It's been quite some time since my last update. Whilst I've been out most days I have found little of note and to make matters worse I have struggled to get any worthwhile images. On top of that both Saturday and Sunday morning was spent watching the rugby..... but the less said about that the better.
The first part of Monday (10th) was spent around the estate at Sandwich watching the migration – siskins mainly, but a decent number of crossbills moved through (~60) some coming through quite low overhead - close enough to see their colours. I packed up at ~ 10.00 to go down to Backsand for the high tide. Phil at Pegwell had reported decent wader counts the previous day so I was hopeful about getting a good variety and number of birds on the scrape..........wrong!!!!!On the wader front the totals were 6 greenshank, 3 redshank, 2 green sandpiper and a lone snipe - it didn't take too long to count them. The duck count took even less time as there was only 1 duck there (a teal) though the little grebes are still around (5) and made life as difficult as possible. For the camera only a green sand came in front of the hide the rest stayed steadfastly over the far side of the scrape.
A curlew threatened to land and give me something to photograph but decided against it and disappeared over towards the river. I'm not sure I've ever seen a curlew on Backsand - I assume they don't like the enclosed feeling the surrounding bund provides.
Today (11th) again started watching the viz mig and again it was similar to yesterday – mainly siskin(170) and crossbills (~90) but also redpoll, chaffinch and goldfinch plus a few hirundines. Today however I decided I’d try and get some crossbill pictures. Some of the flocks came right over head but it was impossible to lock on to these but a flock of ~ 20 moved past at about 60 yards in a pretty tight group (in the view-finder) and I managed 3 shots – this is the best.
Not brilliant but at least you can see they are crossbills – in this case mainly males.In my last 3 days at the Bay I have seen approx 250 crossbils – not bad seeing as prior to this I had only ever seen 6 or 7 in my life!I tried to get pictures of the other finches but failed – the flocks were too loose and individual birds too small for the camera to lock on. The only other picture I managed was of a sparrowhawk.
Eventually we gave up on the viz mig and walked the estate but in reality it was pretty dead – the only bit of life being a mixed flock of long-tailed tits, chiffchaffs and gold crests in the Elms and a couple of kestrels. Let’s hope the easterlies promised later in the week bring something in.