Sunday, 2 February 2014

Hammers in Hiding!

With another morning of sunshine forecast and lighter winds I was eager to get out as I only had until 10am this morning and was up and out of the house at 6.20am. I had a brief drive around and ended up parking up at Shuart in the hope of seeing some Woodcock fly into roost, a good decision as 3 Woodcock gave nice flight views as they flew by in the growing light into the woods. I then made my way to Chambers Wall, stopping every now and then to scan and was rewarded with good but distant views of a Barn Owl which I sat in the car and watched for 10 minutes. Also seen from here was 1 Red legged Partridge and c500 Cormorant flew in from the Stour Valley in large flocks. I eventually ended up at Chambers Wall where the plan was to walk the loop to the sea and back via Coldharbour and then spend some time trying to photograph some Yellowhammers. With the sun now starting to break through I could hear 1 Grey Partridge calling and a few of the commoner birds could be hear singing, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Robin making for a nice chorus. Near the railway line I could hear Yellowhammers calling and located 8 of them in a bush and singing Corn Buntings could be heard not far away. I opted for the sea first and noted 1 Water Rail, 6 Mute Swan, 8 Reed Bunting, c150 Lapwing, 1 Skylark, 2 Pheasant and a year tick in the form of a Merlin that was seen chasing a small wader out to sea before it gave up and returned inland. Moving on I noted 2 Shelduck, 2 Mallard, 4 Bar tailed Godwit, 34 Oystercatcher, 1 Redshank, 1 Curlew, 3 Little Grebe, 5 Meadow Pipit, c25 Linnet and 1 Marsh Harrier. I returned to the area for the Yellowhammers and Corn Bunting and managed to see c15 Yellowhammer and c40 Corn Bunting but again photographs were hard to obtain as they were easily flushed by trains as they passed. Not having much luck with the larger flocks I opted for looking for a few single birds that might at least give me the opportunity of a few better shots of this species. I soon found a few individuals away from the flock and set about trying to photograph them with varying success. As can be seen, this is still work in progress and I shall continue in the hope that next week if they are still about that one poses closely in the sunshine for a few shots. Its only a few weeks now until the migrants think about moving our way with Reculver bursting with Black Redstarts and Wheatears.... hopefully!



  1. Lots of decent birds to see there Marc, some that wont be coming my way thats for sure :-(

    I see the Yellowhammers there like hiding behind sticks too!

  2. A frustrating species to get close to, I shall have to come up with another plan, preferably a human sized Yellowhammer outfit!

  3. Not seen yellowhammers for ages at Seasalter, they used to feed in flocks on the winter stubble years ago but its no longer left any more, that's progress!

  4. Amazing hammer shots. Wish I made those!

    Gr. John