"Long Legged Lovely in Kent."

White Tailed Plover
July 2010.

I was on the road at 03:20 heading for Dungeness with the prospect of a meeting with a 'long legged beauty' from afar, and the wife was ok with that!, so things were looking good. But I had been ' dumped ' by the same beauty some days earlier at Rainham Marshes and a few years ago in Lancashire so I was a tad nervous to say the least.
But my visit was a success to my delight.

I arrived at 05:40 and at first there was no sign and with just myself looking I was a bit apprehensive to say the least. But I then picked out "The Plover" and although distant I had now bagged my beauty. The next 9 and a half hours were spent trying to obtain a record image to take home. What with the fact that looking into the sun and the heat haze and the general elusiveness of the bird to task with was time consuming, it finally gave itself up for a few shots. And an extreme sunburn to my head to boot, but what the heck I should grow my hair longer.

The plover spent a lot of time hidden on the small scrapes amongst the purple loose strife and vegetation and would sit on the shingle for an hour or more at times, but gave views to everyone when it moved and fed. It truly blended in when sat down too and most had to scope it to justify its presence. But some very good company was to be had whilst we waited for the next showing.

This sequence of shots show the bird as it exercised its wings with a flapping flight on the spot trying to imitate a harrier jump jet', it was a delicate looking bird indeed and those legs'...
I left the site with my demons exorcised and a thumping headache and a celebratory cigar waiting upon my return home HAPPY.

Grafham Water.Cambs.July 2010.

As per usual the cloud gods knew I was venturing outside. Upon arrival at Grafham the cloud was dense and grey, and by the time I left it had only brightened on a handful of occasions. I decided not too venture too far and on seeing a busy group of House Martins swooping down low to the shoreline, I decided to take a peak.

Amongst feeding runs they were gathering mud from the shoreline. I worked my way slowly into a position whereby they were landing within 16feet of me and totally oblivious of my actions. There were some younger birds in tow, and as on previous times when Ive watched House Martins, they were learning the art of collecting nest material following behind the adults. One or two were gathering mud but most would pick up a bit of plant material or feather if nearby.

They would all congregate in a nearby tree on the waters edge before feeding over the water and back to collecting mud, god I cursed the weather for not being able to capture more images. When it was bright enough I snapped as many shots as possible during that short spell they were on the ground. The blue sheen on the adults was a lovely contrast to the stark white undersides.

The mother of these ducklings was happy enough for them to slowly saunter past me whilst feeding. Mind you I was not going to move very quickly as by now both my legs were numb from sitting still whilst awaiting the Martins.

I bagged some images of a few species whilst the House Martins had flown off, the Great crested grebe showing well whilst venturing closer due to a anglers boat nearing. Even though the weather had brightened and gotten warmer the birds had moved away so content with a few shots taken I headed home.

Bits and Pieces from the Garden.

This Hummingbird Hawkmoth was one of two that became stuck in my conservatory. Not had many sightings over the last few years so two on the trot was welcoming.

The Swift numbers during the day were around a dozen at best, but in the evening the numbers would sometimes swell to 30 or so. Of all the days to pick trying to photograph them, I had to pick a windy day where they passed at breakneck speed, the most I captured was sunburn on my back!.

The flowerbeds were attracting a wealth of insects but only the Small Tortoiseshell seemed interested to feed on these miniature sunflowers.