Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Spitend Egret !

It was one of those days where I felt the need to escape to the countryside, I headed off to Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey with a view  to walk down to the Spitend hide and enjoy the remoteness of the Swale and the surrounding marshes, and hopefully no other people to disturb my solitude.

It was a lovely sunny autumnal day, to be honest there didn't seem to be an abundance of birds on view, but that didn't matter today, it was the long walk down to the Spitend hide that I was looking forward to.

I  was surprised at the number of different varieties of Butterfly on show as I walked down the track, Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Common Blue, and good numbers of Clouded Yellows, 

This Small Copper had seen better days.

I noticed another small Butterfly about the same size as the small Copper but much more numerous, the upper side was a pale beige yellow in flight, but when settled, always with its wings closed, it looked like a miniature Meadow Brown.

It was in fact a Small Heath Butterfly, a new one for me, the field guides describe it as common and widespread, I obviously need to keep my eyes open and take more notice.

I reached the hide after an enjoyable walk to the farthest reaches of the reserve, I tentatively opened the door and to my relief I had it to myself, not only that, the timing was perfect, the tide had changed, a flood tide was pushing the birds on the mud ever closer to the hide.

 I settled down to enjoy my picnic lunch, lovingly prepared  by my wife, and lose myself in the sights and sounds of the Swale.

Theres a pool just behind the hide, which is always worth checking, this Greenshank dropped in making its presence known by its distinctive call, but was soon on its way again..

Meadow pipits were  coming  to the pool for a drink and occasionally feeding on the vegetation.

The highlight of the day however was an energetic Little Egret
that displayed its fishing techniques on the incoming tide, chasing fish, probably small flounders quite successfully. 

The Little Egret gave me the opportunity to try and get some action shots, the perfect model as it chased around the shallows.
just wish that I had more skill with the camera to get those perfectly focused photographs that frustratingly elude me at the moment.
But a very entertaining session though.

A privilege to watch this bird which made the long walk worthwhile.

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