Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Just a Grey Squirrel !

I know that Grey Squirrels  are not the most popular of mammals, blamed for the demise of the more popular Red Squirrel, but this is the only Squirrel  I'm likely to see here in Kent.

 This one presented a nice photographic opportunity, It's a shame the reflection in the pool was not a little stronger, and the subject a little rarer.

 Unusually, I saw several Greys eating Hawthorne berries and one even eating Rose Hips which makes a change from the sweet chestnuts  I usally see them eating, maybe these make them thirsty, certainly took on a lot of water while I was watching.

Not much more I want to say about these Greys, so probably my shortest blog entry ever, just wanted to record the image which I quite liked.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Winter Buntings !

 It's not often a visit to a Reedbed does not reveal one of these smart looking Buntings, The Reed Bunting, in particular the cock bird as shown in this photograph are pretty unmistakable, even in their winter plumage, the female not so distinctive but still nice to see.

As I sat on a bench watching this cock Reed Bunting decimate the head of a Phragmite it brought to mind my first ever sighting of this species for me back in 1986 when I first began taking a keener interest in bird sightings, not such a nice place, the reed bed alongside Long reach sewage works on the bank of the River Thames near Dartford, I remember even now, thirty years later, the excitement of seeing a cock Reed Bunting atop of a reed, singing its heart out, little did I realise that it was a common bird of the Reedbeds, now I hardly give it a second glance except to acknowledge the bird as a Reed Bunting.

Strange how a memory is triggered by a sighting, seems like only yesterday.

 On the other hand, how annoying is it when engrossed on a DIY project and I find myself wondering what tool was it, that I have come down to the garden shed to retrieve,
 only to remember on the walk back to the house empty handed. what's that all about !

Here's a few images of the Hen Reed Bunting, not so distinctive as the male and blends into its reed bed habitat perfectly.

Looking on the bright side I can still identify most of what I see on my daily excursions. so not too much to worry about.

Always nice to see a bird in its natural surroundings.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

An Unlikely Face Off !

The European Robin, re-established as our national bird earlier this year, often seen in the woodlands, a garden favourite and often taken for granted.
 Life appears harder for the Robin in the marshlands where food supply is scarcer to find in these cold winter months.

Here's a pictorial observation of a plucky little Robin made the other day, after a particularly cold and frosty night.

The so called arena was a feeding station in the reedbed adjacent to the woodland at Rainham RSPB.
a good place to sit awhile and watch the birds coming and going, Greenfinch,Goldfinch, Reed Buntings, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Great Tit, Blue Tit, occasionally a Great Spotted Woodpecker arrives, and last year a Water Rail was seen feeding around the base of the feeders. But today's life struggle was this brave little Robin which caught my eye.

This Robin stationed itself on a convenient perch next to the feeder, being a ground feeder it didn't try and take seeds from the feeder itself, it was more interested in the spillage at the base of the feeder, which it made claim to, occasionally chasing away the female Buntings and Dunnocks.

Now I know that the Robin has a reputation for being a bit feisty to other Robins, especially when defending a territory, but this was even a very brave Robin or very foolish. I remembered a blog from Rainham last year of a Brown Rat attacking a Starling and dragging the unfortunate bird down a hole screaming.

 A Brown Rat slunk in from the shadows,  surprisingly the Robin held its ground, the Brown Rat edged ever closer, the Robin stared back, a face off , no one was giving ground, the Rat appeared massive against the Robin's tiny frame.

As the Brown Rat tentatively started to nibble at the spilt grain, the Robin edged closer, I had a bad feeling that this was not going to end well. The Robin was very agitated

Time after time the feisty little Robin launched into an attack on the Rat, each time the Rat would scurry off, only to return  a few seconds later.

                           Each time the Rat would scurry off, only to return  a few seconds later.

Just when it appeared that the Robin had driven the Brown Rat away

He returned with reinforcements !

At least the Robin lived to fight another day.