Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Windy Birding.

Why do I seem to pick the windiest days when I venture south or eastwards to do some coastal birding?
Just over a week ago I headed southwards to Farlington Marshes and completed a full clockwise circuit;  wandering alongside the stream watching Little Egrets and Black-tailed Godwits feeding; then out to the sea wall with high tide some 2 hours away the mudflats appeared empty until I used the scope then various waders and gulls came to life. I stopped to chat to a delightful couple who requested confirmation that we were all looking at two Little Stints (addition to the year list but no pics) feeding alongside a Common Sandpiper.
As high tide approached the main pool started to fill up with waders including 20+ Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, numerous Black-tailed Godwit plus Grey Plover sporting their black waistcoats. Attempts to digiscope the waders in such windy conditions did not produce the quality I had hoped for. 
Yesterday I drove eastwards to Oare Marshes on the North Kent coast and it was even windier so in the words of at least one other birder 'not the day for photography'... that was an understatement! A clockwise walk took me along the seawall looking out over the mudflats and then alongside Faversham Creek producing 50+ Common Ringed Plovers, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, and flock after flock of Black-tailed Godwits flying into the East Flood on the rising tide.
I estimated that around 1500 Black-tailed Godwits eventually congregated on the flood but too far away for a clear photo. I did manage a passable shot of 3 Common Ringed Plovers feeding with a Ruff and one of many Black-headed Gulls. Also present were 15 Avocet, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Mallard, Shoveller, Coot, Shelduck, Lapwing and a single juvenile Little Stint. Other sightings included a Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipits and Bearded Tits... typically heard but not seen.
Despite the wind there were other views to maintain my interest as I wandered across to the West Flood with brief sightings of butterflies; a male Clouded Yellow, Gatekeeper and a Common Blue maintaining its grip in the strong wind and a male Ruddy Darter. As a Kestrel hunted overhead a Kingfisher flashed past me across the meadows. I headed for home as the skies darkened and eventually drove through the heavy oncoming rain storm.   FAB.   


  1. Nice series. I especially appreciate the collages which really capture the overall experience. Nice blue butterfly, especially since the wind was blowing a gale. Hard to get a sharp shot in those conditions.

  2. Hi Frank...I do love the way the computer age has given me the opportunity to see places and things I would never see even if I was to visit another country!!
    Thanks for sharing your area..the photos are so full of such beauty of the wildlife and lay of the land!!
    Congrats on another bird count with the Little Stints!!

  3. Super couple of walks there Frank with a great selection of species seen. Yes somedays photography is just not on,its been the same here for about a week now. Still you managed to get some great shots.

  4. Nice series - wind, rain, and life keep getting in the way of birding. I'm still trying to get to the coast for shorebirds ... soon. You said you tried to digiscope some of the birds, so I assume that in addition to your Canon lens you also carry something smaller. I have just about given up on the digiscope route

  5. You had some good birds there Frank.
    It was rather windy yesterday; I was up on Ivinghoe Beacon, and nearly got blown away lol

  6. Well still, you got nice pictures and you probably did a nice walk... I guess that the birds are preparing for their migration at your place too, as you see more and more groups ;-) Here it is starting already, we can see flocks of dunlin on the beaches, as well as turnstone, ringed plover. All these small and nice are heading south now :-) I love the black-tailed godwitt shots, 1500!! That's a lot!

  7. Really great, especially the Black-tailed Godwits Frank.

  8. I always like your little walks that you take us along on. The series is grand, the sites are splendid and that Ruddy Darner is a brilliant little friend you got~

  9. well done for sticking with it Frank. You got to see some good birds despite the conditions.

  10. Wind is just about the worst weather for birding so well done for getting out there Frank! Haven't been to Farlington for AGES. Must try and get down there this autumn! Thanks for the reminder! (-:

  11. Hi Robin. Standing still for a few seconds was a task on its, so had to make do with a few location views.

    Hi Grammie. Like you I also enjoy seeing the location were other wildlife shots are taken...makes it more interesting I think.

    Hi Monty. Thanks AND now the rain is in full swing here for a few days so will be locked in for a while.

    Hi Chris P. Thanks, and hopefully I've answered your query with a direct e-mail.

    Hi Keith. There are days when we need heavier boots

    Hi Chris. Yes, some already heading south to warmer climates and the northeners are on their way bak to us. A rough count but the numbers will increase.

    Hi Bob. Cheers, I just need the opportunity to get a good close-up of a BTG.

    Hi Mary. Thank you. I can usually find something to snap when the weather or the birds won't cooperate.

    Hi Warren. I don't doubt there were a few that I failed to locate but it was worth the journey as always.

    Hi Amila. Absolutely correct.

    Hi Jenny. If you decide to make the trip...just let me know when.

  12. birding when it is windy is hard. Especially when you want to take pictures. :)
    You had quite a lot of birds to watch. :)

  13. NatureFootstep. Yes, no point in trying to beat it when you can't stand still.


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