Sunday, 30 August 2009

Early morning visit to Brandon Marsh.

Early Saturday morning I went to Brandon Marsh.It was sunny but a bit cool and breezey.

The Teal Pool hide was empty and there was nothing of note on the pool so I went to the Carlton hide were I met up with several friends which was good because the chat got us all through a very quiet period on the pool.

After a cup of tea in the cafe I went back to the Carlton hide and things got much better with a couple of Common Buzzards showing nearby,a Kestrel decided it was a wader and landed on the mud,a KF turned up but was a miserable so and so because all it did was sit on the far pole and kept flying off,a Hobby also turned up but was also a miserable so and so because all it did was to sit in the dead tree.A Green Sandpiper flew in and a couple of Greenshanks arrived and showed well.Best of all was when a Sparrowhawk,that had been seen a few times,suddenly flew straight towards the hide and when it looked like it was coming in most of the birders panicked and ducked down.It was very funny but it did pass within a foot of the hide windows.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Upton Warren visit.

I've started to visit the Upton Warren reserve now I've discovered my Warwickshire Wildlife membership is valid in Worcestershire and,due to the M42 and the M5, I can get there quicker than I can get to Brandon Marsh.

Went to the Moors pools first and soon found 3 Black Terns but only ended up with taking crappographs due to the sun being in my eyes.Didn't see anything else of note until a quick look in the car park hide revealed a couple of Hobbies but by the time I got the camera ready they had decided to play who can fly the highest so no shots at all.

Went to the flashes next but the pools were quiet from the main hide due to roof repair works having been done earlier on but still saw 8 Green Sandpipers,2 Common Sandpipers,2 Ringed Plovers and 34 Curlews but all pretty distant.

On the way home I called in at the Arden falconry hoping to see the young Barn Owls in the office area but they had been put in their own cage in the main raptor area.So sad to see them caged.Took a few shots of the Bengal Eagle Owl when they took it out for a fly around.I've yet to see them take out the European Eagle Owl - mind you I might be frightened to get too close as it's a fearsome looking chap.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Early morning trip to Brandon Marsh.

Decided to go down to Brandon Marsh early on Saturday morning.It was fine and pleasantly warm when I got there and it was great walking round.

Went to the Teal Pool hide first where there was a Greenshank, a Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper showing nicely in the morning sunshine.A Sparrowhawk flew in and had a go at the Snipe.It was nice to bump into Bob Duckhouse there as well.

The birding from the Carlton hide was quiet compared with recent visits but a couple of juvenile Water Rails made a brief appearance and a lone Green Sandpiper had the pool to itself.The bushes to the left of the hide were lively with Common and Lesser Whitethroats and a family of Blackcaps making regular visits.

First for me of the year was a visit from a KF that landed on the nearest pole.Stayed only for a short time but it was nice to see one at last this year.Tried to get some fishing shots but ended up with loads of pics of empty water.It was a good job one turned up because a very attractive woman was in the hide with about £10,000 of Nikon kit had come all the way from Suffolk (which is a great county for birding) to get some shots of a KF which,she told me,are very hard to find back home in Suffolk.One up for Warwickshire then.

Friday, 21 August 2009

A Hobby at Marsh Lane.

Very disappointed at England's bowling in the morning in the test match I decided to go to Marsh Lane instead of watching more rubbish in the afternoon.Big mistake !!!!! They bowled the Aussies out in the afternoon.I missed it .What a bummer!!!!!

Still at Marsh Lane a Hobby turned up.Only the second one I'd seen there this year.The trouble was this one was a real pain as all it wanted to do was fly round at great speed never once posing for a shot .How ungrateful was that.Some so so shots taken.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

A trip into Worcestershire.

The birds that have been recently seen at Upton Warren together with some great pictures persuaded me to pay another visit there.It would be my first visit for some time the last one was in the Winter when I nearly froze to death getting shots of some Waxwings.

Went to the Moors pools first and in a 2 hour stay,although I met some very friendly locals,I never saw anything worth pointing the camera at.A very nice place where I suspect you have to put the hours in before you see anything of note ( a bit like everywhere else in the Midlands then).

Just before lunch I went to the Flashes and headed to the furthest hide where I met another friendly local who depressed me a little when he said "All the good stuff left last night".I had a pleasant stay for and hour and managed to spot 6+ Curlews,a lone Common Snipe,10+ Green Sandpipers,a lone Dunlin and 3 Common Sandpipers.

On the way home I called in at the Arden falconry where during the afternoon they took out a Kestrel and a Harris Hawk for flights.Best of all they let me into their office/storage building where they had 3 juvenile Barn Owls which were an absolute delight.Annoyingly it was very gloomy in there and I couldn't get far enough back to get any decent shots with my 400 lens.This was particularly galling as the eldest one was happy to pose on the top of the office couch.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Little Egret at Marsh Lane today.

Got tipped off early this morning a Little Egret was on the railway pool at Marsh Lane.

Shot over there and headed for the Oak hide just in time to see it fly off into the middle of the pool.I need not have worried because it turned out to be an obliging bird and wandered back near the hide not long later.

Marsh Lane tick for me.

Monday, 17 August 2009

After Norfolk a trip to Brandon Marsh.

The trouble with going birding in Norfolk is that you have to return home and go birding locally so it was with little joy I went to Brandon on Monday lunchtime.

As it happened it was not too bad at all.In the Teal pool were 4 Greenshanks,2 Green Sandpipers and 3 Common Snipe.

From the Carlton hide there were 2 Greenshanks,1 Common Snipe,2 Green Sandpipers,a juvenile Water Rail,a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk.

The bad news was that I saw no Hobbies and no Kingfishers allthough they had been around.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Norfolk Trip - Day 3

Friday morning with the weather fine again I decided to have another go at Cley hoping this time to do better with the camera than yesterday before heading home after lunch.

Entered the Bishops hide at 9.00AM and found the birds from yesterday were all still about but this time they were a little closer even one of the Wood Sandpipers was a little closer and was now only half a mile away!!!!!.

The best of the new birds seen included a juvenile Garganey that settled down in the grass near the hide (others ID this bird I thought it was a small Mallard),some Golden Plovers,a couple of Grey Plovers,a lovelly Whinchat that stayed for a while but just too far off for a decent shot,a Little Egret that flew in and landed just to the left of the hide but the very best of all was a Spoonbill that flew in not far from the hide and stayed for a while before moving further away.Annoyingly when it was flying in I was looking away and missed some flight shots.What a twit!!!!!!!

After lunch in the centre I left for home.A good trip with a few decent shots but no life ticks.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Norfolk Trip - Day 2


The weather on Thursday morning was very good so straight after breakfast I headed down the good old A149 to Cley but when I was negotiating the narrow section in the middle of Stiffkey a cement lorry was coming down the other way.Some fun and games were had as we crept path each other.

At Cley I headed for the Bishop hide as I find this the best hide in the mornings for spotting anything that might be about.The light seems to be poor from the trio of hides in the middle and awful from the North hide making it difficult to see anything so I usually give those hides a miss.

From the Bishop hide there were some Spotted Redshanks in various states of moulting,a couple of Common Sandpipers,several Green Sandpipers and 4 Wood Sandpipers together with loads of Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlins.Annoyingly nothing was close to the hide so I hardly took any shots.I had to look through a powerful scope to see one of the Wood Sandpipers.

I then decided to walk the East bank where there were at least 15 Curlew in the cattle field and a small flock of Meadow Pipits.On Arnolds Marsh everything was miles away but I could spot 5 Little Egrets,a lone Whimbrel and a couple of Sandwich Terns.

A pleasant picnic lunch on the shingle bank was followed by a walk along the beach but the only bird of note I spotted was a lone Wheatear that would not let me get close.

After some tea I went for an evening walk at Titchwell.I was surprised to see that the sea wall works were still going on but again the birds on the freshmarsh didn't seem to mind as there were loads of them about.From the Island hide with the evening sun in the west the waders were showing very well.A Water Rail showed to the right of the hide then some Bearded Tits came out to feed on the mud.A Hobby flew in and had a go at the Dunlin but didn't have much success.

A good day birding and walking but poor for getting any decent shots.I didn't see a single Marsh Harrier at Cley so I can only assume that they were on holiday.

Norfolk Trip - Day 1

Denied in recent weeks of some birding on the coast because of the awful summer weather and ignoring the fact that it was not yet good for birding and it was still the school holidays when the weather man told me it would be good weather in East Anglia in the middle of the week I booked up and shot off to Norfolk early on Wednesday morning.It was dull when I set out and by the time I got to Kings Lynn the rain came falling down.Well done weatherman you've got me again!!!!

Allthough I knew the sea wall works had started I headed to Titchwell because I could shelter from the rain in a hide.The new Island hide was up and running so I slipped in there out of the rain.The Parinder hide was a pile of rubble and there was a lot of heavy and noisey equipment working on the new sea wall.The water level on the fresh marsh was very low and despite the work going on there were plenty of birds around with a Little Stint,4 Curlew Sandpipers,loads of Dunlin and a couple of Spotted Redshanks in the range of my bins from the Island hide.A walk to the beach found it very quiet with a few Turnstone,some Knot and a few Sanderlings the only birds I could see.The brackish marsh had been drained to allow the works to carry on so no birds on there.

Yipppeeee!!!!! the rain stopped after lunch and it brightened up so I thought I'd go to Thornam harbour and take the walk to Holme.The muddy creeks had a few waders including a BT Godwit,a couple of Curlew and a handsome Grey Plover.The walk to Holme was very pleasant in the sunshine but birdwise was a complete waste of time and I saw absolutely nothing.

I was now knackered so off to the hotel.