Friday, 6 April 2012


I had a text from Jerry yesterday morning to say that he'd just found a drake Garganey on the river opposite the bucket seat. I went straight down and was lucky enough to find it still there, snoozing and dozing with a couple of Teal. The tide was flooding fast and the birds were gradually getting pushed off the mud, at one point the Garganey took flight with the Teal but returned a couple of minutes later. A Kingfisher, a Snipe and a Green Sandpiper were also seen in the hour or so that I and the Garganey stayed. A splendid bird indeed to take my New Hythe year list to 77 species. Many thanks Jerry.

Today I came back with John in the hope that the Garganey had returned, but it hadn't. Or at least we couldn't find it. We stayed on site for a couple of hours with few highlights, on what was a pleasant, sunny, but fairly unproductive visit bird wise. Although I did manage to up my list to 79 when a Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over the east scrub and a Willow Warbler, my first of the year, announced its arrival in the west scrub with bursts of its softly descending song.

A Buzzard was also seen circling fairly low above the railway line, where a dead Badger lay, the first real evidence i've seen of their presence actually on the site. Such a pity to only ever see them dead, usually on the roadside.

From the divers' footbridge I at last found a Water Vole, I haven't seen one in this part of the water filled ditch since it was polluted some time ago.

This particular individual wasn't the least bit perturbed by our presence and happily munched away on its lunch while the world and all his dogs and several cyclists crossed the bridge where we stood.

Having had his fill, he took to the water and swam under the bridge emerging on the north side before disappearing into the bankside vegetation. Quite a relief really, as I thought at one point he was going to become dog food.

While toiling in the garden this afternoon a burst of excited twittering overhead announced the arrival of a handful of Sand Martins (80), and a single Swallow (81). Trouble is, one Swallow doesn't make a summer and as I understand it, this weekend will be nothing like summer. Happy Easter!


Greenie said...

Phil ,
Great news on the Water Vole , will have to visit for a helping .
As for toiling in the garden , Carol mentioned that she did it all while you were out birding !
Garganey was a good find .

Mike Attwood said...

That is good news on the water vole. Thats enough to drag me over the border into Kent.

Mike H said...

Great news relating to the Water vole. Terrific shots Phil

Warren Baker said...

Great record for your patch Phil, Gargany.

I see you've also had some other migrant activity there, might prove good news for me :-)

Jason K said...

Cracking Water Vole... a great find and some excellent photos Phil. I havent seen one in these parts for a good few years now

ShySongbird said...

Well done on the Water Vole Phil and on the lovely photos of it, it's some years since I saw one. So glad it didn't become dog food ;-) Also well done on the Garganey, the only time I saw one was at Draycote reservoir a couple of years ago.

I've also just enjoyed your previous post. I haven't seen any Lady's Smock here yet this year but your other flower is, as you thought, Lesser Celandine. Lovely photos of the Comma. Also the Marsh Frog which we don't get here.

By the way, I wondered if the Loch Ness monster might have relocated to Stodmarsh :-)

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Qué guapo!!!... Bonitas imágenes... Un saludo...

Carole M. said...

Hi Phil! A water-vole is new to me, lovely photos. It looks similar to a (Peruvian) guinea-pig I think.

Ken. said...

How good is it to have a Garganey on your patch.
Nice to know that the water Vole is making it''s self known again.Well done with photographing it.

Anonymous said...

lovly pics phill cant wait till you get your new lens in the future it will be a real treat for us all

Chris said...

Excellent but wait this one does not have feathers ;-) Beautiful shots and encounter Phil!