Monday, 14 February 2011


I hadn't planned to go out today as sadly, I was going to a funeral at midday. But at about 10am I got a call from Terry Laws to say that he was along the footpath adjacent to our lake and was watching a flock of Waxwings. This is only two or three hundred yards from my house so it was a case of boots, camera, binoculars and a dash up the road before my cornflakes and coffee had gone down.

I'd only gone twenty five yards before I heard the distinctive trilling of these little beauties. Five minutes later I was rushing down the path when about six of them flew out of the top of a tree. I thought that was it, but when I reached Terry there were still about fifteen left in the tree top, the tree wasn't a food source and the rest flew north after a couple of minutes at the most, ironically straight over my garden! This is number 75 on the New Hythe year list. Now I know the internet has been awash with stunning images of Waxwings but you're not going to see them today on this blog. The best I could manage from directly underneath before the rest departed, is on display above. Don't laugh.

Ten minutes before I received the call from Terry I was down the garden taking another terrible shot of a Red-Head Smew on the lake which i'd spotted first thing from the dining room. My excuses for this one are distance, and sleep in my eyes. You can view it on 'The Fence Post' by clicking the link.

On a more sombre note I took another call while I was with Terry, this was from my brother in law who was walking his dog along the river near Brooklands. He was watching a large slick of oil flowing past him on the receding tide which he estimated to be many hundreds of yards in length, possibly up to a mile. He had no number for the Environment Agency with him so asked me if I could ring them and report it, which I did as soon as I got home, they told me that they had also had a similar report the previous evening, sunday. I have just received a call back from the EA who were at the scene but there was no sign now of the oil. I guess it's been swept into the Medway estuary on the tide by now. They seem to have done a pretty thorough investigation though, checking companies and garages on the industrial estates along the banks of the river but haven' yet managed to locate the source.


Warren Baker said...

Nice species for the year list Phil, you're leaving me in your wake now!

Just seen your ''From the Fence Post'' site for the first time, nice one.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Bad news re. the oil in the river .
Re. Waxwing shot , bad position for photography given how many berries they eat .
'From the Fence Post' is new to me too , most enjoyable . Tell Carol that all her hard work looks great . Well , it can't be down to you , you're always out birding .

ShySongbird said...

Well you did much better than me Phil, I still haven't seen any Waxwings :( despite the fact that they are apparently 'everywhere'!

Spotting a Smew from the dining room!...I wish :)

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
It might have been a sombre day what with the funeral, but the birds still keep coming.
Is there nothing you won't do to see a bird for your list, you'll be late for your own funeral if a good bird turns up. LOL
Tragic news about the polution.

Marc Heath said...

Well Mr Radcliffe, proves that you only need a few seconds to make it all worthwhile.

Bob Bushell said...

Really good Waxwing. It is bad news that somebody cleaned up the mess, 'cos, it was swept away - a nasty piece of work.