Tag Archives: little grebe

Wetlands Wonderland

Yo peeps   Haven’t posted for a while, so here’s a little group of smudges I took at Barnes Wetlands one morning this week. I was in and out like a fiddler’s elbow. In at 9.30 opening time, crash bash sausage and mash, smudges taken.  By ten to eleven I was sitting down in the waterside restaurant having a cup of Rosy and a slice of Sexton Blake before returning to Chelsea.  Method in madness, special deal, only 3 sovs (£3) before 11 0’clock. The Danish pastry is a bit tasty. Sorry I digress.  First port of call was the pool where the smews reside alongside the goldeneyes.  Here’s a Barnaby Rudge of the two drakes doing the okeykokey (posturing for the ladies)

smew drakegoldeneye drake

In another of the pools a marbled teal drake was also ‘giving it plenty’. It’s the first time I’ve been able to identify the male. The crest at the back helped!

marbled teal drake

The little buffleheads looked gorgeous in their courting plumage. I enclose a photograph of mum & dad

bufflehead duckbufflehead drake

In the same pool as the buffleheads was this splendid American wood drake. I know I post a lot of smudges of the Carolina but who could resist this handsome devil?

American wood drake

I thought a quick snap of a Southern Crested Screamer would be allowed (I also post them a lot!) as he was doing a stretch in the morning sunshine.

southern crested screamer

My last port of call on my perambulations of the wetland pathways and pools was the Wildside Hide where I was delighted to capture this little grebe stretching his wings

little grebe

Before I bid you adieu, I must leave you with Mr Angry of Tunbridge Wells who was giving me the evil eye

tufted drake

That was a tufted drake.  TTFN   xx i Jedi de Quack


Spring is in the air

Yo peepsters Had a jolly day at Barnes WWT yesterday. The sun was shining so decided to take the heavier lens necessitating taking the kipper. I also have to use a tripod and gamble with the heavier lens which is not too cool on the Rubic Cube. Well my drears, when I arrived at the reserve I spotted these two love birds canoodling in the courtyard. Bit early innit, Spring’s months off!! Mind you, ring-necked parakeets have no shame, they’re taking over Southern England.


I got even more confused watching these two pintail drakes getting a bit familiar. Pleased with the shot though!


One of them even did the Okey Kokey for me


It was a delight to be followed around during my perambulation and smudging by this little robin. I know they’re not exotic but I love ’em.


Nearing the end of my smudgerooning my mince pie was caught by the wonderful moire silk effect the sun had made reflecting off the reeds. A little grebe was dipping and diving so I waited to get the right pose with the beautiful Neptune’s daughter as a backdrop.

lenslittle grebe

Castelrau re-route

Hi doods   It seems like there’s a grey blanket of gloomy Girls Aloud lurkin’ over Londres at the moment. Still, we mustn’t let it get us down, so girdle your loincloths peeps and go fifth. I decided on Shank’s piebald this morning so carried a lighter Wedgwood (mind you, it has a longer reach) Oy Vey Beckatina, a sewer had collapsed in Castelrau Strada and the Uncle Gus had to take the relief route which I drove down with Ruby, my ancient but trusty kipper the other day. Incidentally, I reported my Putney route incorrectly, it was Putney Heath not Putney Common. I know my birding pal Clive of Ramsgate (formerly south London) will pull me up on that mistake! Arriving safely at the Wetlands after a rather traumatic bus ride accompanied by faarsands of excitable 5 to six year old kinder! Mind you their minders kept them in order, especially one young lady who could have sorted out a Suma wrestler with a quick ami-uchi without a dohyo!  At one of the exotic ponds I was quite intrigued by mum & dad whitehead lady lucks, so I enclose for your delectation Mr & Mrs plum pudding looking wuzzoes. The drake (on the left) has the whiter bonce.

white headed drakewhite headed duck

Carrying on my perambulations I was escorted for a while by a handsome blackbird. I think he might have thought I  had a bit of grub for him. Unfortunately the custodians of the reserve frown upon feeding the oiseaux. Mind you, that doesn’t apply to non residents so a garibaldi would have been welcomed by that amiable and trusting Richard the Third.

blackbird   male

My last stop was the Wildlife hide where I was intrigued by the whizzing about of a little grebe youngster. When he looked straight at me I thought he resembled a stoat, and we know what little tinkers they are.

little grebe

Hasta la pasta peeps     x    i Jah de Quack

Oare Marsh marsh harrier

Yo Doods  I awoke early yesterday morning to glorious sunshine. It seemed the perfect day for an Oare Marsh outing.  The only problem was, from my favourite spot on the road leading up Harty Ferry on the Swale, the current bun was directly ahead of me. Oy Vey Mavis, not conducive for good smudges.  I managed a Barnaby of an island in the middle of the scrape which was overloaded with faaarsands of plover.  It unfortunately gives a silhouette image rather than revealing details, but I liked the composition and atmosphere of that bright and chilly morning so here’s a smudgerooney.  


In my experience there’s always a little gem at Oare, but like a lot of birding places this year, and down to the peculiar weather changes there’s been a dearth of duck.  Mind you, I was happy (in my desperation for a Richard the Third) to spot this saucy marsh frog lurking amongst the reeds.

marsh frog

Close by to froggo was a little grebe juvvy. He had managed to catch a feather on his beak and I was fascinated to see the shape of its tongue as he tried to detach it from his hide & seek. 

little grebe

Just before I departed and was making my way to the kipper park all the wuzzoes took off.  In the far distance a marsh harrier was swooping close to the ground. From my position on the frog and toad I had the Isle of Sheppey as a backdrop with the harrier sweeping the edge of the  Swale. So please forgive the picture as believe me I had to seriously crop with the harrier being a couple of miles away!  In my original smudge the harrier is a dot on the horizon. 

marsh harrier

hasta la pasta peeps        x i Jedi de Quack

At last the Current’s got his titfer on!

Yo Doodsters  Hooray, the old current bun is now peeping down on us.  The water on the Ancient Highway is gradually dissipating, although the wicked tadpoles still lurk. Dixon’s Corner is particularly spiteful with quite a few motorists coming to grief there. Once again I took the high road through Sholden, picking up my china Duncan  on the way. What a glorious morning we had at Restharrow Scrape.  Mind you, because of the high level of the water the duckers were keeping to the reeds at the side of the scrape, but the divers were whizzing about all over the shop disappearing under the water and appearing somewhere else. The divers were mostly tufties, teal, pochard, little grebes and coots. I suppose it was too deep now for the duckers (mallard mostly) to pick up from the bottom. I was delighted to see that we now have 2 pairs of little grebes on the scrape which makes up for a lot of whizzing and ‘chase me Charley’ shenanigans, making a change from the mashugana and belligerent coots.  There was also a lot of activity from the teal with little groups of drakes chasing the girlies. I enclose a smudge for your delectation as well as a Barnaby of a tufty lady displaying her underwing.              as always, with kindest rhubarbs    i jah de Q



Maned Goose

Hi   Doodettes      The water’s still high (and the tide -courtesy Blondie) and the fields still waterlogged.  But oh joy, the old current bun is shining down on us.  What a treat. I didn’t trust the tadpoles this morning, so traversed the high road again picking up my chum Duncan on the way. What a glorious morning at Restharrow scrape.  Mind you, not many wuzzoes came close to the hide and unfortunately, because the islands are submerged, most smudges are long distance ones.  I did manage a few Barnaby’s of the little grebes diving and coming up with sticklebacks. I enclose a smudge of a pretty young lady lil grebe with a small silvery fish in her beak as she is about to toss it up and around so the spines won’t stick in her gullet. As there is a dearth of close posing wuzzo, I’ll enclose one I took earlier at WWT Barnes. It’s of a maned goose, an Australian wood duck          hasta la doo dah  i jah de Q

lady grebe

maned goose

stormy weather

Yo  I’m still using the high road from Deal to Sandwich which runs parallel with the coast, desperately looking for great white egret that lurks in a wayside farmer’s waterlogged field. Not good for the turnips but conducive to Ardea Alba & Ardea Cinerea. The irritating things about traversing the high road (apart from the fluffdunking long way round) is every time I’ve had to wait for a train to pass the crossing at Sandwich and going through the rigmarole  of Check-point Charlie (Sandwich Bay toll-booth)  Ooooer missus, on arrival at the scrape I was alarmed (I’m easy alarmed) to see the water was now lapping parts of the hide. The scrape resembled the North Sea on a windy day unlike its usual tranquil calm. The only wuzzoe on the water was a Laurel* ,  fearless little grebe. I enclose a Barnaby Rudge of the little rascal ploughing through the waves    hasta la Madagascar doods   i jah de Q

*Laurel & Hardy

little grebe:scrape