Sunday, 20 January 2013


Had you noticed it's been snowing?
What a pretty sight on the first morning as "emergency" bird feeding commenced

Next morning, how lovely it's still snowy, maybe a little more, so the hill immediately gets bunged up, this horsebox waited a couple hours before the salt worked and a big tractor could be found to drag it up to the top
Today the left-overs and scrapings from dinner were put out down the garden, and the Magpies, who had been content to pose in the sycamore in the sun,
were, as usual first down to feed
Soon an almighty squabble broke out, these two in particular squaring up to each other for several minutes
Then the gulls descended en masse and cleared the squabblers away
what a scrummage - black-heads and common gulls together - see the magpie heading for the hills? 
teh food scraps were all gone in seconds, they are clearly now very hungry, hope the thaw starts tomorrow, it don't take long to get fed up with the stuff

Friday, 11 January 2013

Romney Marsh and Dungeness

My car spent the day being worked on in Ashford on Wednesday, and as the dealer kindly let me have a courtesy car I decided to spend the day on the Marsh. Unfortunately the weather wasnt kind - in particular it didnt get light until about mid-day. As I had planned to make lots of pics to tell the story of a day at Dunge it was a bit of a disappointment
Down at Hawthorn Corner I did find the Bewicks Swan herd in the murk and muck, and managed to count some 81 birds there

A closer view on max magnification, the camera propped on the car for stability, produced these poor but identifiable pictures

Couldn't make out what they were feeding on in this field, must have been good as there was seemingly more appetising rape next door, although suffering from slug damage

Round at the Scotney pit the flock of mixed plovers numbered in the hundreds, of which a sizeable proportion were Golden Plover, I do love their call notes

But the spectacle was not improved by the miserable weather
At the RSPB reserve I had the whole place to meself, until I reached the Dengemarsh Hide, luckily the two noisy sods in there left a few moments after I arrived. All the birds there had understandably cleared off out of photo range, but later, from the old No1 hide, I found these 2 Great Egrets and a Little one too

All in all a day which produced some excellent birds, although better weather would have inproved the experience.  I counted 57 species including the Bewicks, some superb Pintail, Red head Smew, Goldeneye, Marsh Harrier, and Goldcrest. Dont know yet if he's blogged his day yesterday, but Phil (Kearsney Birder) did the same yesterday in fine weather and had a good day too 

Monday, 7 January 2013

It's just not the same, and some other bits

Matthew and I looked forward to seeing two steam powered railway trains just before Xmas, the first scheduled to come through Martin Mill drawn by 70000 Britannia. What a disappointment when it showed up with this Class 67 - otherwise known as a skip - on the front. Apparently the train
was re-routed at the last minute in the London area and the Brit wasn't cleared for the alternative route. At least the train had plenty of power at the front, no wonder it was bang on time

2 days later we went to Shepherdswell to see another train, this time scheduled for haulage by Tornado - this time we weren't disappointed as she burst out of the tunnel in new blue livery, smashing, and so much more interesting and spectacular, hence the blog title

 A few minutes after she'd gone, a following service train started to push the smoke and steam from the tunnel reminding me this used to be a common sight, and very evocative of many chilhood memories 

Paid an early morning visit to Stodmarsh too just before Xmas, a lovely and spectacular sunrise, tho' much too dark for good photography

 Large numbers of Fieldfares flew out as the light strengthened, and by the time I'd slipped and slid down to the Marsh Hide these two Marsh Harriers were squaring up out on the marsh. Suddenly a third appeared and seemed to dive in threat at these two, so they both cleared off leaving just an empty vista
Last weekend we walked to Hope Point and saw this Red Throated Diver fly close enough for these feeble pics. Was pleased to note that our first summer visitors had arrived, in the form of 2 or 3 Fulmars soaring about the cliff face
Nearly home for a nice warm cuppa, this Kestrel landed in an Ash tree across the road, maybe it was checking for Ash die-back?
Then it took to the air and obligingly hovered to provide this fine picture

Yesterday I slipped down at last to Dover to check out the various birds reported from the Granville Dock and the Bubbles, to be treated to this superb sunrise

and a super-power gathering of lifeboats, Dover's own "",City of London and another of the same type named "The Will"

Then the sky got all dramatic as fog rolled in, and after photographing this view of the North and South, I walked down the Prince of Wales pier

and took another pretty picture

I found no sign of the Black Throated Diver, nor the Red Breasted Merganser, but did see Razorbill, Shag, the resident seal by the hovercraft slipway, and loadsa Great Crested Grebes