What's got four wings and four legs?

Yesterday I paid an afternoon visit to the Resharrow Scrape. Even when there's nothing particularly special to see there's something quite restful watching the comings and goings of the various species using the scrape for a wash and brush up or the odd snack. Even better is when you find you're sharing the hide with a couple of your oldest birding friends. It was nice to see Peter and Pauline Heathcote, down at the Observatory to give the Thursday Club talk.

At high tide a few waders occasionally drop in to join the regular Lapwings and Green Sandpiper. Yesterday we  were treated to a short visit from a Curlew. A common enough bird but always worth a close look.

Searching the reeds to the right of the hide the tell tale stripes on the head of a Snipe gave away its presence.

Today was a mixture of the same again and some new entertainment. Pete and Pauline were there and so was a Snipe, this time probing away at the far end. The entertainment was provided by a group of  raucous Little Egrets, at first there were four on view and eventually a fifth appeared.

At least two semed to be adults with black legs and yellow feet, while the others seemed to have paler legs and less colourful foot wear, We concluded that we were seeing a mixture of adults and first year birds.

One seemed to be very territorial, and it was intent on chasing one of the others round the scrape, while barking loudly. Despite being much smaller than the Grey Heron, Little Egrets seem to have an even louder and deeper voice.

The chasing suddenly turned into some sort of avian Poso Doble, good enough to rival any on Strictly Come Dancing.
Eventually the pursued bird escaped for a while and was able to settle down for a quiet feed. They are fun to watch as they lift one foot and vibrate it in the water, to disturb their potential snack items that are lurking in the mud.

Soon it was having to take evasive actions as its adversary re-appeared intent on driving it to a far flung corner of the scrape.
Against this competitive background other birds were coming in to drink. Groups of Starlings, Linnets and Meadow Pipits appeared and a few Yellow Wagtails dropped in to the edge of the reeds. It was good to see them as they are becoming less and less numerous as the years go by. They are no longer a common breeder in Kent and numbers on migration seem to be a fraction of what there were back in the sixties. When Pam and I lived in Dartford in 1966 we used to wander along the river Cray near to our maisonette. That autumn one of the reed beds was used as a roost by Yellow Wagtails and we counted over 200 coming in one night.

I can't resist photographing flying Lapwings, still one of the great sights in the Autumn and winter. It will be interesting to see what the long term holds for them on Worth Marshes with the RSPB project under way.


Antonio Puig Garcias said...

Hola Tony magnificas fotografias de estas garzas.Un saludo

joanca bs said...

Nice cacht
and very good shots
greetings from my blog