Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Little Egrets getting nearer behind the garden

The deeply rutted, over-grazed, partly-flooded and manure-loaded horse field behind the garden continues to attract Little Egrets, with a village record of five birds there this morning.

That's it for a week, Alicante beckons and (hush don't tell my kids - they think its a beech holiday) a little Spanish winter bird-watching!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

In the garden.. ..out in the woods

A garden female Yellowhammer.

 For the last two weeks, from dawn to dusk, two Little Egrets have been feeding on flies and earth worms in fields behind the garden and on Saturday, they were joined by two additional birds. So the grand total of four birds together, is something of a Shadoxhurst record.

In the pasture behind the garden, our adaptable Little Egrets sift invertebrates amongst the Horse Dung.

Two large scoops of seed is feeding 6 Pheasants, 1 Red legged Partridge, and a mixed flock of 60 plus Finches, Buntings and Sparrows in the garden. Our Yellowhammer flock is averaging at about 8 birds, and I'd expect numbers to pick up before spring arrives in earnest. A single Reed bunting has tagged along with them too. Two Fieldfares are still arguing over split Apples on the lawn, whilst dozens of Redwings run between horses hoof's and Egret feet in the pastures behind the garden.

Accompanying a drumming GS Woodpecker, a Song Thrush is singing away at 6.15 most mornings. Sitting high in our front garden Larch, and not that far from our bedroom window, it might be time for him to move along and try another garden soon?


Common Buzzard
 An hours walk through the back of Faggs Wood and then to the near-by Coniferous plantation on Capel road, revealed few birds of note,  but Buzzards were displaying in pairs over both woods. The odd pair of Siskins whizzed over, and a great many Redwings were feeding on the woodland edges. The garden was the easy winner today!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Was this the Russian meteor or a Satellite over Kent?

This afternoon, the sun finally came out. I stood on the garden deck and had a stretch and a break from sitting in front of my computer. I looked around the sky in the hope of seeing our local Buzzards enjoying the warmth. Looking to the east, at an angle of 45 degrees, I could see a white light source, stationary in the sky. It looked similar to and as bright as Venus or Jupiter would look against a dark sky, except this was about 2.30 in the afternoon! It looked motionless compared with airliners that were criss-crossing the sky, reinforcing the feeling that whatever I was watching, was static.

I walked back to the house and grabbed my camera and 500mm lens. I took one burst of pics before the phone started to ring inside the house - my wife! I explained I didn't want to talk because I was taking pics of a UFO!

I took the phone out to the garden and told Sian that I could still see the light, and that I needed to take more pics, but then, a cloud obscured the view - and that was that.

Look at the photos below. What looked like a bright white light to my eye, takes on a shape through the lens. I decided it might be the ISS, which I've seen and photographed many times before. I also thought that it wasn't moving - which was odd as the ISS moves quickly across the sky. But my check of the ISS timetable showed no passes over the UK at that time. I've also checked NASA's site for satellite passes and, as yet, can't find anything at that time.

About five minutes later, I took a picture of the same area of sky with a standard lens so I had some reference of the sky scape at the time. See pic below.

I then took a pic of an Easyjet plane crossing the sky east to west in the same direction as our UFO. When I looked carefully at the pics on the computer I can see a small white and out-of-focus fuzz in the image. This again reminds of a poor record shot that you might take of Jupiter or Venus, except this was before 3pm in the afternoon. Have a look at the pic (below) and at the small out of focus white dot, bottom left of the picture. The same dot is in all the pics I took of the plane - is this perhaps the same object - perhaps a balloon? Or perhaps, it's an unknown satellite. But I don't understand why I thought it was static? Any thoughts anyone?