Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Tuesday 21st October 2014

A couple of recent visits proved very uninteresting , with very little found . A visit to Kelsey Park in
Beckenham proved otherwise , with the Mandarins already in their finery and paired up , even though April is their normal breeding time . As usual , females are in short supply , so unpaired males had to
make do with a bit of showing off , hoping a female might change her mind . A noticeable change was the number of Brown Rats all over the site . Notices ask people not to leave food around and put
the explosion in numbers down to the last wet Winter and Spring . One individual must have been
watching the Grey Squirrels on site , begging to be fed as I approached . On the way home , I stopped again at the woods at Crystal Palace and again heard and got a possible glimpse of a Firecrest , possibly two , high in a Yew , but looking into the sun I was only looking at silhouettes . Then two dogs decided to start WW3 directly under the tree , and that was that .
Yesterday , I decided to visit the Isle of Sheppey before the arrival of the latest ex-hurricane . As it
was high tide on arrival , I started at Leysdown , finding little more than a few Turnstone , picking over the small area of beach that wasn't covered by the tide . Down the Shellness track , just a flock of Brent Geese feeding in a brassica crop and a couple of Reed Buntings on arrival at the car park . A flat walk out to the point found a large number of waders , mostly Godwits with a couple of Little
Egret , out in the middle of the saltmarsh . But that was nothing compared to the main hightide roost
on the beach . Impossible to estimate the number of birds , and this shot is only of the centre of the roost . Shortly after I took the shot , a walker put half of the birds up , so I didn't go any further ,
instead went to have a look at the male Hen Harrier painted on the blockhouse , a superb piece of art , I just wished I saw a real one , or a SE Owl , but the only raptor seen was a male Kestrel . By the houses , I was photographing a Redshank perched on a half submerged post , when I got just too
close , and it flew off and neatly fitted in between 6 Grey Plover , perched a bit further out . At the same time , a small flock of Ringed Plover , flew in from behind the houses , and landed on the beach
just 10 metres from where I was standing . I managed to fire off six shots before they realised I was there , and flew off further down the beach . At the time I thought I had photographed a Rock Pipit
directly behind the last house , but on looking at home , I think it is a Meadow Pipit . On returning to the car park , the sound of geese , although a good distance away beyond Leysdown was incredible ,
and once again , I only managed to photograph the middle of the flock as it flew out to sea , wheeled , and settled on the sea , seemingly between Leysdown and Warden Point . I expected to come across them on my way back to Leysdown , but didn't .
A drive down to Capel Fleet and the raptor viewpoint was quiet apart from several Marsh Harriers ,
including this juvenile , which were throwing the waterfowl into panic as they passed over . My last stop was at Elmley Nature Reserve for a look along the track , with clouds building , but there was
still time for a very confiding Wheatear along the track , both male and female Stonechat amongst
the ripened seed heads , but only the male was willing to pose . At the car park , the resident House
Sparrows were in constant conversation , by the old wardens house , at least three Red Admirals were

enjoying what remained of the sunshine . In the old orchard , two LEOwls were busy at roost , one
almost completely shrouded in vegetation , but the other a little less so . Several Migrant Hawkers
were on the wing in the area , and one came to rest on one of the Shepherds Huts . On the way back
down the track , Skylarks were singing and displaying , a pair of Mute Swan were practising their
synchronised flying , a male Clouded Yellow and a Stoat that raced across the track in front of me .


Warren Baker said...

Cant complain with that little lot Greenie :-) Much more than i'm seeing at the moment!

Phil said...

A nice mixed bag there Greenie. The high tide wader roost at Shellness is a sight for sore eyes. Like your Grey Plover and Redshank pic.
The Stoat was probably the one that ran across in front of me last week. The LEO's were there then, roosting with a Barn Owl of all things!

Marianne said...

Some great sightings on Sheppey. I am stunned by the Hen Harrier painting. By a weird coincidence, I only heard about the artist ('ATM') for the first time last night when I was at a work do. He has created some amazing artworks.