Monday, 7 March 2011

Why do we expect so much when the sun shines?

After a miserable weekend (where I did not bother going out) it was great to see the sun and enthusiasm was high as we did the rounds at Sandwich. As always our optimism was unfounded and the birds around today were very similar to those around yesterday (strange that) with no sign of the hoped for migrants (black redstarts, wheatears).
Greenfinch numbers are recovering but mippit numbers are still low – we only saw 3 today. Restharrow had the normal ducks – wigeon, teal, tufted, shoveller, mallard but the little grebe numbers now stand at 4 after being zero for most of the winter.
A few curlew were in the surronding fields and one came onto Restharrow but was a little too far away for a decent shot. Also from Restharrow a male sparrow hawk was seen cruising into the Elms.
Finally on the way back for a welcome cuppa a female kestrel was along the
Ancient Highway
After coffee I decided that the sun was too good to waste so I went hunting photo-opportunities.
First up was Hampton Pier. It took a little time but I eventually found the 2 purple sandpipers that have been in residence for a while now.
Purple Sandpiper
Also there were a few redshank and 20-30 turnstones.
The eider was west of the pier but about 30-4 yrds out but still a lot closer than I normally see them at Sandwich.
Next stop was the woods. As I arrived I saw Steve Ashton’s car parted up so I joined him in a couple fo hours of woodland bird photography.
The most common visitor to the nuts on the fallen tree were coal tit but these depart in an instant so getting a sharp picture was a bit of a challenge. In addition the light was very harsh so a lot of the shots were both over exposed (white bits) and under exposed (shadows) at the same time – a little frustrating really.
Coal tit
The nuthatch were a little easier to photograph because they hung around a little longer on the nuts ( as long as 2 or 3 seconds sometimes) but the light/shadows were still a bit of a challenge.
At one point we had 3 nuthatch in the adjacent trees but on this occasion 2 guys with dogs ensured they didn’t visit our food offering.
Great and blue tits were also around but were more very reluctant to visit the nuts and a couple of gt spotted woodpeckers were close by but unseen.
As the afternoon worn on and the shadows started lengthened  I went deeper into the wood hoping for a lesser spot but it was not to be though I did turn up a couple of tree creepers.

So a good day with the camera but these may get less frequent if petrol prices increase in line with expectations.


  1. You must have an old camera Frank, my camera runs on batteries :-)

    Nothing wrong with that Nuthatch photo though :-)

  2. ooops, Who's Frank ? Sorry Steve !!

  3. Steve which end do you approach bossenden wood from ?blean or dunkirk?