30 Mar 2009


The first of the more exotic birds for this area, they seem to be taken with the Niger seeds.
Taken through glass from my sitting room, yesterday 29th March.

23 Mar 2009

Sundown at Elmley

An Avosheld

This is a shot of an Avocet seeing off a Shelduck, the two birds in the shot appear to be one.
I have a birding book dated 1907 and refer's to a Shelduck as a SHELD-DUCK, sheld being a name I associate with Holland!!...

21 Mar 2009


This is the display behaviour of the Redshank, quite a nice little frock.
This was last year and he did win the ladies heart, taken at RSPB Elmley Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

Spotted Redshank

A very obliging bird, taken at Oare, Faversham, last year from the side of the main road, looking east.

18 Mar 2009

This book by R. Kearton, F.Z.S and his brother C. Kearton both are keen Naturalists and photographers they relate how dangerous it was 102 years ago to procure a half decent picture of any bird, Up a Tree or down a Cliffe they were pioneers of nature photography.
I take my hat off to these and men unless a Great Skua gets there first!......
I think F.Z.S is Fellow of the Zoological Society

Hope he had a good look round for the Ram.

And to sit inside this stuffed sheep on a summers day must have been more than uncomfortable.
The camera lens protruded from under the head.

At Muckle Flugga

Then get your block knocked off by a Great Skua, surely there must have been less risky passtimes even in those days.

Nerves of steel.

After being lowered you then set up your plate camera, what a palarva!..

From down to up

This would not do for me no matter whats in that nest!...

This Photographer is very keen

107 years ago, what some peole will endure for that perfect shot.

Cookbook with no cover

The Uppercrusts unsavoury eating habits

I really could not believe what I was reading when I glanced through this old cookbook dated 1882 and this is the 5th edition, with a view to perhaps find a recipe that had been foregotten, when I came across the meat section, well!, I certainly would not have joined the popular show "Come Dine With Me" knowing now what they were gorging themselves on, I will not go into to much detail but it will be suffice to know that this cookbook was for the Victorian Gentry and not the poor. Woodcocks. Woodcocks, which are highly flavoured and most delicate birds, come in on the ist of November, but as they are not con¬sidered game, they may be shot as soon as they reach England from more northerly regions. They generally appear with a north-east wind in October, and remain till March, lying hid in moist woods, where they feed on insects and grubs, and grow fat and very delicious about Christmas, when woodcocks swell the list of rich viands for the season. They will keep good for weeks in frosty weather, if hung in a dry place; and as, in many seasons, they are rare in this country, great care must be taken to preserve them. A woodcock is never drawn. To roast Woodcocks. Pluck them very carefully, to avoid tearing the tender skin. Leave them unopened, but wipe them carefully, and truss with the head under the wing and the long bill laid along the breast. Suspend the birds before the fire with the feet downwards. No bird requires such constant care and watchfulness for the short time it is roasting as the woodcock. Place underneath each bird a thick toast, buttered, and without crust, to catch the trail, or inside, .which is accounted the most delicate part. Baste them continually with salt and water only; and though some affected epicures declare that a woodcock to be perfectly cooked ought only " to fly through a hot kitchen," we would allow twenty minutes' slow roasting to make the birds fit for the general taste. The toasts must be laid upon a hot dish, with a bird on each toast. Gravy, or melted butter may be sent in with them in a tureen, but none on the dish, to destroy the flavour of the birds. Snipes, though decidedly inferior in quality, may be roasted in the same way, with the trail on a toast, and fill up a table when woodcocks are scarce. Salmi of Woodcocks. Put into a stewpan two eschalots, a carrot, and half a dozen mushrooms, all chopped small, with a slice of lean ham, two cloves, and half a dozen peppercorns; cover with a pint of beef gravy, and stew for an hour. Then strain, and again put the gravy on the fire with any of the bones and trimmings of the cold dressed woodcocks that may remain after you have cut off the meat for the salmi, and if any portion of the toast with the trail remain, mix it well up with the gravy. Add two glasses of Madeira and two ounces of butter rolled in flour, and stew half an hour longer ; then strain the sauce over the slices of woodcock, which must be laid in a clean stewpan, and let it stand at the side of the fire till the meat have imbibed the sau~e and become perfectly hot; then serve with fried sippets. They may also be larded and roasted, or broiled like partridges; but the simple mode of roasting preserves best the peculiar flavour of the delicate bird. Cygnets and Leverets. These were also eaten by the gentry, Swan was considered to be tough so they picked on their young and the same for Hare.
To roast Plovers. The plover is a delicate bird of pleasant flavour, and this flavour is best retained by dressing it like a woodcock. Do not draw the birds ; truss them, and roast with toasts in the dripping-pan, and serve on the toasts in the same way as wood¬cocks, with no other sauce than melted butter sent in a tureen. To stew Plovers. Boil and mince two artichoke bottoms, four roasted chest¬nuts, a small quantity of chives, and two ounces of beef suet, and the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine. Season with pepper and salt. Prepare two plovers as for roasting, open and take out the trail to mince, and add to the forcemeat ; fill the birds with it, and lay them in a stewpan with a bunch of herbs, three or four mushrooms, and a little pepper and salt. Cover with half a pint of brown stock, a quarter pint of port wine, and a tablespoonful of lemon-juice, and stew gently for half an hour. Then take up the birds, and keep hot till you strain the sauce ; thicken it with a little roux, and heat it again. Then pour it over the birds and serve, garnished with roasted, chestnuts, blanched, and hard-boiled plover's eggs shelled and divided and put round the dish alternately with the chestnuts. To roast Ortolans. These delicate and rare little birds should not be drawn, but roasted like woodcocks, to serve on a toast, covered with browned fine crumbs, and accompanied by melted butter. To roast Corncrakes or Fieldfares. These birds, though found in different seasons, the corncrake being a much earlier bird in season than the fieldfare, are dressed in the same way, roasted, like quails or partridges, and served with gravy, bread sauce, and bread-crumbs. To roast Ruffs and Reeves. These little birds, which inhabit the fens of England, and are entrapped and made very fat for the table by a diet of meal and milk, are a great delicacy. They are trussed like woodcocks, but are drawn, and roasted like partridges. A quarter of an hour will roast a ruff. They are served with gravy, bread sauce, and fried crumbs. To roast Wheatears, or other small Birds. The delicious little wheatears are in season from July to October. They must be very carefully picked and drawn, spitted without the head, a dozen at once on a bird spit ; brushed over with the yolk of egg and bread-crumbs, and basted with butter. About twelve minutes will roast them. Serve them with bread sauce. To roast Larks. Not less than a dozen birds must be prepared and roasted on a bird spit ; as they roast, bread-crumbs must be strewed over them, and they must be plentifully basted with butter. Roast for twelve minutes, and a few minutes before they are done, add no more crumbs, but let them brown. Serve them on a dish heaped with fried bread-crumbs.

Expiring before their time.

I was once told that the cormorant species suffer greatly when old, apparently they do not have the protection of that third eyelid and eventually the salt water destroys the eye over a long period of time and they eventually die of starvation as they rely on sight to catch prey, any thoughts or comments?

17 Mar 2009

Lizard, Newt ?

This is definitely one for you Greenie, pictured today in Oare Churchyard in a rotting log, it does go to show how important it is to stack wood in the garden and let it rot down naturally it's your contribution to conservancy.


Taken at Leysdowne last year.

Carrion Crow

Taken Dungeness rspb sitting on top of bush by the wc's, he was making a bit of a racket shouting at some other old crow.....

Great Crested Grebe

Taken at Dungeness RSPB Yesterday Very disappointing trip. Highlight of the day was Fish"n"chips at the Pilot and a cream tea in Tenterden.

13 Mar 2009

A nice view of Faversham from Oare, note the waders on the shoreline mainly Dunlin and Redshank.


This is an article I wrote last year and was published in the High Halstow, monthly magazine, some may find it of interest My name is Dave Jordan, well past retirement, and a Man of Kent, I was born in Whitstable, I have had many hobbies over the years but painting and photography have been the mainstay of my life, having taught photography and darkroom techniques at Maidstone College of Art in the early 70’s I studied Graphic Art, for a year at Canterbury art college and decided this was not for me so I joined a small art studio in Canterbury where I applied my skills, I did not persue this line of work but have always kept up the interest. The North Kent Marshes in my opinion stretch down as far as St Nicholas at Wade, locals refer to this area as Reculver Marshes, as a child my Great Grandmother lived at Marshside and I spent many happy hours at play on the marshes, in those days it teemed with wildlife. The areas that I frequent most and where most of my material has been gathered are RSPB Elmley, Isle of Sheppey, my own Cliffe Marshes, Oare near Faversham, Rainham Saltings, Higham Marshes, and Conyer, all of these birding places are within 35 miles of my domicile, Cliffe. The marshes in history have always been a mystical, foreboding place especially when shrouded in mist It’s almost magical, and yet foreboding, but to experience natures reminder of where you are the lone sound of a curlew, or a formation of geese chatting to each other just epitomises to me exactly what the marshes are all about. The North Kent Marshes are now very well known for birds of prey, the variety, and more importantly, the frequency of sightings, RSPB Elmley, and Harty both on the Isle of Sheppey are my particular favourites for raptor photography species, include Marsh and Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Hobby, Merlin ( our smallest bird of prey }Peregrine Falcon, ( probably the fastest bird on the wing and has been clocked at just over 200 MPH ) They prefer to be well off the ground when nesting and both chimneys of Grain and Kingsnorth are nesting sites in the breeding season, the Sparrow Hawk and with more frequency the Common Buzzard, Rough Legged Buzzard, Kite and sightings of Ospreys are not that uncommon, and lastly the Owls, Long Eared ( a great example can be seen on my website ) Short Eared Owl little Owl, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, I once witnessed nineteen Short Eared Owls on a salting roost at Harty, all of these birds can be seen on our marshes plus there are also a great variety of other birds to be seen and appreciated. The North Kent Marshes also has a large variety of wading birds great favourites of mine. The beautifully elegant Avocet now common on our Northerly shore, and the adopted emblem of the RSPB, the Little Egret, a member of the heron family, and need I mention the Grey Heron, High Halstows Northward Hill Heronry which also doubles as an Egretory ( no such official word but it does give them better status than tenants of the Herons, as they are now well established in North Kent ) There are now more frequent sightings of relatives of the heron family, Cattle Egret, great White Egret and Crane sightings, who knows what will be seen on our marshes in twenty years time. As global warming increases. And finally a few tips about photography, never be 100% satisfied with your work there is always room for improvement, and when you stop taking snapshots and take pictures, you are well on your way, and in bird photography take the shot, preferably a bracketed exposure and then move closer for a second shot and so on until your bird has had enough, using this method will at least get you a reasonable shot, and always have your camera preset to suit weather and environment conditions, always be prepared for the unexpected it happens that way in the field. I will leave you with a little ditty from my collection. Author anonymous Were I a water-wagtail pied, And free of all the countryside, With feet for earth and wings for heaven I’d go to Cornwall or to Devon. I wouldn’t stay like a silly fool, On a sewage farm in Liverpool. Good Birding Dave Jordan Email:- pixelman@btinternet.com

11 Mar 2009


This and the pic below surely heralds Spring is here, taken at Oare, Nr Faversham today.
The bird situation was a little disappointing and recorded, were a couple of Pintail, Shoveler,Tufted Duck, and one Med Gull, two Egrets in the air.

Lesser Celandine

10 Mar 2009

I shall be glad to see the end of this cold snap !!
Minster Promenade

Dove's at Lunch.

Great pleasure and amusement has been gleaned from watching the antics of the birds feeding over the last few weeks of bad weather, seen hear it was the Doves turn next are usually the Jackdaws I have had nine on this bird table.

Taken from my sitting room.

5 Mar 2009

Pied Wagtail on my front lawn

At Elmley

I think a Curlew.