Tuesday 30 May 2023

Sandwich, late May 2023

Trip out to the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory. There was a cold wind gusting in from the sea, so we stayed warm in the Restharrow Scape hides, rather than walking around Worth Marsh.

There were a pair of Canada geese with three goslings on the bank and several Black-headed gull nests with chicks on the islands.


The challenge for the morning was to get pictures of flying House Martins, who were feeding in and around the scrape. 1700 pictures taken and about 10 were worth keeping!  You must admire anyone who successfully took pictures of flying Swallows, Swifts or Martins before the advent of digital photography.


Other species present included Gadwall, Coot, Tufted duck and Little Grebe.






Thursday 25 May 2023

East Devon, mid May 2023

Seaton Wetlands

The metal swift boxes, by the Discovery hut have two nesting pairs of Swifts, and the Kestrel box is also occupied, although the female is thought to be different from last year.

The Swifts were incredibly difficult to photograph, even near the nest. It is just amazing that they spend the first three years of their lives on the wing, without landing.  They need a 2 metre drop from the nest to ensure that they can get airborne again.

The male Kestrel was busy bringing food back to the nest. There is an owl in the adjacent wooded area and both Kestrels have been seen off the nest, displaying to keep the owl away from their young.

Plenty of the usual Black Hole Marsh birds on display including Shelduck with chicks and a juvenile Robin. 

The main, and very brief, attraction was the arrival of a Little Stint for a few hours.  This picture is highly cropped.

Colyton to Seaton walk

Took the tram to Colyton, then walked back to Seaton taking in part of the footpath that runs west of Colyton along the riverbank, to look for the Dippers seen earlier in the year.  A single Dipper was seen, constantly collecting food to bring back to the nest. Plenty of Grey wagtails in and around the pebble banks in the river.

RSPB Ham Wall / Greylakes

Broke the journey down to Seaton at Ham Wall. Nothing unusual seen in the brief visit. There was a pair of GC Grebes carrying a very young juvenile, plus a GW Egret was showing very well close to one of the hides.  


Visited Greylakes on the way back to Kent very early in the morning to try and catch a female Bittern bringing food back to her nest.  There was no other visitors that early in the morning and the Bittern did not show.

RSPB Aylesbeare Common

Lovely weather for a first visit to this heathland reserve, just off the A3052, west of Newton Poppleford.  Wild horses were grazing the common, helping to keep the paths open.  

Managed to see Willow warblers, Coal tits, Tree pipets and my first Dartford Warbler.  Definitely worth a return trip later in the year.

Favourite photographs (apart from the warblers)

Greenfinch in the fading golden evening sunlight and a 'grumpy-looking' Grey heron on the Wetlands.











Monday 8 May 2023

Garden birds, late April and early May 2023

I’ve been hoping to get better shots of the regular birds that visit our feeders, prompted by a rare visit from a Siskin.

Sitting on a chair, covered by camouflage netting didn’t work at all, unsurprisingly.  Sitting in the car with an open window as a bit better, but the trick was to use the car as a hide with camouflage netting hiding myself and the camera.

Siskin and friends



 House Sparrow

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Long Tailed Tit





Slimbridge, late November 2023