It's not that often that I get things right (just look at yesterday's GBBG image - which I'd originally labelled as a LBBG) - yet today, as I walked back to the car, I bumped into another birder who said it looked good for "some more Buzzards" . It turns out that there had been five over North Foreland at 14.00hrs on Saturday. With Steve Tomlinson (Margate Cemetery) reporting good numbers of Red Kites, in recent days, there is certainly a very westerly bias to the Spring migration of raptors over Thanet. Still, with the experience of previous years, any decent sunshine (without howling NE gales) is capable of producing a raptor, or two, on our side of Thanet.
Bev and I had breakfast and, with a lunch engagement at The Sir Stanley Grey with Dad, Sye & Yve, set about cleaning the bungalow; just in case they decided to come back for coffee. Job done, I spent the majority of the morning out in the back garden awaiting events. The first sighting was of a Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) which settled in the grass for a short while - long enough to get the extension tubes onto the camera and grab a few shots.
I was sat at the patio table when a movement in the tangled buddlieas alerted me to a small bird moving about within the dappled shadows. Lifting my binoculars I was delighted to find myself looking at a beautiful male Siskin, even more so when it flew across to the sunflower feeder - so close that it was within the minimum focus of my 170-500mm Sigma. Completely un-phased, it allowed me to move to a better position and get a series of 100+ images - what a fantastic stroke of luck and a nice demonstration of the quality of image that is possible using the EOS 400d.
Bev asked if I would clean out the fireplace, so I was mid process when the massed ranks of Newland's Farm gulls went nuts - something was going on! The fireplace was put on hold as I scanned the skies - suddenly there it was; a Red Kite spiralled over the field beyond our garden hedge before drifting off east over the bungalow. A few shots in the bag, the gulls were still agitated, so it was no surprise when a Common Buzzard appeared, following the same route, although much lower!
I stayed outside for the maximum time I could, a Ring Ouzel - silver winged and missile-like in flight, chack-chacked its' way along the hedgerow, while Chaffinches, Meadow Pipits, Greenfinches and two Mallards (!) provided further evidence of Spring-time movement.
What a day? Is it because the weather has been so poor that I'm clutching at straws - I still haven't seen a Wheatear!