Wednesday, 15 February 2012
I was hoping to use the headline Iceland Gull One Pound today but spent two hours unsuccessfully searching Westbere with Heathy this morning. We reckoned that there must have been upwards of 5000 Gulls today and despite trawling through them time after time the best we could come up with was approximately 3000 Herring Gulls, tons of Black Headed Gulls, fewer Common Gulls, one Yellow Legged Gull and one Lesser Black Backed Gull. However, we did have the impressive sight of nine Smew including four drakes, five drake Goldeneye and one Mandarin. Sadly Heathy counted the Gadwall and got to 116 before his PE teachers brain exploded. Also about 110 Tufted Duck a few Pochard and quite a few Mallard mooching about. Disappointed I made my way home but at least had this Jay in my back garden to point my camera at. I've also included a funny looking Tufted Duck and a photograph of a Green Woodpecker my wife took recently. Hopefully I won't get too many obvious comments that she is already a better photographer than I am.
Monday, 13 February 2012
A return visit today in the hope of connecting with the Smew again and hopefully getting some reasonable pictures was at least half successful. Meeting Marc just after 10.00 a.m. we strolled down to Brook Reservoir with 16 Redwing overhead and a prowling Sparrowhawk for company. The lake had thawed slightly and a larger area was filled with Shoveler, Wigeon, Tufted duck and Little Grebe. Around 600 nervous Teal were ice-skating and a single Grey Heron was skidding on the frozen area. We eventually found the Smew hiding behind a Mute Swan. I reckon it must have had a packet of Nytol as it didn't move for about half an hour. Marc flushed 3 Snipe along the dyke and we then spent the time counting Gadwall. Sadly, we reckoned about 116. The Smew sprang into life and swam around for nearly a minute and then rested again exhausted. A quick trip to Shuart added Moorhen, 6 Woodcock and Greenfinch to the year list and I ended up at Netherhale where I added Buzzard to my list who was sitting bored in a tree.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
I wasn't planning on going out this morning but a text from Marc alerted me to the presence of a RED HEADED SMEW on Brook Reservoir. Last week's bird I didn't connect with as I was too busy photographing the Kumlien's Gull at Dover. Smew is an incredibly rare bird at Reculver and I assumed that I would have to wait a long time to see one. However, arriving in driving sleet I made my way to the bank to see Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Pochard, a massive gang of Teal and no Smew. Phoning Marc he told me it had spent most of its time sleeping and I eventually tracked it down. The first photograph its usual pose which lasted for about 20 minutes. The second photograph is its one looking up movement which at least I managed to capture. The photographs that Heathy took it must have been on amphetamines. Thanks for the text and a new bird for the area.