Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Some shots of a Kestrel.

Having had a disappointing day at Brandon the day before I went to Draycote on Tuesday morning hoping for better pickings.

The two Dunlin were still in Toft and some Yellow Wagtails and Meadow Pipits were on the Farborough Bank but other than that there was little to see.That is until just before lunch the Toft Kestrel showed up and he was in a good mood because he flew around for half an hour over the picnic area swooping down to catch it's lunch and eating his catch on the rocky foreshore.Some shots are below.Click on them for a larger version.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Back down to earth.

Keen to go out birding after having to go to a funeral on Thursday I decided to go to Draycote Water again on Friday morning as my other local patches at Upton Warren,Marsh Lane and Brandon Marsh were all very quiet apparently and Draycote had been great recently.

Decided to walk to the inlet past Rainbow corner in fine weather but it proved to be very disappointing none of the recent waders were about.All I saw was a lone Ringed Plover.

On the return walk the weather had gone down the tubes and it had become overcast.Did have a battle with 3 Grey Wagtails as they flitted about on the rocks but I'm blowed if I could keep up with them.

After a coffee with Francoise in the Cafe I walked down the Farborough Bank and soon found some Yellow Wagtails but when I went to take off my new rucksack to get out my teleconverter I found I could'nt - the reason being it wasn't on my back.It was in the Cafe.What a complete burk!!!!! I'd only bought the rucksack yesterday and for once had gone upmarket.In it were 2 birding books,the remains of my lunch (this could be a deterrent to thieves) and worst of all a 1.4 teleconverter that was not cheap.

I raced back to the Cafe,arrived panting like a large dog on a hot day to be greeted by a maintenance man at the door with "Lost a bag mate ? It's behind the counter."I thought briefly of giving him a kiss but decided against it.

This incident showed that there are still some honest people about and also some complete burks.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A bit of luck at Draycote Water.

On Wednesday morning I went to Draycote again as this was the only local reserve that was on form at the moment.

The bit of luck occurred mid morning when I had spent an age trying to get some shots of the Yellow Wagtails that were on the Farborough Bank and failing hopelessly.I looked round for Jeff Rankin,who had been trying for the Wagtails with me but had soon given up,and saw him with another birder near the lifebelt further along the Farborough Bank.They had spotted something in the water!!!!!!!!

Like a fool I ambled up to them not expecting much so when I finally got my lens on it and saw it was a Manx Shearwater it took flight.It flew down towards the Centre and then banked and flew over the Sewage Works.Managed a few flight shots.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Another trip to Draycote Water.

Having had a poor morning's birding on Saturday at Brandon Marsh followed by another on Sunday morning at Marsh Lane I was badly in need of a birding boost so I went again to Draycote Water on Monday morning.

I soon found that the Pectoral Sandpiper with it's two mates the Dunlin were at Toft so I cheered up considerably especially as they came right to the end of the beach and onto the rocks for some preening.I had the birds to myself after Bob and Francoise left to do a circuit of the pond except for two other birders at the far end of the beach and they were so still for so long that I thought one of them was dead.

I'd like to say that I then raced over to Rainbow Corner for the B/T Godwit but all I can do is a slowish amble these days.It was still there and it also was very obliging as it came to the end of the beach just below the rocks.Also saw some Ringed Plovers but not the Ruff.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Brandon Marsh visit.

As it was a great morning I shot over to Brandon Marsh to see what was about.Not much as it turned out which is typical when the weather is great for seeing and taking pics there is nothing to see.To make matters worse the usual Saturday crowd was not there so I can only presume they had made a better choice than me and gone to Draycote Water.

Everywhere was very quiet with the boredom only being broken by a juvenile Water Rail showing in front of the Carlton hide.

A few Common Snipe were seen from the Teal Pool hide but nothing else

Friday, 18 September 2009

Another trip to Draycote Water.

The weatherman had said that Thursday would be the best day of the week for sunshine so I went to Draycote water again to get some more shots of the Pectoral Sandpiper but this time in the sunshine.When I got to Toft that morning surprise surprise it was very dull ,windy and damn cold.

The Pectoral Sandpiper was showing well though which was surprising because there was some lawn mowing going on close by,a couple of fishermen were very close to it's feeding beach and of course a few birders were by the wall looking down on it.It did not seemed to be phased at all by any of this but just keeps on feeding.It must be very hungry!!!!

The rocky area just below the wall all along the Farborough bank was very lively with Meadow Pipits,Grey and Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears all showing well.Also on site but missed by me included a Bar-tailed Godwit,a Ruff and a Rock Pipit.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Visit to Draycote Water.

This morning I shot over to Draycote Water with fingers crossed that the Pectoral Sandpiper that was present at the weekend was still about.

When I got to Toft I saw no other birders about so I feared the worst and Too Late Max had struck again but luckily I bumped into Francoise and she pointed me to where it was.Another piece of luck was that Dave Hutton was there and he had the bird in his lens.

What a great bird and so accomodating as it did not seem to mind us taking shots as it fed on the shoreline.Not a life tick but I was very pleased because I'd missed one at Cley only a few days ago.

Also very close by were 3 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover.A couple of Curlew Sandpipers had been present but I missed them but who cares!!!!

A Visit to the beach at Salthouse.

Decided on last Friday afternoon to have a look at the beach at Salthouse although I knew it was too early for anything decent to be there.

A walk westwards towards the Eye produced several Wheatears,loads of Meadow Pipits and Linnets.In one of the small pools was a lone Dunlin that didn't seem to mind the people strolling closely past as it fed.

A walk to Granborough hill was pretty quiet until what I though was a pile of old ropes turned out to be a juvenile Gannet that was either injured or exhausted.Although a juvenile it was a very large bird with a wicked looking bill.

There was an incident when I was having lunch on the front lawn of the Dun Cow pub at Salthouse when suddenly a very low flying jet fight appeared from nowhere and roared right over the pub.The noise was unbelievable.The lawn got very messy as it screamed overhead and it was not all caused by split drinks.

A Visit to Hickling Broad and Winterton Dunes.

I met up with Pete at Hickling Broad on Thursday morning.I was a bit apprehensive as previous visits there had been a great disappointment.

After nearly 2 hours of walking round we had seen virtually nothing at all but but things improved a tad when we were walking down the vehicle track past the Bittern Hide when we had distant views of at least a dozen Cranes as they flew eastwards,a couple of Marsh Harriers appeared but also at distance and a Hobby made a brief but close appearance zooming very close over Pete's head.

At lunchtime we went over to Winterton Dunes a place I had not been to before but famous for getting some great rarities if the conditions are right.The conditions weren't right of course when we were there but we did see some Stonechats,a Redstart and a Whinchat.Also we witnessed a fight between a Kestrel and a Jackdaw.