Monday, 17 February 2014

Free Willy

So yesterday's high tide survey was overshadowed by me trying to persuade a Harbour Porpoise to save itself from beaching up on the mud on the in coming tide, but this was just going to be a losing battle for me ;(

This cracking beast obviously was in a lot of stress, and was doing what a lot of cetaceans do for some unknown reason to man, but to get it self out of the water! Why do they do this? To die alone?  Without their family members knowing or hearing them in distress?  We will probably never know or understand why.

After three attempts at me pulling/pushing this amazing animal back into deeper water, it just kept getting as far up on the land as possible, until the tide was so high that it covered the saltings, and then it tried to dig itself into the roots of the long grass that was now above my wellies!  All the time it was still coming up for air and was seemingly having some sort of muscle spasms.

I then had no more time but to leave this amazing creature in peace, but will never forgot what a close and personel experince had with this species.

Common seal investigates the commotion

Thursday, 13 February 2014

High Tide Today

Had a High Tide survey at East Tilbury today which saw fairly average Wader and Wildfowl counts, with the former producing good numbers of Dunlin, Grey Plover and the return of some five hundred Avocet that were absent from last weeks survey.

Half a dozen Bar-tailed godwit and a ten Turnstone were noteworthy, as were a roost of 68 Common Snipe and still twenty Corn Buntings feeding on the saltings.

Some pics from today:

Sunday, 9 February 2014

£900 Duck!

That's the cost of each Ruddy Duck according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), who have culled around 6,500 birds since it started in 1999 at a cost of over five million pounds.

With someone announcing this week that there are only 17 left in the country I find myself very lucky to connect with two so far this year, though I believe the number could be a little higher than that personally.

Though if true, I have seen 11.7% of the british population or £1800 worth!

Ruddy Rare (private site)

flashing his stiffy

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Some Sign of Spring.

It was a blustery East Tilbury survey yesterday but if not for the weather, surely the bird activity was suggesting that spring is just around the corner.

One of the first birds picked up was an unseasonal Whimbrel that flew along the shoreline, and even called to salvage my sanity!  Surely this has to be the same wintering bird that has been recorded along the north Kent coast over the past couple of winters.

With the wind keeping most small stuff down, there were still a dozen or so Skylarks singing there heads off and chasing each other over the long grass.

The other notable change was the absence of the Avocet flock, with peaks of over a thousand birds back in December I couldn't find a single bird at low tide! So it looks like they are on territory already or on their way.

A Marsh Harrier and flock of sixty Black-wit were the only other highlights as well as three pairs of Stonechat seen.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Glauc steals the show

With news of a 1st year Glauc showing well at Dungeness for the last couple of days myself and Mo had no hesitation in getting down there early doors.

Arriving at dawn we pulled up along the causeway and picked up the Black-throated diver on new diggings with no fewer than 4 Great White Egrets on view.  Arc pits held 7 red head Smew and several Goldeneye.

Quite an amazing start, we then headed down to the point and picked up at least 8 Little Gulls inc 2 1w's.

ad Little Gull 

1w Little Gull

1w Kitt

We paced up and down the beach and was joined by Shaunboy but still no sign of the Glauc.  Just as myself and Mo was about to move on - Shaun pics up the Glaucous Gull feeding on the foreshore showing incredibly well.

Having had a fill of this stonking beast we headed of to folkestone in search of an over wintering Palla's warbler but to no avail, but we did add both Treecreeper and Coal tit for the year.

A great morning's birding and managed to get Mo home for his rugby!  Bet he wished we stayed out though.....