Thursday, 7 February 2013

Non-Guilty Pleasures

What a difference sunshine makes! After an early visit to the tile shop in Deal the weather was too good not to take advantage of (apologies to grammar pedants).

I usually look at the Restharrow Scrape in the afternoon so it was a change to have the light directly behind the hide. It was a quick look on the off chance that something out of the ordinary had dropped in, but no such luck. The drake Teal look stunning in the sunlight and even the cryptic Snipe was well highlighted.

 The year is moving on, and pairs of Mallards were head dipping at each other,the male looking particularly handsome at this time of year.

Although the sun was out, it was still cold and the ruffled feathers on this Gadwall show the reason why. The wind, now coming from the north brought it's own chill factor.

 One of the questions at the KOS quiz I set was "what colour is a Fieldfare's tail" I'm sure most people got it right but I know some are surprised to find out it is black, Looking from behind the contrast between head, back, rump and tail is striking.

Fieldfares are such a striking addition to the thrush community it is a pity that they ignore my garden except very occasionally in severe weather. They seem to like much larger open spaces and fields and on Worth Marshes bound between Lapwings and, when they are there, Golden Plovers.

Most things that are enjoyable in life are either expensive or medical professionals now tell that they are bad for us. Fortunately standing on the edge of the sea at Joss Bay, photographing a group of Sanderlings,  is neither of these.

Most of the time they are running at high speed, following the waves as they move up and down the beach.

Here, at high-tide they roost on the small areas they aren't covered. I arrived as the tide began to drop and small groups moved onto the rocks at either end of the beach.

Sanderlings are unusual in having only two toes on each foot, I'm not sure what evolutionary value, if any this has.

 Just a couple more shots of these extremely confiding waders. Standing still, they just waked within a few feet.
I walked along the beach as the tide fell to North Foreland and Rock Bay.There were several groups of Brent Geese feeding on the rocky parts of the shore-line.

Whether it was the fine weather waking hormones or just a disagreement about feeding territory I don't know, but these two were shouting loudly at each other.

I didn't do proper count, but there were at least 50 birds in a few hundred metre stretch. This group had 16 and there was one other of 22 birds.

Try as I may, once again I failed to find a Purple Sandpiper amongst the Turnstones and Ringed Plovers. I'm sure they're around, but so far they been in hiding. A bit of a disappointment, but only a small dent in the enjoyment of a great walk along one of my favourite stretches of the Kent Coast.

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