Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hastings seafront

I just got back from visiting my dad in Hastings. Having noted a good weather forecast for today, I'd brought my camera. Things were looking fairly bright by 8am so I headed out for an hour or two, to point my camera at the gulls and anything else that came along.

A nosy neighbour watched me go by. This blue Persian is one of a trio of very fancy cats that live opposite my dad. The other two are a gorgeous seal-point Siamese and a bizarre-looking Oriental red tabby, but sadly neither of those two were out today.

Some of the fishing boats that live on the beach between the harbour arm and Rockanore (when not out fishing). After this I switched to the big lens and took pictures of the Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls that hang out here. And a Turnstone.

Pity this last one is so noisy. My fault, I'd stopped down to f13 for something, and then forgot to switch back. Damn.

The last piccies I took were full-frame portraits of this very approachable Herring Gull, who was sitting on a 'no bathing' sign and offered me a look at his profile from both sides.

This is my patch - it ain't much, but I like it

Sunday 13th was a beautiful day - sunny, still and surprisingly warm. I went to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve for a couple of hours in the morning to make the most of it.

Here's some of that sky, with a Black-headed Gull pointing out the bluest bits. I took this from the viewing mound, from where I could see lots of gulls on the islands in front of Tyler hide. I decided to go to Willow hide first though.

I took this on the way. Sunny it may have been, but everywhere was still very wet from the heavy fog of the last few days.

A typically shy and furtive Jay kept dodging my lens all the way down the trail, until I finally managed to grab a shot just by the turn-off for Willow hide. Other woodland birds were being rather quiet, though I heard the wheezy notes of Siskins overhead.

From Willow hide, the lake was busy with assorted wildfowl, including four Wigeons.

There were also quite a few Teals, though they mostly stayed in the shadier areas.

A Kingfisher dashed in and landed in the willow on the island, where it sat for a while before speeding off again. Then I noticed (at the exact moment that the other occupant of the hide pointed it out) a big Fox walking along the far bank. I only managed to catch its tail and one hind leg before it disappeared behind the island, but what happened next was interesting. A flotilla of Canada Geese paddled quickly over to the bank where the Fox was, and they loitered in the water there, looking towards the bank. I didn't see the Fox again, and the geese eventually dispersed.

While all that was going on, three Shovelers (a drake and two ducks) appeared around the corner, and settled down in the shallows for a long preen. There were also plenty of Gadwalls and Mallards plus the odd Tuftie.

A Cormorant swam by, then struggled into the air and flew away. You don't often see Cormorants on this lake, they much prefer the larger East Lake. Maybe that's where he's off to.

The lone cygnet from this year's breeding attempt is still around, though now looking very grown-up in almost white plumage.

I moved on to Tyler hide after that, and stayed for a little while, mainly because I thought I could hear the occasional 'eyow' from a Mediterranean Gull among the constant 'skeeearrs' of the Black-headeds.

A tiny sample of the gull flock. No Meds in there, just a couple of Commons. I did scrutinise the whole flock but without success.

Another big flock - part of the 100 or so Lapwings that treated us to a nice flypast. Speaking of flocks, I must have seen a thousand Woodpigeons going over today, in small and large flocks, all heading south.

I was reflecting earlier on the many species still missing from my 'patch list'. Well, I'm pleased to say that I knocked off one of the more embarrassing ones today. Yes, that's a Little Egret, though my camera settings  have turned it into a white blob. Must take a look at that.