Friday, 11 May 2012

Friday 11th. May 2012

With a dry day , albeit windy , I made an early start and started the track at Elmley just after 0800 this morning . At times the wind was almost gale force , especially from the car park down to the hides , and the early clear blue skies soon clouded over with just occasional sun showing through . But , it was good to be out , and this post will be photos and captions ;
The first part of the track seemed to be covered with Skylarks , intent on playing 'Chicken' .
One of the hoped for species , Yellow Wagtail , was just off the track to the right .
With water in all the ditches and most scrapes , plenty of Redshank around .
On an area of turned ground , these Oystercatchers were getting to know each other .
A  lone Avocet was all that was on the large scrape on the left before the car park .
Several Swallows around the car park , and both mens and ladies toilets are 'occupied' , that is of course by the Swallows . I wonder if any of them were the youngsters that I photographed last year ?
A female Wheatear , the only one I saw on the site , flew off the tall mound at the start of the walk to the hides .
A male Meadow Pipit was singing from a small Hawthorn further down on the left .
Beyond the sea wall , Great Black-backed Gulls hung on the strong wind . A pair of Little Egrets flew off as I approached , and disappeared further along a ditch . I went straight to South Fleet Hide , where I found two birders already scanning the scrapes . Just two Mute Swans in front of the hide .
Lots of Avocets , including some with young  , this parent had four . Then one of the birders said 'got one' , followed his directions and after a while got a glimpse of a Black-winged Stilt , one of two there at present . They were a long way off and when they got disturbed , flew even further away from the hide . We managed to keep track of them as they worked their way around the back of the scrape , at one point flying for some seconds . Whilst they did , we all tried to get shots , and this was
the 'least bad' of the bunch , but the black wings and trailing legs can just be made out . After over an hour of watching , they landed in front of Wellmarsh Hide , so we all packed our gear and hot footed it over there , only to find from a birder who was in the hide when they landed , that they took off almost immediately and he lost sight of them . A further search proved fruitless , but at least we had seen them . I left the other two and started back to the car park , along the way finding ,
Sedge Warbler ,
Reed Warbler ,
and Reed Bunting , all singing , along the way .
Near the feeders , just short of the car park , I found this male White Wagtail . I also had distant views of Marsh Harrier and two views of Hobby .
Heading back down the track to the road , several male Lapwings ' showing off ' .
A movement in the grass turned out to be this Lapwing chick , looking like it had only just hatched , and found another two in the same area . The only adult was some distance away . Another three Yellow Wagtails were also found along the track .
Every ditch and water filled scrape held noisy Marsh Frogs , this male calling for a mate .
These two had already got it together . Quite a size difference .
As usual , from Elmley I headed for the Raptor Viewpoint at Capel Fleet . Things were quiet , just seeing three Marsh Harriers at distance and the usual pair of Kestrel along the wires .
Leaving the Viewpoint , this female Wheatear hopped up on a fencepost as I approached .
On the bend at Capel Fleet , this male looked very tired resting his legs .
This Red-legged Partridge unusually posed for this shot , normally they run off .
Near the top of the hill , I pulled over to let another vehicle pass , looked into the field and saw this Brown Hare .
Looking further into the field , I found a second Hare , shacked up with a Red-legged Partridge ?
Time I was going home .


Phil said...

Great set of pics Greenie. Nice to see the Black winged Stilt. Reminds me of Majorca recently.

ShySongbird said...

A packed post again Greenie, lots of lovely photos. I think my favourites were the Redshank and the Swallow.

Well done with the Black-winged Stilt! Apparently there was one in Oxfordshire recently, needless to say I didn't see it.

Nice to see the Marsh Frogs too, we don't see those here.

Warren Baker said...

Photo's and captions is good enough for me Greenie, some hard to get species were photographed too, Reed and Sedge Warbler fr starters!