Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Draycote visit on Tuesday 30th. December 2008

As it seems the best local patch at this time of year I went to Draycote Water again on Tuesday morning.As I walked along the Farborough Bank the temperature was zero but as there was some sunshine and there was no wind it was quite pleasant for a change.

The juvenile Shag was on one of the buoys,a lone Great Northern Diver was near the pontoons,the Smew was just off the spit but yet again it was too far out for a decent shot.The Red-necked Grebe  was pretty close to the shore for a change and it was easy to get some decent shots.

After a coffee I went to the Draycote bank hoping the Red-throated Diver was still about.As I walked past Rainbow Corner I bumped into Bob Hazell who had it in his scope which was lucky but it was along way off.My decision to go to the valve tower to get a closer view and hopefully a shot ended in failure as myself and a few other birders could not locate it again.Never mind I was very pleased to get a life tick and I can always go back again for a pic.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Waxwing shots at last.Taken on Saturday 27th. December 2008.

Allthough I had seen seen some Waxwings a few years ago I did not have a shot of one so I was very keen to get one when a few were visiting our area around Xmas.

Having missed the ones at Minworth the previous week I was not confident when I set out early Saturday morning to Upton Warren where they had been seen near the gate of the Webbs Garden Centre.

I did not have to wait long when a dozen of them appeared in the poplars across the roadway.They then dropped down to the trees by the Webbs entrance gates but soon flew off.They returned 15 minutes later but again did not stay too long before disappearing for good.

Managed to get some not so good shots as it was pretty gloomy  but nevertheless I was pleased to get some shots at long last. 

Draycote Water visit on Friday 26th. December 2008.

Keen to get some fresh air after Xmas  I went over to Draycote Water on Boxing day.Allthough it was sunny it was colder than ever as I walked along the Farborough Bank and it was busy both on the paths and on the water.

Located the Smew in it's usual spot but as it came near for a decent pic some clown in a speed boat sped by and frightened it off to the far reaches of the reservoir.

The cold was getting to me so I headed back to the Centre.On the walk back the Red Necked Grebe showed well as did a couple of Great Northern Divers well they did till some boaters in kayaks came too close and scared them off.

A Common Sandpiper was near the Centre and a Little Grebe entertained me for a few minutes as it battled with a large fish.  

Friday, 19 December 2008

Visit to Draycote Water on Wednesday 17th. December 2008.

The sun was shining again so I went over to Draycote Water again.It was very chilly when I arrived but the sun was still out.

Decided to walk along the Farborough bank and was surprised to see that there were no Great Northern Divers near the pontoons but the lone Shag was still there.Best spot was a drake Smew near the Farborough spit but annoyingly it refused to come close enough to the bank to get some decent shots.

On the way back along the bank a Great Northern Diver was pretty close in and near the centre a Common Sandpiper and a Grey Wagtail were about for a while.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Visit to Coombe Abbey Country Park on Wednesday 10th. December 2008.

Went to the country park at Coombe Abbey to try and get some shots of the Marsh Tits that visit the feeders near the hide.As I'd never seen one before this would be a life tick if one showed up.

Finally found the hide after a long walk along the lakeside and when I entered no one else was there so I had it all to myself.There was one feeder table that was covered with seed and was atracting loads of Bluetits,Great Tits,Chaffinches and Coal Tits that were battling with some Squirrels for food.

Also a couple of Nuthatches paid regular visits to the table and a Song Thrush and several Blackbirds were feeding on the ground.A Muntjack deer also paid a visit and came close to the hide.

After half an hour a couple of Marsh Tits paid brief visits to the feeder before flying off into the bushes so I only got a few feeder shots.They were around for about an hour so I was pleased to get some shots and of course a life tick.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A Visit to the Falconry at Hanbury on Wednesday 3rd. December 2008

As it was a bright morning and there did not appear to be anything special at my local patches I decided to go to the Falconry at Hanbury to see if they were flying anything interesting.Got there at 11 o'clock and allthough the sun was shining it was extremely cold and I feared Iwould not last too long in the open.

The first bird they brought out was Jessie the Bengal Eagle Owl which entertained us for a half an hour flying around the compound.After lunch they brought out Harry the male Harris Hawk which seemed to have an endless appetite and kept on calling out for more food.A great looking bird spcially when in flight.

A few pics are attached.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Trip to Draycote Water on Friday 28th. November 2008.

Decided to go to Draycote Water again as the sun was shining.Got there at 10.00AM and was pleased to find that for a change there was no wind blowing and the water was glass smooth.The sun shone till lunchtime when a mist appeared from nowhere to ruin everthing but we did have two hours of very good conditions.

There were 3 Great Northern Divers showing well near the pontoons and the Shag was on the pontoons with some Cormorants.The Red-necked Grebe was still off the Farborough Bank but distant.The female Common Scoter was in Toft Bay but also was distant.A Common Sandpiper flew onto the beech near the pontoons.

For once a Kestrel didn't fly off to the next county  when I got near it and allowed me to get some decent pics.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Very rare birds at Draycote Water on Tuesday 25th. November 2008

The sun was shining for a change so on Tuesday morning I went across to Draycote Water.As usual a walk along the Farborough Bank was undertaken in a bitterly cold wind and,as I'd only seen a couple of the Great Northern Divers and these at distance,I decided quite quickly to head back to the centre to try and get warm.

However,when I'd got to about 100 metres away from the centre,a White Tailed Eagle was showing well near the wall.A sensational spot for Draycote Water.It stayed for about an hour before moving off. 

Unbelievably things didn't go downhill in the afternoon when a Golden Eagle was showing well on the grassy knoll near the upper carpark.It also stayed for about an hour before moving off.

Both birds were a first for Draycote Water.Pity then that each bird had a falconer holding onto it.Yes both birds had been brought down to get publicity shots for a new website for the falconers.Still very good to see these fabulous birds close to. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Another Visit to Draycote Water on Tuesday 18th November 2008.

The sun was shining for a change so I raced over to Ice Station Draycote in the morning to try to get some decent shots of the Divers and the Red-necked Grebe.

Unfortuneately there was a very cold wind blowing down the Farborough Bank and my thermals were very quickly penetrated (not to be recommended).These conditions seemed to have affected the birds and the Red-necked Grebe stayed well out of range all day.The Great Northern Divers (there were 2 of them off the Farborough Bank) were also playing hard ball and only came close enough for pics on a few occasions.

The bright conditions made up for the Divers not coming close in and I was able to get a few decent shots including one with a fish.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Visit to Draycote Water on Wednesday 12th. November 2008.

As it was sunny for a change I went over to Ice Station Draycote to see what was about.Got there at 10.00AM and decided to walk along Farborough Bank.Allthough my friend the weatherman had promised a calm day I found a strong cold wind was blowing.

Luckily I soon found the Red Necked Grebe pretty close to the rocks and was able to get some shots.I was even luckier a bit further along Farborough Bank when I spotted one of the Great Northern Divers not too far out and again was able to get some shots.

My luck then ran out as,having heard that a Snow Bunting was further along the bank,my race to it's location was rewarded with "It's just flown off".OH Great joy!!!!! I was very jealous when some other birders showed me some excellent shots they'd taken of it.

There was even more bad news when i got home and found that the bright conditions coupled with my using the 1.4 converter had caused most of my shots to be blown out.I did manage to salvage some though.  

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Draycote Water visit on Monday 3rd. November 2008.

Despite the grim weather on Monday morning I raced over to Draycote Water to see if the Red Necked Grebes reported yesterday were still about.I decided to try the Farborough Bank first and I was immediately attacked by a very strong and icy wind that seemed to be coming direct from the arctic.

Luckily for me after only 200 metres I found one of the R/N Grebes but it was a bit far out.After I'd paid a visit to the Toft Hide I came back to try for it again and luckily for me it was now much close in and despite the very gloomy conditions I was able to a few shots.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A visit to a falconry on Saturday 1st November 2008.

My very good friend the weatherman promised me that Saturday morning would be sunny but chilly so I decided to go to the falconry at the Jinney Ring craft centre near Hanbury to get some shots of any birds they may be excercising that day.However my weatherman friend had let me down again and there was no sun,it was dull and windy.

Luckily for me the people running the falconry decided to exercise a couple of their birds despite the strong wind blowing.Not good for decent shots in the dull conditions and the very strong wind blowing made it so cold that I was close to dying of exposure (where the hell is this global warming?).

The two birds excercised that morning were a Kestrel and a Bengal Eagle Owl.Despite the conditions it was very nice to get very close to these beautiful birds.

Friday, 31 October 2008

A few shots of Bearded Tits taken in September 2008.

A visit to Cley next Sea last September prduced at long last an oppurtunity to get some half decent shots of Bearded Tits.It's only taken me 3 years and dozens of visits to Norfolk to get them.