Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Lesser Yellowlegs

Another cracking day out, 2015 really has started with a bang. Today it was the Pett Level Lesser Yellowlegs, an obliging bird that has favoured one of the pools close to the road. So, in cool and windy conditions, with just a hint of sunshine, we parked on the road in what we thought would be the best spot. Like minded birders had done just the same, ahead of us was David Gardiner scanning the venue. We didn't have to wait long before the bird arrived and then it was a scramble to get the cameras sorted out. Just a short opportunity to capture some reasonable shots as a passing Turnstone spooked the bird and it retired to the back of the pool, taking refuge in some reeds. However, it wasn't long before it reappeared and it gradually worked its way to a position close to the road.


Having captured some really good shots of what can be a difficult subject we bade farewell to David and made our way to Scotney Pit.  The drake Scaup was found remarkably easily and not only that, it was swimming strongly towards the west, well into Sussex!! I dutifully scanned the mass of Greylags but could not turn up anything unusual. Amongst the host of Tufted Ducks and hordes of Wigeon there were some splendid looking Pochards, alas a bit far away for a photograph.

Next we visited Denge Marsh for the long staying Cattle Egrets. I had been fortunate to have them close last Friday and was confident that Martin would have the same opportunity. Sod's Law prevailed, when we arrived there was only one bird present and at quite a distance. Martin took a few record shots and as we started to return to the car, sure enough two Cattle Egrets took to the air and landed within 10 yards of the roadside fence - right in front of where we had parked - so close that I couldn't resist a few more records. The  afternoon light enhancing the orange tinge that both birds were displaying on their heads.

I guess the "softness" comes from shooting through a chain link fence!

Next up had to be Boulderwall Farm at RSPB Dungeness, well how could you venture into Kent without paying the Tree Sparrows a visit. Oddly there were quite a few Reed Buntings about in the cottage garden and they were quite distracting. I spotted and counted six Tree Sparrows but by the time other birders were scanning the brambles the birds had melted away into the scrub. I could tell by their looks that they thought I was mistaken and that I had been conned by the Reedies.

Then it was over the road to ARC and the Hanson Hide. As we entered the hide we were directed to an obliging and successful Kingfisher that was perched to the right of the hide.
Really nice to finally catch up with Mike Hook again - some four years after our first meeting in one of the hides at Rye. Somehow over the intervening years we have managed to miss each other by just minutes at several venues in deepest Kent.

Whilst in the hide we were treated to a distant views of Marsh Harrier and Bittern. Closer to the hide we managed to capture several active Chiffchaffs and an industrious Great Tit, pulling the reedmace heads to pieces.

A quick call to the visitor centre and the two closest hides in search of a Smew but by now the wind was whistling through and most birds had gone for cover. On the way out we stopped again at Boulderwall and we finally caught up with the Tree Sparrows, probably well into double figures present but again mixed in with the Reed Buntings. I knew I wasn't mistaken!

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you and martin again today Dave, thanks for the mention. Next time you are visiting the "Garden of England" give us a ring and i will arrange for you to get "visa" and "escort" for the trip !! Ha ha. Nice shots from the trip today.