Monday, 30 September 2013

Monday 30th. September 2013

Carol was having an old friend over for lunch today , so decided to head off and leave them to it .  The best of the weather was forecast for the North Kent coast , so decided to see if I could do better with the Spotted Crake than on my last visit , which wasn't to be too difficult , given that I dipped on that trip . Got down to Oare about 0900 , and found three birders already in position alongside the ditch behind the East Hide . The Crake had been seen earlier in flight , but hadn't been seen for over an hour . The good weather turned out to be a pain , as with the sun out behind the ditch , any sightings would have the Crake in between the camera and the sun , in the shadows of the reedbeds . It was deja vous for the first hour , with the four of us squinting into the sun , but finding nothing , until one birder spotted the bird in the corner , alongside the path to the hide , but I could not find the bird , and was frustrated with cameras firing off around me . I thought my chance had gone , but a short time later , it appeared some 15 metres away on the edge of the reedbed that was almost like
night , and started to preen . I could see the bird , but found it very difficult to get the right settings for the situation . For the next hour and a half , the bird led the four of us a merry chase , appearing
suddenly in one spot , disappearing as quickly as it appeared , only to reappear some distance away , but always managing to get vegetation between itself and the camera . Most infuriating being when it made it's way under cover with tantalising views , to the end of a reedbed , with all cameras trained on the spot where it would break into the open , only to turn around and disappear again . Not once
did it show well in the open , but did appear to swim a couple of times in the shallow water . After the ninety minutes it was not seen for some time , so most took advantage to stretch the legs and grab some lunch . I did likewise , doing a circuit via the sluice and the Sea Wall Hide . Apart from the
BTGodwits , Golden Plover and other waders on the flood , there wasn't much else about . I heard a few 'pings' in the phragmites , but never saw a Bearded Tit , but several Reed Buntings were seen
alongside Faversham Creek . No sign of the Water Rail alongside the road this time , but a Little Egret , possibly the one I photographed on the bridge last visit , was feeding in the bridge area , and
seemingly doing very well too . Plenty of Lapwing and Teal from the road , a single Spotted
Redshank at a distance and a few Ruff , two pictured . After a bit of lunch , I headed back to the East Hide area , hoping for better views of the Crake . From what I could make out it hadn't been seen since the last sighting I had , and things appeared very quiet in the ditch . Even the return of the other two original birders didn't manage to rustle up a sighting , but a while later , the Crake was relocated some 20 metres down the ditch towards the sluice , and the birders , now numbering about ten , decamped along the path , just past the seat , where , over the next 25/30 minutes , the Crake showed better than anyone could have hoped for , with the sun behind the camera , and the bird feeding and preening and sunning itself , with short spells disappearing into the reeds , but always returning to get the cameras snapping again . During that time , I managed to take over 500 shots , some ruined by swaying vegetation , but many to keep to remember that magical time . I'll close with just 4 from that number .


Chris Rohrer said...

Most excellent birds!!! That Crake is very cool!

Mike H said...

Patience is a virtue Greenie!! That last vegetation free shot is really great well done you.

Wilma said...

Love the last 2 shots of the crake with its long toes so evident.

Warren Baker said...

Well done Greenie, I stood for 50 mins before I got to view it, I was camera less though!

Phil said...

Well done Greenie, definitely worth the wait. Your camera must have been working hard!

Alan Pavey said...

Brilliant stuff Greenie, well worth the 2nd visit and some great pics!