Saturday, 28 February 2015

Another Smew Day.

Another trip over to Dungeness to hopefully get an image of the Kingfisher on Friday resulted in more Smew pictures and no images of the main target!! A frustrating drive over with diversions all over the place, but with it being such a good day weather wise it was still worth the extra time spent in the car. 
The male Red-crested Pochard was the first bird of interest with many people admiring it. It was then on to the hide to await something to turn up. Although the Kingfisher was seen a couple of times it didn't perform for me. A Water Rail sculking in the margins and a Red headed Goosander were the other birds of interest apart from the Smew. The male kept to the right-hand side of the hide again, which was a shame as the sun was behind him, but the red-head did go to the left-hand side, which showed the colours of the head very well. Plenty of small fish were caught by all three Smew that were seen nearby, much appreciated by the people watching from the hide.




Male Smew coming to the feeding area.







Showing off the beautiful plumage.




The Pair.



Red-head Smew.



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Silver Stud.

Having now returned to some of my images from last year I realised that I hadn't put up any of the images that I took last year of the Silver-studded Blue. I only had one visit to see these during 2014 and unfortunately I didn't really get any photos I was particularly pleased with but I have now re-looked at them and have sorted a few, hopefully worthwhile shots.










Female Silver-studded Blue.




Male Silver-studded Blue.



Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Bearded Tit.

It was one of those days today, cloudy and dull!! This morning I went looking for some Wall Brown larva as it had got a bit milder over the last few days. Even then, at only 7 degrees I wasn't too confident. However, after searching for around 30 minutes I had found 4 with the largest around 2 cm.
With Pen at the hospice I had around an hour spare this afternoon so I thought I would have another look for the Bearded Tits. I've now spent around 4 hours looking for these over the last week or so. Plenty of sightings but mostly flight views. As I've never managed a photo of one of these all I had to do was to get any picture, which would make it my best Bearded Tit picture!! Eventually a male appeared in view, unfortunately in the middle of the reed bed. I was lucky to get one shot with no reeds across the face. Not a World shattering picture but at least it is a start. Maybe next time the light will be far better and the birds will perform better for me.




Male Bearded Tit.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Snow Bunting at Bexhill.

With the weather being a little unpredictable yesterday it was decided to head to Bexhill where a rather smart male Snow Bunting has been showing quite well. Although it didn't show straight away it then appeared on the roof of a beach hut. For the next hour it showed on and off, including a little bit of feeding on the beach itself. At one point it had a bit of an argument with a Turnstone. All the time the weather improved. By mid afternoon it was wall to wall sunshine.
















Male Snow Bunting.





Turnstone.


The day continued in a positive mode with several Bearded Tits being seen followed by another trip to watch the Short-eared Owls. It seemed an ideal evening for the owls, however, the owls were not as showy as they had been in the past.




Short-eared Owl.



Tuesday, 3 February 2015

View From The Shed!!

I've had a few attempts over the last few days of getting pictures of my local Goldfinches. Using different props to make it a bit more interesting I've now managed a few more shots including the first shot here that has become my 2nd most popular photo on my Flickr site that you should be able to find at https://www.flickr.com/photos/128888346@N02






This bird has been ringed in the past.




Goldfinch.




Blue tit.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Dungeness Smew.

With several close up photos of Smew from Dungeness recently Pete and I decided to see if we could get any luck. We were the first to the hide and we actually had it to ourselves for around an hour. During this time we had both male and female (redhead) Smew diving close to us and both catching Perch. Whilst close it was clear that the birds were quite wary and would move away from the hide following either excessive movement or noise from us, but with just us there it was not too bad and the birds kept fishing reasonably well, although mostly the wrong side of the hide for the best lighting!!
Unfortunately, it wasn't that long before more people came in the hide and although most were quiet there was a few that came in and asked if the Smew were about a little too loudly. Of course, these people had a great view of the backend of the birds as they quickly swam away!!
At one point there were 5 of us in the hide, all quiet ones, when a Kingfisher perched just in front of us. A very quick grab shot was unfortunately not sharp enough, but it was a great sight to see this fabulous bird so close.






Redhead Smew with Perch.




Male Smew with Perch.



As we were leaving the reserve we spotted a Great White Egret. It fortunately stayed there as we got out the car and rummaged around for the cameras. The light by this point was very poor as some heavy clouds were heading our way. That's my excuse for the poor picture!!



Great White Egret.