Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Reculver and a Hoodie, Tuesday 16th November

Carol and I went to Reculver yesterday and it was glorious. Sunny, calm and mild, the sea was like a millpond, the reflection of the winter sky giving it a milky appearance and blurring the horizon.

One of the first things you notice at Reculver at the moment are the Brent Geese, small skeins flying sometimes just above the sea with their white rumps flashing in the sunlight and bigger flocks moving to and from the farmland grazing areas. Their voice, much less strident than some geese sounding almost duck like to me and quite pleasant.

We walked along the sea wall to Coldharbour seeing a single Wheatear which absolutely refused to turn around to be photographed. Two Stonechats which were desperate to get their picture taken but kept getting spooked by cyclists. Various Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Goldfinches, not to mention Little Egrets and the ever vocal Redshanks. But try as we might we still couldn't find the Hooded Crow which eluded me last week.

On the shingle were the even more vocal Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers running daintily along the water's edge along with Turnstones, a couple of Curlew on the small island exposed by the receding tide and ten Snow Buntings which accompanied us for the last couple of hundred yards before we reached the path to take us inland. Strangely they were reluctant to venture out into the bright sunshine, preferring to stay in the cold shadow of the sea wall except when they made small flights, their wings then flashing white in the sun.

Our walk back alongside the railway line wasn't without excitement. We found three different birds of prey, the first being a Kestrel which sat on a graffiti ridden sign alongside the railway line, what a contrast. A distant Marsh Harrier checking out the reed lined ditches and best of all a Merlin, which we first saw twisting and turning in the distance before suddenly diving down towards some low bushes, probably in pursuit of unseen prey, and then streaking across the fields in front of us and landing on a small mound of soil alongside a ditch. Fantastic stuff!

We checked out every Crow and Rook that we saw in the fields or in flight in the hope that we still might find the elusive 'Hoodie' and finally on a small causeway in the oyster lagoons, just before we reached the end of the walk Carol spotted it, hanging out with it's mates, or cousins, the Carrion Crows. As ever it was difficult to get a reasonable shot of it due to distance and vegetation but the pictures below at least show the grey front and mantle that gives it it's name. It seemed really odd to see one of these birds in Kent having only seen them in the north and Scotland before.

And finally, I know I keep posting pictures of Robins but I can't help it, this one was in the bushes up against what I believe is the Roman wall near the Reculver towers.


Greenie said...

Phil ,
So persistence paid off again .
Mind you , it was a good job you took Carol to find the 'hoodie' for you .
Cracking shots in what look like cracking conditions .

Warren Baker said...

You never seem to 'dip out' Phil :-) and theres nothing wrong with Robin photo's mate !

ShySongbird said...

Well done to Carol! Well done to you too Phil, a most enjoyable walk and as usual I felt I was there with you.

You can never have too many Robins, especially at this time of year :)

You saw a good selection of birds, Stonechats and Snow Buntings...excellent!

I wonder why that Cormorant was standing on a table lamp... :)

Mike Attwood said...
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