Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wednesday 14th. November 2012

With more 'brownie points' than you could waggle a stick at , I set off yesterday morning to use some of them , not for the first time not knowing where I would finish up . The North Kent coast looked as if it was going to get any sunshine that was going , and by the time I got onto the M20 , I had decided  that Oare Marshes was going to be the place to be . Mind you , as I climbed Wrotham Hill , headlights and fog lights were the order of the day , and I was questioning my decision . Dropping down the other side towards Maidstone , the fog cleared somewhat , but very little sign of brightness in the direction I was heading . I arrived at the Kent Wildlife Trust reserve in overcast conditions and no sign of any other birder . Half way down to the car park , I pulled into the lay-by , to have a look at the East flood . The tide was just about full , so there were a good number of species around . My
first shot managed to catch three Plover species , Ringed , Grey and Golden from left to right on the back row , and several Dunlin in front . All that was needed was some sunshine to show them off
better . Nearby , a Common Snipe , one of several seen on the visit , was dozing amongst the grass tussocks . All the time , more and more Golden Plover arrived on the flood , and having landed ,
started their continual chattering . How any of them get any rest is beyond me . There were in fact three cars in the car park , all turned out to be dog walkers , with plenty of proof left along the sea wall , as I started towards the hide at the end of the wall , keeping a watch and listen for Bearded Tits in the reeds . Several Cettis Warblers called from Bramble patches along the way , but none were seen . Turning alongside Faversham Creek and still finding no species on the Swale or the Creek apart from the odd Cormorant , I did find a pair of Reed Buntings . The male was particularly shy ,
keeping a good distance , but the female was much more of the posing type , until she got a call and
was off too . A few bushes further along , a pair of Meadow Pipits posed together , but once again ,
keeping their distance . Just before reaching the sluice , another pair of LBJs flew across in front of me and landed on the flooded saltmarsh . One disappeared completely , but I managed to find the
other one and got a few shots . Given the prominent eyebrow and light breast , a possible Rock Pipit ?
Passing the sluice and heading for the East Hide , a Kingfisher passed me , heading back towards the sluice , a favoured fishing spot I believe . I had a good look at the area where I had the Penduline Tit on my last visit , and even though the sun had broken through , there was no sign . It was heard the following day , but nothing since . Crossing the track to the car park , I found a few Redwings amongst the Hawthorn scrub , along with many Blackbirds and good numbers of House Sparrows . Heading for the West Hide , I got 'pinged' from the ditch on the right , and eventually saw three Bearded Tits , but so fleeting I didn't manage a shot . They disappeared into another reedbed , still
 'pinging' . Almost at the hide , a pair of Stonechat , this time the male was the poser and the female the shy one . The view from the hide was disappointing to say the least , just a single Coot and several ponies grazing in the distance . Retracing my steps back to the track , the Bearded Tits had obviously moved on . Walking back passed the lay-by where I had stopped earlier , the light was
much improved , and the colours on the three Plovers showed better . On another island further out ,
it appeared that it was Golden Plover and Dunlin only territory , and this was just one small part of
the island . Even though , Golden Plover were still flying in and trying to find room to land . Some
chose spots away from the throng , perhaps for a bit of peace and quiet ? Mind you , with many
Lapwing / Peewit / Green Plover around , peace and quiet was a rare commodity . Some , like this
drake Teal , just got their head down regardless . A few shots of a fly by Common Gull were also
possible with the improved conditions . A last look for the Penduline Tit had the same result as earlier . With 53 species recorded , I decided to try for the Barn Owl on my way home , but on the
way into Oare village saw some brown lumps in one of the fields . The lumps turned out to be 7 Grey Partridge , arguably the rarest species if the day , and finished off the visit nicely .
I arrived at the Barn Owl site just as the light was going , and didn't have long to wait for the female to appear . She flew towards her favoured fence post , but just before landing on it , swooped onto the ground below it . She didn't reappear for a few minutes , but when she did , she had her tea in her
talons , and flew straight back to where she had come from . Well , you can't win them all . I headed off for my dinner , the species count up to 55 on the day .



Warren Baker said...

55 species is a great tally for November Greenie.

Like that Lapwing flight shot, and some good other photo's today, the sunshine does make a difference !

Marc Heath said...

Great account Greenie and lovely shots to back it up with.

Marianne said...

Great stuff, Greenie - a good day in the field and nice set of photos, especially the lovely portrait of the female Reed Bunting.

ShySongbird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ShySongbird said...

It sounded like a very enjoyable day Greenie and there was certainly plenty to see. Love the lineup of plovers in the first photo. Splendid photos of the female Reed Bunting and Stonechat!

I see no one so far has any comments on the possible Rock Pipit and I wouldn't like to jump either way, I believe the legs of the Rock Pipit are said to be darker coloured than those of the Meadow. From personal experience I remember the Rock Pipits I photographed some time ago at Draycote had slightly more olive greenish, muddier looking breast markings than Meadow Pipits.

You all seem to have had much better weather down there recently, not a glimpse of the sun here for days now.

Greenie said...

ShySongbird ,
Thank you for your imput .
I have cropped the shot further and done the same with the Meadow Pipit ( top bird ) posted directly before , and added them to the end of the original post .
With 3 sub species to choose from , Anthus petrosus the British one , A.littoralis the Scandinavian winter visitor and A.spinoletta the continental sub-species also a winter visitor , I'm not sure , but the eyebrow and whiter belly still sways me to A.littoralis , but it would be nice to know for sure , either way .

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Greenie, stretching your crop further on my iPad what I can see of the leg does look dark which could make it Rock but further than that is too expert for me but I wondered if this article might be of some help.

Greenie said...

ShySongbird ,
Firstly , thanks very much for mentioning that article , it was very interesting , but just added to my confusion . Why do some birds make life difficult ? I was all ready to settle for Pipit sp. , when Keith , he of the butterfly trips and a keen birder , emailed me and suggested a winter plumage Water Pipit / A. spinoletta , and having looked at images on Google , it looks like a good shout .