Last Sunday our group visited Elmley NNR on what started as a rather cold day but ended in beautiful late afternoon sunshine (with a short eared owl just starting out to hunt for voles!).
As usual birds of prey seemed to be everywhere. We saw many marsh harriers, buzzard, merlin, kestrel, little owl and two short eared owls.
I would like to be able to say that I took these pictures with a new camera and huge lens that Sally gave to me as a Christmas present. Sadly not! We were very fortunate to meet Olivier in one of the hides and he was taking pictures of the wildlife with just such a camera. He kindly sent Sally some images for our website – so thanks Olivier!
And you can see more of his photographs using the links below –
It may surprise you, but for me at least, the birds of prey were not the highlight of the day. On the drive in at Elmley, just before the car park, we found huge numbers of black tailed godwits feeding in the grassland alongside the track – really close. I counted 500+ in one group but the total must have been much more than this. Five of the birds had colour ringed combinations on their legs so we spent some time working out the colour patterns. Why is it that they always stand on one leg when you are trying to see the rings? How do they know that you are looking at them?
Some people like to see a list of the birds that we saw. Sally always keeps a list for BTO Birdtrack so here goes
lapwing, kestrel, black t godwit, mallard, golden plover, moorhen, house sparrow, curlew, cormorant, stonechat, little egret, mute swan, marsh harrier, redshank, starling, shelduck, shovelar, teal, buzzard, greylag, canada goose, pintail, wigeon, crow, great b b gull, merlin, gadwall, blackbird, coot, blue tit, chaffinch, little owl, magpie, rook, herring gull, black h gull, short eared owl, woodpigeon, oystercatcher, grey plover, dunlin, ringed plover, knot, meadow pipit, goldfinch, robin, reed bunting, great crested grebe
Others in the group added turnstone, avocet, brent goose, little grebe and there could have been other birds that I did not hear about (ie the information was withheld!)