Friday, 7 February 2014

Pear Tree Woodpecker. !!

The old pear tree in the garden, has been visited on and off by several woodpeckers over the years, but the Great Spotted Woodpecker visits gradually became less frequent.

  Last visit recorded was in March 2013 shown in the photograph below.

That is until the other day, when a flash of colour on the pear tree caught my eye, this fine male Great Spotted woodpecker sat motionless on the branch for about ten minutes, before moving on to the peanut feeder, where it fed for a further five minutes before finally moving on.

Rainham RSPB in February & Woodland Feeding Station !!

After leaving Kent in winter sunshine, I arrived at Rainham RSPB, to heavy rain showers, they soon faded away and the sun broke through the cloud cover.
 Equipped with wellington boots, I set off for a afternoon circuit of the marshes.
This female Reed Bunting showed well, feeding on the seed head of a  Bulrush.

A pair of Stonechats were seen in a typical pose.

There was a lot of water on the marshes , most of the boardwalks were passable, but submerged in places, wellingtons definitely required.

Large numbers of Lapwing, Golden plover and Dunlin were seen,
always too distant for a photograph ,but pretty spectacular in flight.

This Curlew was doing a circuit of Aveley marshes calling all the time.

As I had passed through the woodland earlier, I had noticed the large number of Finches and tits at the feeder station, I made my way back and settled in for some photography practice.

Greenfinches seemed to be more common in years gone by,  very rarely seen in my garden these days, seemed to be good numbers here at Rainham.

 Some people  do not like taking photographs of birds on the feeders, but there are plenty of natural looking perches around the feeders and some good photograph opportunities available, these are some of my favorite photographs taken at this woodland feeder station.

Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Collared Dove, Reed Bunting all coming to the feeders.

As I do not seem to see to many Greenfinches these days, I made the most of the opportunity to photograph them. 
I never realised before, how bad tempered they look, and there smart green plumage is far from drab.

Very enjoyable session with some common birds at the woodland feeder station at Rainham RSPB.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Ashenbank Little Owl !!!

Its always satisfying when you find your own scarce bird, some people might say that Little Owls are not that scarce, I'm lucky if I get one or two sightings a year, so, a scarce bird for me.

Most of my Little Owl sightings have been around the traditional birding reserves.
 Stodmarsh had a regular haunt at one time, there use to be an old out-building next to a dead tree on the top of the hill as you drove into Stodmarsh village, long gone now.
 Another regular site is at Elmley RSPB reserve where Little owls have been breeding around the farm, for some years now.

Ashenbank woods are where I exercise my dog, an early morning walk in all weathers most days, quite good for woodland birds,
Treecreeper, woodpeckers, Nuthatch, the occasional Marsh Tit, and  plenty of summer warblers, even Waxwings last winter.

So it was with some surprise, when my wife and I came across this Little Owl, always quite wary. 
We first crossed paths in April 2012, there were regular sightings throughout the early summer months. 
 Hard to tell whether it was a male or female, but on one occasion
two owls were seen, but then they mysteriously disappeared, no further sightings throughout 2012, and not seen again until a single sighting in June 2013, on the same tree as previously seen.

I assumed that they were still in the area, but moved to a more suitable nesting site.

So in February 2014, as I walked past the old tree, and glanced up, there was the Little owl, staring down at me, sitting outside the hole seen in the above photograph, I must admit, brought a smile to my face. 

 I'd like to think its the same one as seen before.
 Maybe it is or maybe not,
but they do traditionally return to their previous nesting sites.

 I hope it settles in and doesn't  move on,  been seen two days running now. so further updates to follow.