Monday, 1 February 2010

Monday 1st.February 2010

With the sun shining and the temperature just above freezing , I decided on two visits today . The first to New Hythe to see if I could catch up with Siskin and Redpoll , as I usually see them there , then on to Cliffe Pools to see how it has changed since my last visit , many years ago .
Parking in Lunsford Lane , the plan was to walk to the railway and back , getting the two species mentioned , along with Firecrest , Jack Snipe and Woodcock . That's where the plan backfired , as I didn't get any of them . Over at the scrub area , I met a local birder Alan , who , embarrassingly , I had met there before , but didn't recognise him , sorry Allan . He was heading for the furthest lake to try and find a female Goldeneye that had been reported to him by Phil Sharpe . I said I would head back to the car and drive to the car park and have a look myself . As I said , I didn't find any of my wish list , but did photograph male and female Gadwall

on one lake and three male Pochard , dozing in the sun on another .I met Allan again as I finished a circuit of the lake , but there was no sign of the reported female .
I headed off to Cliffe Pools , arriving just after midday , just before high tide . The sun was still out , but a bitter wind was blowing across the pools . I walked the path between Flamingo and Alpha pools , towards the sea , but did not find much of interest , just Tufted , Mallard and a few Little Grebe . When I reached the end of Flamingo Pool , I met a birder from West London who was making a second visit , by public transport , to try and see the Shore Larks that have been around for some time . Quite a job with small birds in a very large area . As we were talking , large numbers of waders started streaming in off the sea , to their high tide roost on Flamingo Pool . Impossible to say how many , what looks like stones on this spit , are all Dunlin , so too are all those in the air , looking for space to land . The Dunlin alone must have run into 1,000s , then there were the Godwits and Grey Plovers and other species , quite a sight . Whilst watching the waders , I noticed a male Marsh Harrier , quartering the area some distance beyond the pool . I tried a few shots , but he was a good distance off , but this was the best effort . A local birder was kind enough to tell us some of the places where the Shore Larks had been seen , and we tried these places without success . But all was not lost , as whilst looking , I got this shot of male and female Goldeneye , once again at distance . I was starting to remember why I haven't visited for a while , everything here seems to be at distance . Several Greenshank were recorded , this one was ringed on both legs . When we returned to the original spot , another local birder had located the three Shore Larks , well , three heads bobbing up out of the vegetation , about 100 mtrs+ away from where we were standing , just viewable with binoculars . Sharing a scope , I got one good view of two of them , but that was all .
By leaving time , the day list on the two sites had reached 55 . I won't list them all as many were common , but a few of the other highlights were , 5 Snipe flushed from the water margins , a fleeting glimpse of a Merlin , whilst looking at waders , 7 Pintail low overhead before circling and landing at a distance and a Little Egret sitting in an Ivy clad tree behind the lay by at New Hythe . It must like a fryup , as the smell of bacon was driving me crazy on the other side of the lake .


Dean said...

Some nice species there Greenie. Some of them i can only dream of visiting my patch.

Kingsdowner said...

Great sights. Even if the birds are distant, the flocks are spectacular.

ShySongbird said...

I thought the flock was pretty spectacular too and you did see a good variety albeit at a distance.

Did you have to mention the smell of frying bacon?...Ooh delicious!

Warren Baker said...

Was that Mr Woodcock you bumped into at New hythe, if so you got one of your wish list. :-)

Adam said...

Cheers Fred for comment on my blog. Redpolls galore for me at the moment, but word of warning - South St Redpolls seem to only visit first thing on cold days and Ditton Redpolls pretty flighty and you need to know where to look! Give me a shout if your local again and I'll give you all the necessary destructions!