On Saturday I check out Dover harbour – the thinking being that with so mucf on the inland waterways ice locked perhaps something interesting would turn up in the harbour. Well it didn’t. All I found were 2 tufted duck and a little grebe in the marina but that’s where the search ended because the PoW pier was locked. I couldn't be bothered to walk to the Admiralty pier.
With my remaining time I was a bit of a loss what to do so I returned to Kingsdown and visited the old rifle range to play with the camera. I was half way along and hadn’t seen too much when I noticed what I thought were ducks (very distant) out on the sea and when one of them flapped I could see white in the wing and got excited. I was returning to the car to get my scope but as I got near to the car the “ducks” were now close enough to id – they were great crested grebes . The lesson here - not everything you see on the sea with white in the wing is a velvet scoter. In my defence most of the brids had their heads tucked down so I hadn't been able to see the long necks.
It wasn’t a complete waste of time as a kestrel flew onto the cliff face and a couple of minutes later a peregrine flew north (very high).
|Kestrel on the rocks|
I didn’t think flight shots of either were very good (camera shake as the birds were directly overhead) so I spent 10 minutes practicing on the fulmars.
After that it was home but whilst I was waiting for the Italy England match I noticed a few birds in the garden with a song thrush posing very nicely in the sun.
Sunday I decided to park up at Hacklinge and walk out to Roaring gutter from the inland side – don't ask me why I just wanted to do something different and I knew the north stream was ice free. Things started pretty quietly with, chaffinch, greenfinch, blue, great and long tailed tit in the trees near the main road plus a few blackbirds and song thrushes but as I got out on the marsh I started flushing a common snipe from the track side ditches (10 in total). I kept looking and hoping then as I approached Roaring gutter up popped a jack snipe which almost hovered as it looked for somewhere to land a few yards further along then thought better of it and flew off along a side channel in silence. My luck didn’t stop there because a few minutes later up popped a green sandpiper then a redshank.
I did get to Roaring gutter but it was duck free, just a lone little grebe but I gave up then because it had started snowing quite heavily and I return to the car. On the return leg I found a couple of redwing and flushed the green sandpiper twice more.
I’d only been home 30 minutes when I got a text from Chidders alerting me to a Slavonian grebe at Dover. On with the coat and out the door to be greeted by ................rain – I think I prefer the snow I had earlier.
I parked up and immediately spotted the grebe down towards the Union road bridge, so I went to join it. I spent the next 40 minutes waiting for it to come closer and it did get quite close on occasion but not close enough to make up for the poor conditions. I took pictures with both the Canon and the Sony with the Sony producing more decent shots but that may have been because it got closer more often when I was using the Canon.
|Slav Grebe - this looks painful!|
|Slav Grebe looking for the Kumlien's Gull|
What was interesting was how the Auto White Balance of each camera coped with the conditions. Here the Sony was a clear winner with the Canon giving the grebe a very red tinge.
|Canon's best effort|
These 2 pictures are unedited just reduced in size for the blog. I didn't find correcting the red of the canon shots very easy and wasn't totally happy I have got the colours right but that may be down to my inexperience with the Canon software.