Monday 28 November 2011

Ferring Rife and Beach

Last Friday, the 25th of November, was a quick circuit of Ferring Beach and Ferring Rife, mainly because I hadn't been there for some time. There was a stiff SW breeze blowing creating a moderate degree of surf, at least enough to keep the Black-headed Gulls in motion.

Black-headed Gulls

Black-headed Gull
Some of them displayed hints of black heads - not sure if they are early spring coming or late autumn going - if you know what I mean.

Really pleased to see 2 Stonechats in the usual place. Just north of the footbridge on the western bank, perching on the bramble bushes and constantly doing their aerobatic displays.

Previously I have seen Carrion Crows that display leucistic or albinistic patches, they seem to be spread throughout Ferring and Angmering and occasionally are to be found on Highdown Hill. The photograph shows just hints of white in the wing, I have seen them with completely white wings.

Carrion Crow

There are still plenty of berries to be found, particularly Hawthorn, sufficient to keep this Blackbird happy for some time to come.

Blackbird (Fat and Happy)

A short pause at Groyne No. 4, just one Turnstone present, which posed nicely for the camera.


Monday 21 November 2011

Brighton Marina

Don't you just love it when a plan comes off. I had been waiting for a suitable day to visit Brighton Marina, the plan - to photograph Purple Sandpipers. The early morning weather looked fair, some sunshine and light cloud. The journey along the coast to Brighton is never quick, more a leisurely drive, with queues at every junction and each set of lights. However, parking at the marina was easy, free as well, and a fairly long walk to the eastern arm of the marina paid off. At the undercliff there were several Rock Pipits posing for a photograph, on the arm itself I found ten confiding Purple Sandpipers waiting for the tide to recede. On the way back a bonus, a Guillemot swimming around in the marina and fairly close too. Then lo and behold another on the seaward side this time, just as close and duly snapped.  Then the sun came out and blue skies set in so a quick dash home for the big lens and off up to The Burgh again to get some decent shots of the Red Kites. Wrong! after half an hour - thick dark grey cloud and rain showers. Thanks BBC for the accurate forecast.

Rock Pipit

Puprple Sandpiper


Friday 18 November 2011

Waltham Brooks and The Burgh

Thursday brought a trip  to Waltham Brooks in an attempt to photograph the Short-eared Owls. It had been a fine day, plenty of sunshine and a moderate sw breeze. Of course this meant the owls came out to hunt later, well after the sun had gone down, making photography difficult. From approximately 250 shots I managed to salvage two that were "presentable" - just. Not a good exercise.

Short-eared Owl

This SEO is flying upside down with his head the right way up!!

Goldfinch snapped whilst waiting for the sun to set.
 Friday on the Burgh to find the Rough-legged Buzzard. Conditions were far from good and most of the photographs were poor. However it was great to see so many birds. Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Hen Harrier and Red Kites plus the RLB represented the raptors. Supported by Skylarks. Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers, and both Grey and Red-legged Partridges

Red Kites

Red Kite

Red Kite

Obliging Yellowhammer

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Back to Pagham (again!)

With a reasonable forecast it was back to Pagham, camera in hand. With an easterly breeze it was non too comfortable standing at Breech pool before sunrise. As the sun came up so did a fairly dense mist. However, there was plenty of bird activity. On the pool itself were Teal, Mallard and Wigeon accompanied by several Black-tailed Godwits  and two Common Snipe.  Further along the wall there were twenty plus Reed Buntings, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, flocks of Linnets and two Rock Pipits. The ubiquitous Kestrel was posing well. On return to the pool I met Ian, a very friendly birder. Two Black-tailed Godwits had declared war on each other and were going hammer and tongs. The Mallards had other things on their minds, a bit early for it, but lots of dominant drakes about. The resident Kingfisher darted in and out of the sluice at least five times but failed to sit and pose in what were perfect conditions. I swear that as I packed the camera away he flew past laughing at us.


Reed Bunting

Argumentative Black-tailed Godwits
Ian the affable Birder

Friday 11 November 2011

Garden Birds Return

Today was the first day for a long time where significant numbers of birds visited the garden. First up were two Goldcrests, foraging as usual in the christmas tree and the sycamore by the pond. Then the tit flock arrived, the only absentees being the Long-tailed tits. Lots of Blue and Great tits present, accompanied by two Coal tits. Surprisingly, a late Chiffchaff joined in. He/she should have left us ages ago. It would appear that we have had some arrivals from the continent as there are more Robins and Blackbirds around, squabbling as usual. Nice to see a Song Thrush, spotted by Liz as we were having breakfast. Winter is definitely on the way. Topped up the feeders and sited two more by the dining room window, they are usually visited by the bolder Blue tits until the regular male Blackcap takes possession, driving everyone away with a very aggressive sounding call.

Resident Blackcap 2010 - very territorial!

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Return to Pagham

Back to Pagham in a vain search for Bearded Tits. Plenty of other birds about in the harbour but the Breech Pool was sparsely populated. Kestrels were particularly active,  I had a pair perched in front of me for some time. At one stage a Rook decided that they should move on and successfully shifted them from their perch. Ducks are slowly returning and the Mallards seem to be in fine fettle, the birds here seem much bigger than Mallards elswhere, is it the rich pickings? Shoveler were in evidence, why do they always have such a worried look?

Kestrel (male)
Kestrel (female)
Get off my bush!

Who ate all the pies?

Good views of a scruffy Green Woodpecker, unfortunately just too far away for any good photos but a least a reasonable series of record shots.

Green Woodpecker

No sign of the Firecrests but pleased to see plenty of Greenfinches, especially juveniles.

DoB - Devoid of Birds

An early morning trek to Rye Harbour produced little return. The long march to three of the hides produced very little in terms of avian activity. Just a few Little Grebes feeding well on the sticklebacks and a pair of Tufted Ducks.  After a couple of hours drew stumps and went to Dungeness where it was equally slow. There was nothing to tempt me to take the camera out of its case. However, there were good views of two Marsh Harriers quartering the reed beds. Disappointing, even birding has its dog days.

Little Grebe