Tuesday, 21 September 2010
This morning was as good as it gets in autumn, very warm and sunny, coupled with a blanketing hush that made any sound travel long distances. In effect it was a morning made for retirement, lovely-jubbly.
As I travelled along the Harty Road it was also one of those morning where a combination of heavy dew and sunshine had highlighted every single cobweb in the fields and there were countless thousands all lit up like chandeliers.
After a relatively benign walk across the reserve with the dogs, seeing, or indeed hearing, very little, I decided to call into the Raptor Viewing Mound on my way home. I drove round the back of it so that I could park right against the phragmites beds there, in the hope of a Bearded Tit or two. Immediately I wound the window down and switched off the engine I could hear that one or two was an understatement, their "pinging" calls were all round me. They straight away started to appear at the tops of the phragmites stems, many no more than a few feet away from me as I sat there. I tried to count them but for a while they were so active and kept flying up into the air in small groups, circling round before coming back to the same place again. It was really magical and at one stage I wouldn't of been surprised to see them come and perch on the car.
As I watched them and tried to count them the "ticking" notes of Corn Buntings were heard and I looked up to see seven of those fly over the car. Although it probably wasn't accurate to the last bird, I finally settled on a count of 31 Bearded Tits and none further than 10 yds away from me - quite magical!
I'd only been home half an hour when Ian Davidson from Sheerness rang to say that he was at Warden Point birdwatching and had just seen two Firecrest in the regular spot opposite Warden Manor. Just ten minutes away as the Daihatsu flies and so I nipped up there, and in gloriously sunny and wooded surroundings tried my best to re-locate them. Ian joined me and we waited patiently for some time, listening to Robins, Blackbirds and Blue Tits, before I eventually heard a Firecrest. Hearing it was the easy bit, spotting it in large trees with thousands of leaves fluttering in the breeze, was another thing. Eventually though, when the bones in my neck were at breaking point from constantly looking upwards, we spotted one. A quick flash of eye brows and wing bars and it was gone again and that was how we briefly we saw it each time for the next ten minutes or so.
A cracking September morning and with a repeat forecast for tomorrow I can't wait and sod the work at home.