Saturday, 19 November 2011

Saturday 19th. November 2011

Playing catch up again , after yesterday morning's request from Carol whether we could have a trip to the coast , before the the pack ice closes in . So off we set for Broadstairs in very pleasant conditions . On the M2 , and about to take the A299 , the signpost read Margate . I wonder if it's still there , I thought to myself , and suggested a stop on the front above Palm Bay . I looked in the back of the car , and , lo and behold , my camera and binoculars were laying there . Whilst Carol sat in the sun and read her book , I made my way down to the beach , hoping to spot the Eastern Black Redstart that had been in residence for about a week . I found the spot , just below the Palm Bay Cafe , and also half a dozen other birders , but no sign of the bird . Two had been there since 0700 and it was
now 1000 , not good news . There birds about , plenty of Rock Pipits like the one above , a few Meadow Pipits , that didn't seem to get on too well with their relations , and a few Pied Wagtails and Starlings . The most entertaining species though , were the Turnstones , or as one of the other birders
suggested , Seaweed Pushers , as they constantly pushed into the piles of seaweed like mini bulldozers , to find the insects beneath . Curlews and Herring Gulls were very vocal on the incoming
tide , especially three juvenile Herring Gulls , although as big as the parent , still following it and
begging for food . Plenty of Brent Geese moving along the coast too , but no sign of the EBR . I was the last to leave the beach , after hearing from locals that 'it was there yesterday' , and seeing that it , or another , turned up at Holy Island , just north of Newcastle . Carol got her look around Broadstairs from inside the car , as quite a chilly wind had sprung up by then . Heading back , we made a stop at Reculver . Using the same system , Carol carried on with her book , whilst I headed past the Roman fort and the oyster farm , to see what was about . By now , the tide was well in , and many species ,
including scores of Brent Geese were heading for their roost sites or to the fields , as these were , that came right over my head . Not a lot was seen once the birds on the tideline had departed , but the odd
one or two , like this Oystercatcher , provided interest . Then , the fun and games started , as a flock of about 20 Snow Buntings came into sight , zig zagging the beach , undecided where they would land . I thought at one stage that they were going to settle right in front of me , but , at the last second , the flock decided not to , and headed off towards Minnis Bay , with me trailing behind . I
did manage to get a shot of three of them just before their departure . I caught up with them twice before I reached Coldharbour , only to see them depart again before I got anywhere near them . Coldharbour only produced a couple of Mute Swans and about a dozen Redshank , including a very
 vocal one , probably complaining about the fly tipping . The fields behind Coldharbour were being ploughed , with the usual collection of Gulls and Corvids following the plough , and it was two of the
Corvids that left the crowd to see off a hunting Marsh Harrier , unfortunately right into the sun from my position . I carried on towards Minnis Bay finding just Linnets and Goldfinches in small flocks , but , with Minnis Bay in sight , I was passed again by the Snow Buntings , this time , heading back towards Reculver . I about turned and retraced my steps , scanning the pebble beach , especially where plants had grown during the Summer , but without success . By the time I got back to Coldharbour , I knew my parking time was getting close , but could see figures , one standing with a tripod , the other behind the concrete side of the sea wall . My pace quickened , and on reaching the chap with the tripod , was pleased to hear that he was watching several Snow Buntings feeding , deep in vegetation . The other chap was 15 mtrs. further towards Reculver , so I guessed that some were moving that way as they fed . I took up position beyond this chap and waited . Slowly but surely ,
small movements could be seen , and eventually , the odd individual moved into the open , and
hardly taking any notice of us , posed in all their glory . I must admit , I forgot about the parking , until Carol sent me a text , but , even that didn't disturb their feeding . Chatting to the second chap , they had arrived at Margate at 0700 and left 0915 , without seeing the EBR , then walked miles at Sandwich Bay with little success , so they too were well pleased with the end of their day . Eventually , I tore myself away , and hot footed it back to the car park , stopping very briefly to see if the Black Redstarts that have been reported below the fort were showing , which they weren't ,
and had to make do with this Cormorant , just before leaving .
And finally , just before leaving home in the morning , this Ladybird , another variation of the
Harlequin Ladybird with 19 spots , was found in the bedroom , no doubt , hoping to get it's head down for the Winter .
You can see I have changed the font , as an older reader was having difficulties . I don't particularly like this font , but it was the only one that gave larger letters , as I couldn't find a way to enlarge the original font , but someone might know ?


Phil said...

Shame about the EBR Greenie, and the BR at Reculver come to that.
I heard there were about twenty odd Snow Buntings on the beach there recently, i'm hoping to get there myself soon.
So camera and bins just happened to be in the car then? That was a stroke of luck, I bet Carol didn't fall for that old chestnut again.
I'm with you re the new font. If I were you i'd tell your elderly reader to go to specsavers!

Warren Baker said...

The new font is now big enough greenie, but I dont like the style :-) heh heh heh.

You're photo's are good today, have you been practising, or was it just the good coastal light ?

Rob said...

A good day's birding there, Greenie. I've never seen a Snow Bunting. Looks pretty distinctive, though, so I'll keep a lookout.

Warren Baker said...

Re the font:
If you are using the newer blog version - Click on DESIGN at the top of you blog page. this should take you to a page with a small box showing you home page, amongst other things, it says LIVE ON BLOG, below the box it says CUSTOMISE, click that, and a list of options comes up at the top left of the next page. Click ADVANCED, and then PAGE TEXT. here you can choose the style from a list of styles. I use verdana, below the style list is a drop down box with font sizes, choose one of these, I use 14, cause i'm an old blind git!!

Alan Pavey said...

Despite not seeing the EBR, Snow Buntings are a great bird, glad you tacked them down for some nice pics.

Mike H said...

Greenie so sorry you missed the EBR i know it won't be any consolation but i have some pics from Tuesday on my flickr site.
Nice snow buntings some compensation tho.