Monday 24 January 2022

Elmley Marshes.

 It's been at least a couple of years since I ventured to Elmley Marshes in North Kent and as usual the site did not disappoint with some lovely close views of some of the local waders. Although we didn't see anything particularly unusual, apart from the 7 Shorelark at nearby Leysdown, which unfortunately didn't show so well as other days, it was a very worthwhile visit.

Along the long entrance track there were plenty of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing and a very nice Cattle Egret. Later on we were hoping to see some close flying Short-eared Owls but they remained hidden somewhere. However, whilst we were waiting for them we had an amazing close encounter with a lovely Brown Hare.

My thanks to David for doing the driving and to Jennie for a stunning dinner at the end of the day.



Black-tailed Godwit.

Cattle Egret.

Brown Hare feeding.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Owl Frustrations.

 With the Short-eared Owls continuing to show reasonably well I have now had several sessions hoping for the chance to get the dream photos that I have been hoping to get for many years.

Frustratingly, I always seem to be in the wrong area as the terrain covered by the owls is quite vast. I am also not keen on chasing the birds that too many people seem to be doing, preferring to stay semi hidden and wait for them to come to me. However, they always seem to be distant.

My last attempt was much more hopeful as they were showing earlier and there were very few other people about. Just after I arrived in the area where I could hide though the owls must have found food and went back to ground to digest their food so it was an hour before a single one re-appeared and I had just one chance to get a few photos as it headed in my direction before it caught another rodent and stayed hidden in the long grasses.

On the plus side, with the very still conditions there have been some wonderful sunsets available to photograph on my mobile phone!!

Short-eared Owl gliding past.

Getting Closer.

Detecting the prey before it got close enough!!

Sunset shots a couple of minutes apart.

Friday 7 January 2022

The Snow Bunting.

 A couple of days ago I went on another long walk which included Bo Peep. Since finding the Snow Bunting there on December 23rd I have had another 5 visits hoping to get decent views of the bird, but apart from one visit where the bird was quite distant I had been unlucky until this recent visit when it was in a small chalky patch sitting on the chalk and appearing to be sunbathing. 

Yesterday, I was doing some scrub clearing on my patch when I had a text from Matt telling me that the Snow Bunting had been found very much the worse for wear in the morning and had since died. A really sad end to his stay at Bo Peep. He had been looking a little odd as he had damaged his leg and seemed to be struggling with his balance on Wednesday, so I guess it wasn't too much of a surprise.

The sunbathing Snow Bunting.