Monday, 18 March 2019

GARDEN BIRDS.



Still very much in hibernating mode so have not ventured out with the camera since my last post.This is pretty sad really because it wasn't too many years ago I would travel all over the country at all times of the year to photograph birds but slowly the distance I'm prepared to go has reduced steadily to now only very local places.Tip for any remaining followers of this blog : Don't get old.

Have prevented the camera from rusting up by taking some shots of birds visiting my garden feeders. The weather hasn't helped but the birds visiting the garden in the winter these last couple of years has diminished greatly with no Bramblings, Siskins or Repolls seen.

The best visitor was a single brief visit from a male Blackcap. A couple of Coal Tits visit often but stay so no time at all so are hard to get a shot of.Here are a few shots some taken through the double galazed windows though due to the strong winds.

























Friday, 1 March 2019

A RARE TRIP OUT.



Thought I'd better do a blog post to show I'm still around.Still got this virus which coupled with old age aches and pains lays you pretty low but the great weather earlier in the week got even me to go out with the camera.

Traveled the couple of miles to Brueton Park mid morning on Wednesday.The main lake was pretty quiet except for the hybrid Whooper Swans.It must be 15 years ago in the same spot that they fooled me into thinking I'd found a pair of genuine Whooper Swans.

In the nature reserve at the back of the cafe I soon found a Goldcrest that was busily feeding in conifer trees.Had the usual battle trying to get shots but managed a few. Cracking little birds.












As I walked round the small pond in the nature reserve I was surprised to find 7 Goosanders (2 males and 5 females).There is little cover round the pond so getting decent shots was very hard.They were always at the other end of the pond to where I was.Here is one of many shots I got showing them heading away from me.Nice to see though.




Later on in the back garden a pair of Common Buzzards put on a show but they were very high.





Thursday, 7 February 2019

SHOTS FROM THE ARCHIVES (Part 3)


Never seen a Pied Flycatcher locally and had to go to a small reserve in Wales near Rhayader in May 2014 to get some shots.




In September 2012 an Osprey spent several days at Upton Warren flying between the yachting lake and the flashes.This shot was taken from the flashes hide. 




I was chuffed to bits to find this Wryneck in September 2014 as I walked along the East Bank at Cley.It was hard to spot on the pathway and I had to stop people getting too close.




In August 2014 I was tipped off that a Night Heron was showing on Seeswood pool near Nuneaton.You had to be patient for it to make an appearance. 




One of the best birds to visit Marsh Lane was spotted in May 2014 on one of the islands in front of the CP hide. It was a Bonaparte's Gull.




Haven't seen a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker for many years now.The last one was one that visited the Whitacre Heath NR in March 2011.You had to wait a long time in the hide for it to show and it soon flew off.




I was walking along the Farborough Bank at Draycote Water in September 2009 when I spotted a bird on the water about 30 metres out.I didn't know what it was but had the sense to rattle off some shots just as it flew off.Found out later it was a Manx Shearwater.




On my numerous visits over the years to Norfolk I always had time to try and see a pair of  Montague's Harriers that use to favour some fields at North Creake. Only ever got distant views and very few shots.This one was taken in July 2010.




In September 2009 a Pectoral Sandpiper had been spotted way down the Farborough Bank.I couldn't go there for a couple of days but luckily it was still there when I finally made it. 





In July 2008 I was staying in Hunstanton and heard that at a place called Sea Palling on the east coast of Norfolk a Red-backed Shrike had been seen.Never having seen one I shot over there and in doing so I found out how big Norfolk was.It took me ages to get there.When I did there were no other birders there but after quite a while I found it but I couldn't get close.




Love SE Owls so I was very pleased to go and see several of them that were at Hanging Horton in November 2011




Didn't believe it when a friend told me that a Spoonbill was at Draycote Water.It showed very well despite the fishermen. 




In June 2010 on route to Norfolk I made a detour to the reserve at Welney to see if the White-spotted Bluethroat that had been there a while was still showing.Luckily it was (the last day it was seen).Possibly the rarest bird I've got shots of. 



Wednesday, 6 February 2019

SHOTS FROM THE ARCHIVES (PART 2)


In September 2016 a Bairds Sandpiper was reported on the Flashes at Upton Warren.As usual I delayed going but luckily it was still there when I eventually got there.Had to be patient to get a shot as the sunshine was right into your eyes.




In September 2011 I was on the beach at Cley when a fellow birder shouted "Arctic Skua" and I managed my one and only shot of one.




In May 2011 a Black-throated Diver was reported at Shustoke reservoir.Had to wait a while but it eventually came into range.





Cuckoos are very hard to catch up with these days but in March 2012 I was very lucky when one landed in a tree near where the Ted Drury hide is now at Brandon Marsh.




Haven't seen one for a few years now but in February 2008 a Firecrest showed well near the bridge over the stream near Ham's Hall Coleshill.





When a Great Reed Warbler was reported in a small reserve just outside Derby in June 2010 I shot over there mainly because despite a 4 hour wait along the East bank at Cley I failed to see one that would not come out of the reeds.No one else was there but the loud call helped me locate it and get some shots 



Sunday, 3 February 2019

SOME SHOTS FROM THE ARCHIVES (Part 1).



Thought I'd better post a blog because several people have wanted to know if I'm still alive.Well I am but I'm having to hibernate.Old age has caught up with me and I'm afraid to admit that I now cannot enjoy birding in the cold winter weather and also it has caused me to struggle to get rid of an upper respiratory tract infection that's been round for weeks now (this despite blasting it with 40 antibiotics in 5 days).  

With no decent birds visiting my garden feeders I thought I'd trawl through the archives for some of the better birds I've seen over the years when I was able travel far and wide.

After 10 years of trying I finally got a decent shot of a Hawfinch in December 2017 when a few of them visited the churchyard in Berkswell. 




In July 2015 a new bird for me a Red Footed Falcon was showing in a paddock just north of Stoke.After a nightmare journey up the M6 I managed a few shots.




Again after a wait of many years finally got some shots of a Black Necked Grebe in summer plumage when one turned up in June 2016 on Earlswood Lakes.




Thought I'd left it too late to see a Blue Rock Thrush that had spent a while on the rooftops of a housing estate in Stowe in the Wold in January 2017.Had to find it myself as no one was there on the day I went.




I've seen a Glossy Ibis several times but never got a decent shot and couldn't get one when one showed at Upton Warren in April 2018 despite waiting for hours in the hide.




Finally got a decent shot of a Hoopoe when one showed in a horse paddock just over the border in Worcestershire in April 2016




I love Hobbies but have managed no shots recently.This is one I took at Marsh Lane in September 2015 clearly showing the discarded wings of a dragonfly.





A very accommodating Black Redstart was on some wasteland in Coleshill in February 2019.It used to come over to the photographers and pose for shots.



Tuesday, 18 December 2018

A SUNNY MORNING AT MARSH LANE.


The sun was out yesterday morning so I set off to Marsh Lane getting there at 9.00 AM.Not having been down for a few days I was surprised that the Red Breasted Merganser was still around this I believe for the 8th day.

Did not intend taking any more shots of it but it was showing well if still not close in the sunshine.Did manage my best shot.




My new camera has a 1.2 and a 1.4 converter built in but I've not tried to use them before so yesterday I thought I'd give them a try. I found it a bit fiddly but managed a few shots which as expected  were not too sharp.Here are a few shots taken with the 1.2 converter turned on.