Thursday 31 December 2015

Pett and Rye.

Having seen many pictures of the Pett Level Glossy Ibis closer than I had the other day I decided to have another go today. On arrival the bird was briefly quite close, however, there was a very dark cloud over the sun and the light was awful. By the time the light had improved the bird had moved further away, although it was still nearer than last time. In the distance were some White-fronted Geese with some Greylag.

Glossy Ibis.

It was then a long walk along the seafront to Rye Harbour. I was hoping to see some Sanderling on the sand. In fact there were large numbers of these delightful little waders. The wind was very bad and with the edge of a rainstorm it was sheltering in the hide on the Ternery Pool for a short while. Very soon the sun was back out and it was back to the Sanderling. As usual with this species they never kept still and with the tide coming in very quickly, time was limited. 

Sanderling doing some marathon training !!

Sanderling feeding.

Dunlin flock.

It was then the long walk back to the car straight into the wind which was getting stronger all the time. There was no sign of the Ibis so it was an early finish. A great day though!!

Monday 28 December 2015

Shoreham Fort.

With a really nice bright morning it was a trip over to Widewater and Shoreham Fort area to see what was about. Unfortunately, Widewater was so popular that the whole of the population of England was there so we headed straight away to Shoreham Fort. The only time I had been there before it was too rough so I hadn't ventured out on the breakwater before. Several Turnstone were showing really well, feeding on bait the fishermen had left behind. 3 Purple Sandpipers were also seen distantly. Several Gulls also showed well before it was a return to Widewater. It was still very busy here and the sun had also gone behind some heavy clouds so the day ended a little earlier than was hoped.



Black-headed Gull.

Greater Black-backed Gull.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Ibis, Owl and Egret.

A last minute decision to try to see the Glossy Ibis at Pett Level today. I last saw one of these back in the day when one was hanging around Stodmarsh, near Canterbury, back in the late 1970s!! As it hadn't been reported for the last 2 days I was just hoping that it would still be there. On arrival there were no birdwatchers around at all. This made me feel that maybe it had moved on. It had been seen mainly in the Coot flock, so it was a case of concentrating on these. All of a sudden the bird was seen walking up a small bank and then disappearing in a ditch. It was then a bit of a wait for it to reappear, fortunately whilst waiting for it a Lapwing posed beautifully, showing why it's other name is Green Plover. A Marsh Harrier then spooked all the Coot and the Ibis. It was then in sight, although quite distant. Unfortunately it didn't come any closer, although it still did show very well as it continued feeding.



Glossy Ibis with Coot.

Glossy Ibis.

Following the success with the Ibis it was on to Dungeness where the Long-eared Owl was still sitting in its favoured tree. A long distant Redhead Smew from the Scott Hide was the only real interest until the ARC pit where a Great White Egret eventually flew nearby. No Bitterns seen today which was a bit of a disappointment.

Long-eared Owl.

Great White Egret.

Great White Egret.

Friday 18 December 2015


Is it really December. It is so mild, in fact so mild I headed up to High and Over to see if I could find any Wall Brown larva. I have never found any before 6th January but even then it was not too surprising to find 3 of them in the grass tussocks. The first one was near the top of the bank and was about 1 cm long. At the bottom I found one out on some grass feeding with another sat below it. These were a little larger at around 1.3cm. With it being more sheltered down here they are probably able to feed more frequently. What was more surprising however was the amount of other small creatures seen with several small Spiders, 7 Moth larvae and baby Froghoppers as well as the micro moth Agonopterix pallorella sheltering in the grass. This is a hibernating moth although this one certainly was not asleep.

Wall Brown larva.

Feeding Wall Brown larva.

2 Moth larvae. Possible types of Wainscot??

Agonopterix pallorella.

I now have to decide if this is the start of my butterfly year or the end!!

Monday 14 December 2015

Back To The Pier.

With Matt flying back from his Sri Lanka birding trip yesterday he called round this morning to see us. After a while the weather suddenly improved a little so we went down to Tide Mills for a stroll and a chat about his trip. Whilst there we went over to the east Pier where we were surprised to see some Purple Sandpipers sitting on the top. Strangely this was the first time Matt had seen them sitting at the top!! Four were asleep, or at least dozing whilst I spent a few minutes photographing them. There were at least another 5 sitting under the pier as well as a Turnstone running around like a mad thing near the fishermen at the end, looking for any food the fishermen were leaving about.

Sleepy Purple Sandpiper.

Purple Sandpiper.


Running Turnstone.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

A Morning with Marbles.

Looking back on another great session from earlier in the year. Several times in the summer I was up for the sunrise, this time of the day is wonderful with nobody else about and it is mostly still, particularly noticeable during this windy year!!
One of the most photographic butterfly species we have is the Marbled White, especially when they are really freshly emerged. 
The morning of 26th June really worked with some of my best photographs from the year with several different individuals performing very well for me with the first picture taken just before 5.30am!!

Male Marbled White.
A monochrome version of my best picture of the day.

Another Male Marbled White warming up in the early morning sunshine.

Friday 4 December 2015

A Day in Dungeness.

There was a strange appearance today in the sky that I understand is called the 'Sun'. It's been a while since it appeared so with the promise of a Long-eared Owl it was off to Dungeness. The Owl was near the visitor centre so was almost the first bird seen. Unfortunately the camera settings had somehow changed in the drive over when it had presumably been knocked!! With the bird in the bushes and some distance across the water it was never going to be a great photo so I wasn't too bothered. It was after all fantastic to see one of these gorgeous owls and a species I hadn't seen for a few years. From the Scott hide 3 large Pike were visible in the shallow water. 2 Bearded Tit were seen from the raised viewpoint. We heard that some Bittern had been seen from the ARC pit so we then headed over there where we had 7 sightings of Bittern with at least 4 different birds. We also had some good flight views of Great White Egret and lots of Marsh Harrier activity, although these did not come close enough for any photos. All in all it was a fabulous day and even the traffic through Bexhill and Hastings was not too bad.

Long-eared Owl.

Robin from the trail path.

Large flock of Lapwing from Denge Marsh.

Bittern over the Reed-bed.


Great White Egret.

Great White Egret from the ARC screen.