Monday, 1 March 2010

Monday 1st.March 2010

A dilemma faced me this morning , the weather was good for once , I had already put off my visit to Rye and Dungeness once , but I haven't got my 100-400mm. lens back yet . I decided the weather was too good to miss , so I set off with the 100mm. lens and my old camera . Managed to get to Rye in reasonable time , and set off for the hide on Castle Water . Arriving at the hide at the same time as two others , both with 500 or 600mm. cannons attached to their cameras , To say the least , I felt inadequate . On the way , I did manage to get a female Stonechat , but she didn't let me get too near . It was great to hear and see Skylarks rising into the blue sky , and proclaiming their territories . Immediately on opening the flaps on the hide , a flock of Long Tailed Tits arrived and started feeding in the reeds . After about 30 minutes , a very brief sighting of a flying Bittern , and after another 30 minutes , a very distant sighting of another , some 200 metres + away . I pointed the 100mm. lens and of three shots , this is the least bad . The Bittern is on the bank , just left of the Coot in the water . Two other sightings followed , but they were very quick and distant . A pleasant interlude from Bittern searching came when a male Marsh
Harrier headed towards the hide , before veering off to one side . I gave it till lunchtime , when the wind had started to get up , then made a move to Dungeness . The track from the road was very quiet , with just Kestrel and the odd wildfowl seen . A quick look at the pits showed that the wind was causing quite a ripple on the water , and birds were very few . As part of the tracks were flooded , I decided to have a look at the ARC pit across the road . From the ARC hide , a very confiding Little Grebe was feeding , and posing in between dives . I must admit that I didn't find them , but whilst in the hide , another birder spotted the first Summer visitor of the year , a pair of Garganey . Once again , a poor shot , but I think you can make out the eye stripe of the male , with the female behind , centre of picture , amongst the Shoveler . Also on the water were large numbers of Wigeon , wheeling around and whistling , but also very alert when a female Marsh Harrier came over looking for a meal . Someone had seen a female Scaup around the other side of the pit , but I didn't make contact with it .
All in all , a very nice day out , with 53 species recorded , which probably would have been higher , had I not spent the morning in the hide , but it was worth it for the Bittern and the close encounter with the Marsh Harrier .


Warren Baker said...

You did remarkably well with you 1oomm lens Greenie. They were certainly early Gargany, I think you can say Spring now!

Phil said...

Well done Greenie, know what you mean about lens inadequacy..........happens to me all the time! I must say you did a great job with your little job, if you see what I mean! Nice to get Garganey, might get myself there tomorrow.
All the best.

Simon said...

Nice shot of the Marsh Harrier - your 100mm lens did well today! Garganey is a super sighting, well done.

Anonymous said...

A great day for both the weather & the birds. Well done Greenie.

Kingsdowner said...

It's not the size, it's what you do with it (obvious comment - sorry).
Glad you got down to Dunge in the sun, and were rewarded by bittern and gargany (a rare combination, I think).

Good shot of the old pile behind the marsh harrier by the way.

ShySongbird said...

Very good shots with your smaller lens Greenie and lovely to see the Stonechat. We had lovely sunshine too and the same today :)

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
You had a very nice day out on the south coast. Also some good birds seen.
54 is a good days sighting. Well done.