After doing all the "family" Easter things I decided I needed to escape to the marshes. Also my mate had finally managed to get some time off work so he had come round. With two sets of eyes it always increases the chances of seeing more. Plus it's nice to have some company.
We were a bit suprised at the numbers of Oystercatcher out on the fields. I guess it is rich in grubs and worms so they must be getting plenty of food.
If any proof were needed that the Lapwing are breeding, we saw this one (possibly female?) with its young. It was obviously being very protective and kept walking right in front of it so we couldn't see it. Patience paid off though and the inquisitive youngster always wandered away...much to the adult's annoyance!
Isn't it just incredibly cute? :o)
Still on the drive up to the car park and I'd just pointed out the Hawthorn bush (I think it's Hawthorn anyway) where I'd previously seen a Corn Bunting tucked up deep inside. And sure enough, as if on cue, there it was. This time though sitting right out on one of the branches.
Not the greatest of shots as the bright sun behind it made it very difficult to capture and I didn't have my polarising filter with me which can sometimes help. We did manage (with some careful manoeuvring of the car) to get round to the other side of it though which produced a much better shot.
Walking out to the hides we stumbled across this Peacock butterfly.
As the car park had been packed we thought that the Wellmarsh hide would probably be pretty busy so we headed to the Counterwall hide. As we got there we saw this male Reed Bunting sitting on the fence.
We'd actually stopped to chat with a couple who asked if we'd seen much and all the while this little fellow was just sitting there watching us. It then let us get quite close to get a few shots before it flew off.
At the Counterwall hide it was pretty quiet. The Spoonbill (all three of them this time) were still around but again too far out to get any shots. It's made be realise how lucky I'd been a few weeks earlier when I saw the juvenile within about 50-60 metres of the Wellmarsh hide!
Also the Black-Tailed Godwit was still around, although quite a way out and at the limit of my lens.
After a while we continued on to the South Fleet hide. There the Common Tern were making quite a splash (literally) as they were fishing in the water right in front of the hide. Unfortunately they twist, turn and dive so quickly that it is very difficult to get a decent shot of them.
At one point one started a dive from about 40-50 feet and then aborted right at the last minute about a foot from the water. Presumbly the fish it had spotted had swam off and the tern didn't want to waste the energy.
As we were both quite exhausted from a tough walk around Otford and the North Downs Way the previous day, we didn't venture any further and so headed back to the car park. On the way though we spotted this majestic swan having a good old stretch.
We'd seen a couple of Yellow Wagtail on the drive in but my mate hadn't managed to get a decent shot of one. So we were really pleased to see two (male and female) sitting in the middle of the road on the drive out. The male flew off but this female seemed quite happy to sit there and let us get quite close in the car. So close in fact that I even had to drive around her!
Still need to see the blue headed one and I want to get out further to hopefully to get some bird of prey shots. As I'm off all this week I shall definitely be back soon!
Nice shots .Good to see Lapwing chicks lets hope all birds have a good breeding year.
Enjoy your week off.
Yeah fingers crossed they all do well. Think we'll be okay as long as there isn't a real cold snap like last year.
Hope you had a good Easter. Might to see you out on the marshes again this week if you are about.
P.S. I meant to say that it was great to see the Swallows buzzing around the car park too. Even more tricky to get shots of those though!