Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wednesday 20th. October 2010

The clear blue sky and promise of sunshine all day , had me heading out early , not knowing exactly where . En route , I decided on RSPB Elmley , and arrived on site , still with the blue sky and sunshine , but also a very fresh cold wind , whipping across the site .
The journey along the track to the car park was almost like driving through a cemetery . Just one or two Lapwings , a long distance sighting of a Marsh Harrier , a fleeting glimpse of a Green Sandpiper , a few Meadow Pipits and a startled juvenile Grey Heron that lifted noisily out of a ditch was as good as it got . Three Swallows were hawking around the car park and in the fields behind , once again at distance , anything between 100/150 Curlew , driven on land by the full tide . With such a poor start , I decided not to walk down to the hides , and slowly returned back down the track . Not much difference , until a female Kestrel , aided by the wind , sped just in front of the car and hovered . Seeming to have sighted something , dropped lower .
eventually dropping onto the grass , and mantling the area with her wings . I expected her to fly off with her meal , but she had obviously missed her target , and looked quite bemused as to what had gone wrong . Disconsolate , she flew off to find another target .
As I approached a bend with a ditch , I could make out birds on the far bank of the ditch , but it wasn't till I got closer , that I could identify them as Grey Partridge . I approached as close as I could , then waited for them to come closer , which they did .Never stopping looking for food , they came over the bank and settled in the lee of the bank to preen and rest .
At least one of the party was a male , identified by the bold chestnut horseshoe on his belly . It was in the same area where I had a pair along the track 2/3 years ago .Whilst photographing the Grey Partridge , a bird flew through the viewfinder and came to rest at the top of the bank . The first of two Wheatears found within 100 metres of each other .The second was on a gate post on the next bend in the track .Just beyond the same bend was the closest Curlew seen , and on it's own .As I moved off from the Curlew , I put up three Skylarks , and managed to get one in flight .Almost back at the road , this Greylag Goose was taking a nap ,and one of very few Rabbits seen , was enjoying the sun , whilst keeping out of that wind .
I then made the usual trip to Capel Fleet , but if I thought it was quiet at Elmley , the Fleet beat it hands down . Not a single bird along the wires , a distant Marsh Harrier and Kestrel was it , all the way to the Ferry Boat Inn . There were a good few Little Egrets on the saltmarsh below the Inn and an occasional Corvid , but my hoped for Winter Thrushes on the berry laden hedges along the lanes , did not materialise . Approaching the Fleet on my return , a family of Mute Swans emerged from a reedbed and took off . I only managed to get a shot of two of the four juveniles . But whilst stooped on the bend , a flash of white rump landed on a fence post , not far in front of me . My third Wheatear of the day was followed by the fourth , amongst the Sheep as I climbed the hill away from the Fleet on my way home .


Warren Baker said...

You've done superbly with the camera today Greenie. That Skylark is brilliant :-)

ShySongbird said...

A very enjoyable post with some great photos today Greenie. I enjoyed them all but particularly liked the Kestrel and the Skylark!

Phil said...

Great post Greenie.
Love the Kestrel shots and the Skylark in particular. Never seen a Grey Partridge so will try and pay a visit next week.

Anonymous said...

Yep, great post & photos.

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
Your photo of the Grey Partridge must be the same ones my friend and I saw a few months ago. They seem to like that particular area.They seem to have had a good breeding year. Over the last few years, there was only about 3 seen.
It is a shame you didn't go to the main part of the reserve as that is the place to be at this time of year onwards. I have been going there for many years especially for winter birding,well nearly, is great. It might be bitter cold, but mostly it is worth it. But I know what you are thinking, it is a long walk.
Changing the subject, really like the 1st Kestrel, and Skylark photo.