I have still managed to get out and about, catching up with the arriving summer migrants, soaking up the sun - sorry the heavy rain !!! and jetting off for a lovely 3-day break in the city of Rome with Angela, sight-seeing (with a few bird species noted for good measure).
I'll start with a few photos:
|Grounded Barn Swallows - 47 in this shot - taken at Scotney Gravel Pits on the 5th May.|
The above shot was taken during the exceptional passage of Hirundines, Waders and Warblers between Dungeness and Rye Harbour (and elsewhere along the south coast) at the start of May. This area of Scotney GP grass on the Kent/East Sussex border was at times covered in 100's of Swallows and the odd Sand Martin. Quite a spectacle of migration - and tiredness - in action.
On the 6th the parents and I headed to Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, hoping to see a Little Bunting. Sadly this was not to be, but I did manage to take a couple of photos of a Lapwing and a Common Sandpiper from the newly enlarged and improved Restharrow Scrape hide while dodging the hail and rain showers.
|Lapwing taking a break from nesting.|
|Common Sandpiper feeding on the closest island.|
Back to Dungeness RSPB on the 7th in better weather, where 6 Hobbies performed well over Dengemarsh, viewed from Springfield Bridge. Two birds were happy to pose on the newly erected anti-predator fence!
|It spotted the camera - but fortunately didn't fly away.|
On the 12th, Angela and myself visited one of her work colleagues, who wanted to try out my Canon 100-400mm lens for a test. I in turn tried out his Sigma lens on the garden birds. Many thanks to Heather and Mark for the cup of coffee and chat.
|Male Blackbird - taken using the Canon lens.|
|Blackbird collecting seed and fat scraps for its family.|
|Starling - taken using the Sigma lens.|
Angela and I then spent the afternoon at Rye Harbour NR in the company of hundreds of Gulls and Terns (six and three species respectively). A White Wagtail, several Whimbrel, 3 Little Egrets, a couple of Wheatears and a Little Ringed Plover were also noteworthy.
|Black-headed Gull colony at the Ternery Pool - from the Parkes Hide.|
The 13th saw us both head to Eastwell Lake, where the parents had told us the Spotted Flycatchers had arrived back for the summer. The churchyard is a great place to see one of our last returning migrants of the spring, and we had fantastic views of at least 3 birds, 2 singing/calling males and 1+ female. 3 Blackcaps (2 males) were also present and the lake held a pair of Great Crested Grebes, a Little Grebe feeding a youngster and a pair of Mallard with 7+ ducklings.
|Male Spotted Flycatcher on its singing perch - 2012.|
|Spotted Flycatcher - same site but taken last year - 22nd May 2011.|
That is all for now.