Sunday, 30 December 2012

A Season(al) Washout


 

 

Well, what a complete waste of time the Christmas break turned out to be. Every day was wet and windy with some extremely heavy showers involved. Birding the Stour Valley was an improvident happening with very little avifauna to inscribe in the memorandum book coupled with the intemperate precipitation did not bode well for a joyous epoch of ornithological solemnity. A lot of water is lying on the ground and all footpaths are very water-logged, muddy and lubricious. The Alder Wood is only home to a few Chaffinches, the odd Treecreeper and occasionally a small flock of Siskin, the Bramblefinches seemingly moved on. Despite it being the middle of winter there are surprisingly few Ducks on the lake, between 2800 and 3500 Teal are the most numerous and up to a 106 Pochard but otherwise a couple of Pintail every now and then, the odd Wigeon and half a dozen Tufted Ducks are all that mingle with the Mallard, Gadwall and Shovelers. The lakes at Westbere, Fordwich and Trenleypark plus Collard’s all seem to be Duck free except the occasional Goldeneye at Collard’s itself.  Highlights (hyperbole) have included 2 Hen Harriers both ringtail/female type birds, up to 18 Marsh Harriers, a Jack Snipe, 1 (yes one) Kingfisher, possibly four Bitterns (first day of the break) and an uncompounded White-fronted Goose loosely attached to the Greylag flock. Most curious event is the gathering of 220+ Great Black-backed Gulls on the Stodmarsh lake with most departing at or around dawn. The commoner of the avian species can still be found although only small numbers with Blackbirds being the most numerous bolstered by continental interlopers. Large flocks of Fieldfare leave the orchards at first light, half a dozen Cetti’s Warblers announce their presence and 100 plus Mute Swans fly out to pasture as the dawn breaks. The 29th did bring a huge surprise in the form of a juvenile Great Skua that appeared in front of Alan and I at the Feast hide while we were supping our coffee. Sadly I was not prepared and the camera was still stashed in my bag but, a quick fumble and without adjustment I managed to rattle of a few record shots.
Great Skua from Feast hide Grove Ferry

Great Skua from Feast hide Grove Ferry

Great Skua from Feast hide Grove Ferry
I have been seeing Waxwings almost every day with numbers fluctuating between 29 and 61 individuals but, photo opportunities have been almost beyond the bounds of possibility due to the weather status although, Christmas Day itself did afford a few hours of sunshine allowing the opportunity for retentive gratification. This will be my last post until 2013 when I hope I shall post a little more than I do at present.
Waxwing near home in Deal

Waxwing near home in Deal

Waxwing near home in Deal

Waxwing near home in Deal

Waxwing near home in Deal

Waxwing near home in Deal
A big thank you to all that may read this drivel and have followed my posts or looked at my Flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/stourvalleybiker/ ) throughout the year, thank you for the comments (disparaging, constructive or otherwise) you have left I do read your blogs too even if I am a tad too lazy to leave many comments. Believe me, I do enjoy them all. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas or whatever festivities you may celebrate and I wish all a very happy New Year and may it be excessively bird filled.

All the best, Martyn

 

Some off my favourite images from this year.
Barn Owl

Bewick's Swan

Black-necked Grebe

Black-throated Diver

Corn Bunting

Garganey

Kingfisher

Kittiwake

Kumlien's Gull
Little Owl

Osprey

Pheasant

Purple Heron

Shag

Waxwing

and White-winged Black Tern


and White-winged Black Tern

 

7 comments:

  1. Happy New Year...and I hope to see you a little more often next year.

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  2. Happy new year Martyn nice shots as well. Regards Steve A.

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  3. All the best for the New Year Martyn , cheers Rob ( Great photos too )

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  4. Great blog Martyn keep up the good work. Hope to bump into you again in 2013. Happy New Year.!

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  5. All the best Martyn for 2013.(have you move ho ho) FROM ALAN.

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  6. Excellent mate all the best for the New Year.
    Regards Tim.

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