April up close.

One of the advantages of grass-verged concrete banks lining your local reservoir is you can get fairly close to migrant birds without disturbing them. Crawling on your belly and sticking your bins or camera over the edge is a much used technique on my patch and the results are often both good photographically aswell as carrying the satisfaction of moving away from the bird after without it flushing. Below a White Wagtail from a couple of years ago taken with ‘the old crawly belly’ method, abit random but I like the photo.


Ive used this technique on a few approachable individual migrants in the past couple of weeks too. This Blacktailed Godwit present on the 6th was very approachable and seemed more perturbed by my belly crawling to get close than it did the scores of visitors strolling by, oblivious to its presence on a busy Saturday afternoon.


The same goes for this Littleringed plover, present on the 18th.



Above and below: a handsome drake Gargeney that DB picked up swimming into the middle of number 4 reservoir on the 16th. I fully expected it to give us the run around but our efforts to remain out of sight for the bird were slightly unnecessary and it swam around back and forth infront of us, aware but not alarmed.


Sometimes you don’t need reservoir banks! This almost summer plumage male Brambling, one of 3 birds currently sticking around at the south end of the central path seemed non threatened and stayed put in nice light. Not exactly  the norm for this species as the majority of my records here are vismig fly- overs in late Oct or as the past two springs have played out, part of a small number hanging on after winter and occasionally singing.


Away from Photography and onto the subject of finds, We’re all still waiting for the stand- out bird so far this spring. With a Black Kite find on the patch last year for me after a run of incredible birds for a London Reservoir (all found by others) I have fairly high standards to beat for myself this year.


The above 2cy male Black Redstart popped up on the 13th 100m from where I’d had a male Common Redstart the week before. Its still around apparently in the Riding stable paddocks on Walthamstow Marsh. Id be made up with adding Ring Ouzel or Pied Flycatcher to London birds I’ve had on the patch this spring but heading to the south coast in the next couple of days to try my luck there for hopefully something more exciting! 

Author: Jamie Partridge

Birding South East Kent: Langdon Hole to South Foreland

One thought on “April up close.”

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