Sunday, 11 December 2011

Eclipse moonrise, and colours at Restharrow

Got myself organised to go to the beach at Walmer to see the eclipse, which I did in company with Grandchildren who also came to watch. Suprisingly no-one else there for a look at an unusual spectacle. Somewhat delayed by low cloud, nevertheless it eventually appeared - the pics speak for themselves

On Tuesday I was at Restharrow scrape for a half-hour, playing (unsuccessfully) at spot the Jack Snipe - no it's not among these

The colours in these male Teal were irresistible, too - if they were rare we'd happily go a long way to see one

Monday, 5 December 2011

A man's-eye view of a bird, and a Great Nothing Diver

 We walked round to Hope Point and back Sunday morning on the basis that it is always a pleasant walk, and also on Sunday morning it was perhaps better to be out in the gloom getting some exercise and fresh air, than to be at home looking out at it. In the event there was little to see, 'though I did play spot the Little Egret down on the rocks, and enjoyed 3 Stonechats which wouldn't pose for the camera

 At the far end of the POW pier there was a Turnstone 

and this Guillemot, a different one from that photographed by Mr Smith

Then there was a movement and a bird in the sunlit water, yippee
 Ooops, it was only a Cormorant, and so it appears the Diver had stooged off somewhere invisible, most likely round in the North and South, so this is my photo of it.
To see Phil's excellent pictures of the bird, this is his blog -

There was a little suprise waiting in the Wellington Dock, one of the Moorhens that occasionally spends time there

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


I have put the moth trap away now, and spent a couple of evenings getting the records into order and up to date. Numbers both of species and moths overall were down this year. This wasn't suprising considering the 'orrible weather, but I trapped 137 species in my garden, and found 2 specimens of one other species at a property in Caple-le Ferne - the Large Thorn - a new species for me, and one of 14 new species
 The "new" species were these

 Barred Tooth Striped


Centre Barred Sallow 


and I make no apology for showing this spectacular and beautiful Striped Hawkmotth again
The other new ones are these, which for some reason I didn't photograph - too dark and miserable I suspect!  

Bee Moth
Purple Thorn
Canary Shouldered Thorn - I've seen these beautiful little moths often at Sandwich Bay
Least Carpet
Twin Spotted Wainscot
Dark Swordgrass
Large Thorn
and also one of those Horse Chestnut leaf-miners which are causing so much damage to our Horse Chestnut trees

Prevoius years totals are
2008 - 141 species, all new 'cos that's when I got my trap
2009 - 165, of which 50 were "new"
2010 - 147, of which 20 were "new"

Steam train fun

There were 2 steam train excursions round here on Armistice Day, the first hauled by "Tornado" we watched cruise through Shepherdswell (I have yet to upload a video clip onto youtube), and then this one hauled by preserved Bullied pacific "Tangmere". We went to Martin Mill to see it come by, but Sarah phoned to say that she could hear it and see lots of smoke and steam over Ringwould way (this was from Winklands!).We made our way down, parked on the double bend (off the road I hasten to add), and walked down the path which we know as Hangman's Lane to the railway, and there it was, slipping spectacularly to a standstill right on the crossing

 Some of "the chaps" then got down and hand sanded the rails for about 250 metres up the slope to a point clear of the trees, leaves and dankness

Then it was a very gentle start, she began to grip and slowly accelerated away, by now over an hour late, and an excellent demonstration of driving skill (ignoring how they stalled in the first place!)

Ironically, while we were waiting at Martin Mill, the sandite rail cleaning unit came by on the down line!!
 There is a video clip of the affair here, the re-start is at about 4 mins into the clip and she finally begins to get hold of the train at 5 mins - such fun!!

Good grief, this one uploaded too!


Apparently there is a problem with my internet connection because I haven't been able to upload a blog entry from either of my computerS (show-off). This is another attempt, so hold on to your hat
There was a day trip to France at the beginning of November which got off to a superbly exciting start when 2 Little Auks flew across the bows of the ferry when just a couple miles out from Dover - just imagine any 2 from this pic I pinched from somewhere, and that's exactly what they looked like

Then there was a superb lunch at the Auberge de la Gare at Les Attaques just a little way out of Calais, absolutely smashing food, service and company, and not far away from my favourite little wildlife reserve there

Then there was shopping, but you won't want to know about that!

Then there was a walk on the cliffs at first light one day, the sun refracting from dew on the rape plants producing this rather lovely halo effect

About the only birds of note were these two - presumably - juvenile Peregrines swooping about and generally having fun - they seemed relatively brown

And finally, to test the upload, there was this "kiss" experience near the cliff edge, at least, I think there were 9 Magpies, see what you can see

Well, blow me it seems to have worked, I shall now hit "publish" and be damned (suprised, or annoyed!)

Blimey, it did, well well

Sunday, 16 October 2011

weekend round-up

First of all the full moon this week came up big and bold, the Hunter's Moon I'm told, whatever, it reduced the numbers of moths in flight for a few nights!

On Wednesday we went into darkest Sussex, and enjoyed a walk through the Forewood, during which we saw few birds, but the beginning of autumn colour was good, and it was a beautiful day, a pleasure just to be out

Some colour too at Wanstone, lots amd lots of winter thrush food

And so, right on cue, the fitst Fieldfares were coming in on Friday morning

This morning it seemed as though the world was about to end, rather than day break!
  Enjoyed some dramatic cloud photos

And a single late Wheatear above Fan Bay

  A nice balloon flight for someone, and an advert for Shepherd Neame

And finally, this chap has been posing on our chimney top for several days now, my goodness he certainly thinks he is the bee's rollerskates - come and get me, girls!!

No apology for these pics, he's a handsome chap isn't he - if Starlings were rare we'd travel a long way to see one, and it reminds us in a delightful way not to take common birds for granted