Monday, 13 February 2012

Drive to work

Strange drive to work this morning with no snow around after it all melting during the night. As I pulled out of Hamstreet I had a Red Legged Partridge run across the road, the first I have seen around the village this year. Further down the road as I passed through Bonnington I had a narrow escape hitting a Little Owl that was sitting in the road and flew up in front of me, good job it wasn't icy slamming on my brakes like that. My first Little Owl this year, I am glad it wasn't a dead one.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A cold day in East Kent

Finally managed to do the trip that I was going to do last week before the untimley snow, off to Deal and East Kent.

On arrival at Deal as I was early in meeting friends I shot down to the Ancient Highway and picked up a magnificent male Grey Partridge right next to the road. When will I get it in my thick head to pick up my camera every time I go out, what a great picture it would have been and the first of what would have been many great shots today.

At Deal Pier and hour of seawatching brought Common Scoter, Gannet, Kittiwake, Red Throat Diver, Razorbill and a Peregrine amongst others. The Peregrine which had caught a small wader was harrased by gulls, dropped the wader and lost his meal, with the Herring Gulls having it instead. Then came the snow so it was inside the cafe for a slap up breakfast and watch what birds could be seen through the snow out of the window.

Then news came through of the Kumliens Gull showing in Dover, I hadn't got it yet and nor had a couple of others so it was off to Dover, the snow had now stopped.

In Dover as soon as we got out of the cars at Wellington Dock we saw a Grebe which we soon identified as a Slavonian. Then for a walk around to Admiralty Pier where the gull was last seen. After some time searching we did see the Kumliens Gull along with Razorbill, Knot, Shag, Kittiwake and Rock Pipit. The Kittiwakes were sitting on the wall of pier and we got within 3-4 feet of them without them flying away, another photo opportuniy lost.

After lunch I split up from my friends and headed home via Hythe to pick up 7 Purple Sandpipers by the Stade Hotel, and Dungeness to get a Goosander which I had not got this year (ended up with 1 of them on the new diggings.

On arriving home I walked into the garden and scared off a Grey Heron which was trying to get at my goldfish, if he had got them I would have been impressed through 4 inches of ice, so another garden tick for the year.

All in all, a good day

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Change of plans due to the snow

I had planned to meet up with friends today in North East Kent but due to the snow I had no chance of getting out of the village.

So this led to firstly a bit of garden watching, and in an hour I had 3 new birds for the year with the appearance of around 30 Redwings, 2 Pied Wagtails and 2 Lapwings.

Then off to Hamstreet Woods for a 2 and half hour trudge around in the snow, which was quite hard work at times. At the entrance to the woods despite all the children on sledges it looked quite promising with many of the normal woodland birds, and more Redwings. However as I got further into the woods it changed and just died and birds were hard to come by. I did see Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Greater Spotted and Green Woodpecker. What I was pleased to see was the 6 Nuthatches throughout the walk, in the past couple of years Nuthatches had been hard to come by in the woods but now they seem to be making a comeback.