Thursday, 18 August 2016


I was chuffed to bits to find out this week that one of my shots of the Purple Heron I saw at Otmoor last week (see below for the shot) was chosen by both Birdguides and Rarebird Alert to be the shot included in their on line weekly reports.

I know lots of shots were taken of this bird the few days it showed so I'm very pleased my shot was chosen because it was the first time I've had a shot included in either report before.

It shows you that with a bit of luck anyone can match the big lens boys.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


At 9.00 AM this morning just as they opened I went on a walk round the NT property grounds at Baddesley Clinton to see if any decent birds were about.I hadn't gone far when I received a text from my good friend Pete Walkden : "Am going to Otmoor for the Purple Heron do you fancy coming along"

I of course said "Yes Please" and raced back home.Not long after 10.00 AM a Skoda Yeti pulled up outside my house and off we set down the M 40.We got there at 11.15 AM to find the car park full to the brim but Pete undeterred skillfully parked on a small patch of land just over the bridge.Mind you it was so close to a ditch I had to get out the car from the driver's side.

As we walked down the main path from the paddocks a couple of birders told us it had recently flew from the right of the marsh into roughly the centre so we positioned ourselves on the path near the two ponds.

It seemed like ages had gone by just staring into the marshy field with no sign of the Purple Heron.So in desperation I started to eat a sandwich as this often gets a bird to show when you least want it to but this failed.However straight after when Pete and I both started to eat apples it suddenly sprung up and showed. Apples were dropped and cameras grabbed.A Life Tick for me !!!

It then showed on and off for the next half hour before flying a long way off to the left.With it's colouring against the brown grass in the field it was not easy to lock onto but I managed some decent shots.  

Wednesday, 3 August 2016


This morning not long after 8.00 AM I set off for Draycote Water to see the Wood Sandpiper that had been near the outfall for the last couple of days.Two things worried me one being would it still be there and the other one was would my dicky knee let me get to the outfall and more importantly would it let me get back to the car park.

As I got near the outfall I met two old friends Bob (Hazell) and Keith who both told me it had just flown having been disturbed by some fishermen who were fishing in it's favourite spot.Oh Dear ! !

All was not lost because there were a few waders showing quite well in the same area.There were up to 7 Little Ringed Plovers.All juveniles I think.

There also was a lone Common Sandpiper (no shots too distant) and a lone Dunlin.

Much later on the walk back to the CP I found a Little Egret feeding on the shore line.

On or near the pontoons were a few of the larger Gulls which I of course could not ID at the time but have sent the shots of to a friend just in case there is something decent.I'm pretty certain the third one is a Herring Gull and not a Yellow Legged Gull.  


Later addition : I've been told that the first is a GBB Gull the second is a LBB Gull the third is a Herring Gull and the fourth is a Yellow Legged Gull.

Well what about the Wood Sandpiper then ? Well there is good and bad news as usual.The good is it was found again.The bad is that it was a long way off and it soon disappeared again.So I still have not got a decent shot of one.These are all heavily cropped.It looked stunning through Bob's scope so it was a pity it did not come into range. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


On Monday mid morning I went over to my local patch Marsh Lane.I'd gone because it was exactly a week ago the GW Egret paid a visit and I hoped that it had scheduled Marsh Lane as it's Monday place to go.Of course it hadn't but worth a try to see that great bird again.

I soon ended up in the Oak hide but I was not confident of seeing any birds to shoot as the vegetation has grown so high this year that it is hard to see much.In all the years I've been a member there I've never seen the vegetation grow so much in the Summer months.On some of the islands the vegetation has spread out so much this year that the mudded areas for waders has almost disappeared.

I had to be patient which is not my strong point but I did manage to get some decent shots.I think all the shots I got were of juveniles but I'm not too sure.First up were some Little Grebes that showed between a gap in the vegetation. 

Next to show was a Reed Bunting that came close to the hide.

It took me a long long time to get any shots of a Sedge Warbler that showed a lot but never stayed still but I got him in the end when it came pretty close to the hide. 

Also present but only briefly was a Reed Warbler.

The last bird that showed was a Wren that looked very grumpy.

Thursday, 28 July 2016


I popped over again to Baddesley Clinton last Monday morning to have another look at the Spotted Flycatchers.I cannot keep away from these chaps they are wonderful entertainers and so accommodating.

This shot is probably the best shot I took all week.I got it while I was sitting down near some gravestones and it came so close I could have touched it.I think they must have got use to me and often came very close. 

This is a shot taken when two of the chicks had not fledged.Taken from distance and heavily cropped but you can see the two chicks and how cramped the nest was.

I was lucky enough the get quite a few shots showing what they had caught but I think this is the only one showing a wasp/bee.

Of all the shots I took and I took loads this is the only one I took showing both the adults in the same shot.

The adults were very busy keeping the nest clean.They had to do this several times an hour.

There were other birds around including a couple of young Chiffchaffs and up to 3 Nuthatches which showed off their going downhill trick.


I went down to Marsh Lane lunchtime on Wednesday hoping that the Great White Egret that showed so well on the reed bed pool earlier in the week would show up again.

After a long wait in the reed bed pool hide everything was very quiet and no sign of the GWE which was probably on a tour of it's favourite midland haunts.I then left the hide and had a walk round.I saw a lone Common Sandpiper on the RW pool and 4 Little Egrets on the gravel bar near the river hide.

However the excitement for the day occurred as I was half way down the path from the oak hide when I heard an alarm call and all the Lapwings went up from the RW pool.Whenever this happens I hardly ever spot what has caused it but I was lucky for once and spotted a Peregrine flying sorties round the RW pool.Managed some decent shots.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


I had just got back home yesterday afternoon from yet another visit to see the Spotted Flycatchers when I received a twitter post " Great White Egret at Marsh Lane" with a full head shot of the bird.It had been posted by Dave Hutton from whom I gleaned it had been on the reedbed pool.Right I thought I must go for this.

Like a fool I had not asked when it had been seen so when I got to the CP and saw the place was empty I assumed I had missed it and again was too late.However just as I picked up my camera look what flew over my head heading to the reedbed pool.I went from depressed mode to panic mode in a split second but luckily got some shots.

I raced down to the reedbed pool hide (alright I ambled down to the hide) and there it was showing at the back of the pool.I took a few shots but as I was engrossed in texting the news out when I looked again it had gone.

Half an hour later after a walk round when I checked in the hide again Danny was there and he had no luck so I decided to leave.Luckily for me just as I was getting in the car Danny had raced back and said it was on show again.It had not left but had been out of site to right of the hide.It was a lot closer this time.Thanks Danny.

Only ones I'd seen before were at distance at Shapwick Heath so I was able to get some decent shots.

Whilst getting shots of the GW Egret this chap showed very briefly in front of the hide and I managed a shot as it flew off.