Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Sunday 25 October 2015

A bird too far? Way beyond me!

I am still rather pleased with myself, ref: that eel, and the extra hour was lost due to my inability to remain in bed, when my head is so full of ideas. Bev and I had quite a busy schedule planned for today, and that extra hour provided a nice buffer which ensured we were able to meet our commitments without any problems. I took Emily and Harry across to Staple, for a couple of hours, then calling in at Dad's, where the kids raided the fridge, for chocolate, before getting them back home. The afternoon was spent at The Horse & Groom (Ramsgate) where our mate, Terry, was performing for the clientele of this very well run hostelry. Benno & Luke had been "fluff chucking" at Stowting whilst Sye had been barbel fishing on The Lea - such is life - only Luke managed a fish.
So back to this morning; the clock said 06.00hrs, my head said 07.00hrs, there was no way that I could attempt to lose an hour in order to allow my body-clock to synchronize with reality. Bev had no such issues and was happy to remain within the comfort of the duvet. I made a coffee and perused the internet before fitting the 1.4x converter to my "Big Lens" and heading across to the farm to see what was about? With the sun shining brightly, it was a pleasant, but rather chilly, experience. Still a few birds around the patch, although the vast majority have moved on. Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits dominated the cauli fields, there were a couple of Goldcrest in the sycamores beside the White House, and odd Song Thrushes flushed from the cauli margins. It wasn't until I almost reached the northern boundary that I discovered a mixed flock of Linnet (20+) and Lesser Redpoll (35-ish), feeding on the seeding heads of a weed, growing out in the main crop. I think it might be "Fat-hen"? We're venturing into Steve Gale territory here! Whatever it is - these smart little finches were enjoying themselves. I took a stroll out into the "big field" via the tracts of already harvested cauliflowers, and was able to get a few shots of Lesser Redpoll. Just what the 1.4x converter was meant for - not brilliant, but far better than nothing! Thus far, this autumn, Redpolls - Lesser or otherwise - have been a very scarce commodity around Newland's. Other bits included Sky Lark, Grey Wagtail and a steady S - SW movement of Starlings.

Decked Lesser Redpolls out amongst the caulis.
Not the greatest image ever recorded - but well usable for the blog.
Sigma 170 - 500 mm with a Sigma 1.4 x Converter
I did have one other sighting; and it's one that has completely done me in! At around 07.50hrs (this morning with the clocks adjusted) I watched a "thrush sp." fly north, almost directly above Pyson's Road  (around 200m away). As soon as I got it in my bins - I knew that something wasn't quite right! It should have been a Starling, but it was flying all wrong. It couldn't be a Blackbird - the tail was far too short  - but here's the real crux - it had an obvious, pale-white/black/white underwing bar. I have absolutely no experience with any of the "Zoothera" species but if I were a betting man - Siberian Thrush would be high in the running. I only watched it, through my binoculars, for around 20 - 25 seconds, as it flew rapidly north. The flight mannerism was like nothing I'm familiar with - certainly not typical migrant Redwing/Song Thrush. I am making no claim, just mentioning something which occurred - it's interesting - not important!


  1. Yep, Fat-hen and Sibe Thrush! Tick away Dyl...

    1. I'm no more prepared to tick Sibe Thrush on the strength of this sighting, than I am the Marbled Duck or Hooded Merganser which I have definitely seen in Kent. For all I know, it could have been some type of exotic escapee. I picked it up, from the end of the shrike hedge at a range of about 200m - it was flying towards me in superb light. I was first puzzled/attracted by the very unfamiliar flight style. It was only when it came level with my position, was I able to pick out the striking underwing markings - the bird passed by within 80m before continuing deliberately north. My overall impression was a very dark, starling sized thrush, with a glaringly obvious underwing pattern.
      No supercillium, bare part colour, nothing - just a very strange encounter over the cauliflower fields of Newland's. Hope that Dungeness manages to live up to your expectations - stay lucky - Dyl

  2. Dylan,

    I think you'll find that the weed in your photo is a variety of Quinoa. As well as being the latest healthy food fad it is also used by farmers in their cover strips now as a food plant for both wild and game birds.

    1. Cheers for this Derek, quite why there's such an abundance of the plant growing amongst the caulis is a mystery. If, however, it continues to draw in flocks of feeding finches, I'm all for it. Glad to hear your recent Bob Dylan gig was such a success - all the best - Dylan