Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sunday 22nd. September 2013

Hardly been out over the last two and a half weeks due to contracting a very debilitating ecoli / urinary / bladder infection combined with a fever , whilst working out in the woods , which had me staying very close to the toilet and probably the most excruciating pain I have every experienced . Thankfully , antibiotics finally got to work , and apart from feeling totally knackered , even when just sitting about , things seem to be heading in the right direction again now .
For a bit of fresh air , I had a visit to Sevenoaks Reserve mid week , and on Friday visited Oare Marshes . I made my way straight to the ditch at the back of the East Hide hoping to see the Spotted Crake which has taken up residency there , but the single birder there had not seen it in the previous hour and my wait proved just as fruitless . The only thing I did see was a distant Grey Heron way out
on the flood , trying to get down it's breakfast of Eel or Grass Snake . The object at the end of it's bill was a rock in the water beyond . Heading off on a circuit of the flood , the most noticeable thing was
the large number of Golden Plover at roost , but every now and again , all taking off and circling several times before landing back down to continue their constant calling . The shot above was just a small part of the total which must have numbered 1000+ . Many of the males were still showing the
remains of their breeding plumage , but could have done with some sunshine to show it off better . As high tide approached , more waders came in to roost , including a small flock of Avocet , but they roosted well out on the flood with most of the Black-tailed Godwit , but a few of these did come
closer to the road . As I walked towards the car park , I passed a birder clicking constantly at something on the far side of the roadside ditch . As I passed him I couldn't see anything because of the high vegetation , so doubled back to where he stood , which turned out to be the only spot that a
preening Water Rail could be seen . I carefully managed to find a small space , and the water \Rail carried on preening as if we weren't there , and took no notice of the clicking either . Once it was
finished , it made it's way down the reeds , across a more open area , then disappeared into another
large area of reeds , not to be seen again . Once again some sunshine would have improved the images , but beggars can't be choosers . I thanked the other birder for spotting the bird and letting me
get into his space to get the shots . The high tide also brought a few Ruff in to feed in the shallows ,
unfortunately none were males with left over breeding plumage like the Golden Plover . I was waiting to see if one of the Ruff would wade under the small bridge , and was surprised when this
Little Egret hopped up , it must have been feeding just on the other side , out of sight . Just a single Yellow Wagtail hurried through , and a single Marsh Harrier was seen hunting along Faversham Creek . I didn't find the Curlew Sandpiper , but without a scope , I didn't have much chance . A single
small wader turned out to be a Dunlin , not the Little Stint that has been seen there . I heard at least two Cettis Warbler on the circuits , one close to the East Hide where I made two more stops to look for the Spotted Crake . Both times I was told that it had showed , in the periods when I was away , once a brief view as it scampered through the reeds , but the other time it was photographed in the open . Trouble is , I'm not good at standing and waiting , I'd sooner be on the move , even though I
might miss things . Heading back to the car , with the sun now out , the Lapwing were coming in for their evening wash and brush up . Some small consolation for dipping the Spotted Crake , were three
'spotted' Moorhen juveniles , one pictured .
Went hedgelaying yesterday , having missed the first outing a fortnight ago . Felt as if I had just finished a session before I started , I think this thing is going to drag on for some time , unfortunately .


Warren Baker said...

Love to get a Water rail photo Greenie.

Get fully better mate, winter fun starts soon ;-)

Wilma said...

Water rail shots are super! Take care of yourself; these infections can be hard to beat.

Phil said...

Good to see you back Greenie, albeit not quite fighting fit!
Great Water Rail pics, shame about the Crake. Might get down there myself this week if time allows.

Ken. said...

Like you I went to see if I could see the Spotted Crake on Thursday 19th but I missed out by about 30 minutes, so I spent about a hour chatting with some other birders, but it just didn't want to show, and then the weather changed.
Like the Water Rail shots.