Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Piering out to see

For a few weeks a flock of Scoter have been on the sea a few hundred metres off the end of Deal Pier.They are really too far out to photo and I should have taken my telescope out to the end of the pier to see them properly.

Looking through binoculars the majority looked to be female Common Scoter, the white cheek patches showing prominently even in the ever darkening light.

Knowing that several Velvet Scoter had been seen in the flock I continued to scan hoping that even at that distance I would be able to pick one out.

Looking north towards Pegwell Bay the approach of yet more precipitation was obvious, and judging by the temperature is was probably going to be sleet.

In the shimmering light the white cliffs at Kingsdown stood out and the monument could be seen well to the right and the coast swings south west after the headland at Kingsdown.

As I was scanning three ducks flew along in front of the main flock and as luck would have it their white wing patches were clearly visible.

These were three of the Velvets that I'd been looking for. Once they landed in the sea amongst the rest of the ducks I wasn't able to pick them out. I will have to return when the lights better and take my scope. Who knows what might get attracted to a flock of sea duck. They obviously have a food source out there so the area could have some potential.

Along at the Restharrow Scrape I was watching a Snipe in the corner of the reeds when something stirred behind it.
I'm always pleased to see a Water Rail, rails and crakes are one of the most fascinating of all the bird families and many are difficult to observe in the open.

It foraged along the edge of the water for a while.

And was joined by a second bird for a couple of minutes, before one flew along and landed in the reeds further along the scrape.

The bird that stayed gave me some excellent views, although by now the light was very poor. I've included a few shots of the remaining bird below,

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