Sunday, 22 January 2023

22 January 2023 - East Kent

Son and I took a wee trip out today - starting at Oare and ending at Worth Marshes. Max found a party of five Cattle Egrets at Teynham and we also had a look at the White Stork in the county - been a while since if seen one...

White Stork

Cattle Egret (1 of 5)




Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

Meadow Pipit




Saturday, 21 January 2023

21 Jan 2023 - Hume's Warbler at Pencester Gardens, Dover

It's been many a year since I've seen Hume's Warbler in the UK, so decided on a brief afternoon visit to Dover to have a look at the overwintering bird present... Always hyperactive was a challenge to nail down. A few pics almost worthy of sharing... 

Monday, 16 January 2023

8-15 January 2023 - Finland

 A brief trip over to the Arctic Circle in Finland for some proper snow and ice. Day temperatures were -9oC to begin with but warmed-up to nearly 0oC part-way through the trip. 

Finding 'stuff' is hard work at this time of year - lots of people have feeders in their gardens, attracting Willow Tits, Bullfinches (Northern) and an array of other passerines (Tree Sparrow, Great Tits, Yellowhammer, etc). Hooded Crows, Magpies and Jays are all out there, but we had no luck with Sib Jay, Sibe Tit, etc - the latter would have been new to me.

The Black Grouse in the tops of the trees were found by Max (son) and he also found the two Great-spotted Woodpeckers. 

Mammals were a highlight - the ermine Stoat in particular - though the various shades of Red Squirrel  were great. 

Pride of place, however, goes to the Moose that Max and I found and managed to get a few seconds of dodgy video before it went back in to the snow-covered landscape.

Sunday, 1 January 2023

1 January 2023 - A new year of natural history watching begins...

A brief drive round the orchards at work (East Malling, Kent), armed with thermal imager in one hand and bins in the other, failed to produce any Woodcock (the expected result!), but did yield a smart Common Snipe not far from the Met Station. Other bits to start the 2023 patch list included the fabulous male Pheasant and a Great Spotted Woodpecker attempting to drill holes in to one of the tree posts. 

Common Snipe had been considered a rare/occasional species on site but the use of thermal has highlighted they are much more regular than previously considered.

Common Snipe

Male Pheasant that has been on site for much of 2022

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Thursday, 29 December 2022

29 Dec 2022 - Elmley

Couple of nice Brown Hares along the entrance track at Elmley were secretly tucked away behind tussocks of long grass - thankfully the thermal imager gave their presence away... Nice lot of smart Lapwings n the reserve - plus Black-t Godwit, Wigeon, Curlew, Little Owl, etc.

Saturday, 24 December 2022

24 December 2022 - Woodcock at Elmley

A brief visit to Elmley with the thermal yielded a fantastic Woodcock in the copse by the car park - just a few metres away and definitely one that I wouldn't have seen without the technology...

Similarly, the Little Owls were readily located in a Hawthorn tree near the greenhouse - nice!

Woodcock - brilliant to be able to photograph it on the deck in the daytime

Little Owl - one of two present in the same copse

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

14 December 2022 - Buzzard at East Malling

This adult Common Buzzard was a surprise find in the mist net this morning - only the second one on John's rings!  

Saturday, 10 December 2022

10 Dec 2022 - Waders at Hampton Pier

Failed in my quest to photograph the immature Little Gull at Hampton Pier this morning - the morning was made up with photographable views of Purple Sand, Sanderling, Turnstone and Dunlin.

Sunday, 4 December 2022

3 December 2022 - Grey Seals at Donna Nook, Lincs

Max and I travelled up to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Donna Nook to witness the annual spectacle of thousands of Grey Seals up on the saltmarsh. The count the day before (2/12) yielded 2039 pups, 1498 cows and 497 bulls. 

The location is extremely well organised - one-way traffic on the local road heading to enormous car park facilities, toilets, burger bar, info centre, Wardens, safety barriers (protecting seals and people!)...

The real delight of course, is the proximity to some of the animals - some pups, either still in their white new-born fur, or those that have already attained their grey pebble-dashed coats, are right up alongside the footpath barrier. Being just a couple of feet away from these animals is a great privilege.  

A fantastic trip!