Saturday, 31 October 2009

A decent day's birding locally at last.

Having had a pretty bad run with the camera at all my local patches lately when the weatherman said that Friday "would be the last day of the sunny warm weather" I was not confident of a good day with the camera as I set off early for Draycote Water.

It was a bad start because it was not sunny and not warm.A visit to Toft produced nothing of interest at all and even the walk to the outlet where you usually can count on some Grey Wagtails on the way to show themselves was very poor.

After a picnic at the outlet I met up with Bob and Francoise and things perked up a lot when on the way back to the centre we found the Lesser Scaup just off the Hensborough bank.I was pleased to see it again as I had not seen it for some time.It must have been out all night at a disco because it was asleep most of the time and you had to be lucky to get a shot with it's head up.

As we approached the sailing club we noticed some birds on the roof and soon spotted some Meadow Pipits and a couple of Pied Wagtails but then suddenly another bird suddenly appeared.It had a red tail!!!!! A Black Redstart!!!!! I'm claiming I found it but Bob was the first to shout out and I was the one who text Birdguides.I haven't done that often.

It was much paler than the two I'd seen before and it was having a bad hair day but just like the one at Coleshill last year it was happy to pose for shots.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Some recent local trips.

I'd love to post some decent shots but recent visits to Draycote Water,Marsh Lane (twice) and Brandon Marsh have been very disappointing with very little around to point the lens at.The only interesting shot I have taken at Marsh Lane was of some Golden Plover having just missed the Mandarin Duck.

On Monday morning I was in the River Pool hide on my own patiently waiting for a Greenshank to come nearer and nearly dozing off when all hell broke loose.The whole hide started to shake violently and there was a loud banging noise outside.An earthquake???? No it was what I'd forgotten.It was half term.Four young children charged into the hide followed by grandad.I attempted to be friendly but when I pointed out the Greenshank to him he replied "WE're not interested in birds".I left immediately.

Desperate to use the camera I started to take some garden bird shots on Wednesday morning even though the weather was crap for taking pics.

This morning my sleep was disturbed by a lager lout.How bad is that!!!!!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

After Norfolk a local trip out.

After a decent trip to Norfolk last week I thought I'd better venture out locally soon before the camera rusted up with lack of use so on Friday morning,despite still feeling grotty after a flu jab,I went over to Draycote Water.

Surprisingly the weather was good with little wind and a bit of sunshine.That was the good news the bad was it was very quiet birdwise.A visit to Toft produced very little probably because there were at least 50 fishermen there some on the shore and loads in the water.The only shots I took were of the commoner birds.

I then decided to walk to Rainbow corner.I soon spotted a Kestrel on top of one of the yacht masts but struggled to get any decent shots as the light was all wrong.

There were loads of fishermen along the Hensborough bank so I was lucky to get some shots of a very handsome Grey Wagtail.I saw very little else except for some distant views of a party of 10 Common Buzzards.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A Trip to Norfolk.

Last Monday the weatherman told me it would be fine weather in Norfolk all week so on Wednesday morning I left early for a couple of days birding.The weatherman got it wrong of course it was gloomy and damp so not good for getting decent shots.Mind you it was not cold and not windy well it wasn't till Friday morning.

Went to Cley first on Wednesday.The usual suspects could be seen from the hides but nothing special seen.A walk down the East bank and along the shingle banks produced very little except for a couple of Stonechats.

After lunch I couldn't resist the sightings coming through on the bird text alert so I shot over to West Runton to try and see a Short-toed Lark,a Barred Warbler and a Richards Pipit.Eventually found the right spot but the birds were so far away/mobile that I had poor views even through another birders scope.So poor in fact I'm not claiming any ticks.

Thursday morning I went to Wells Woods a place I'd not been to before.It was an impressive place but the car park fee was so expensive I thought the price might include lunch at the beach cafe.Soon found the place where the Yellow Browed Warbler had been seen the day before in some willows but in the next couple of hours I only had very brief views as it hopped around often calling out but usually well hidden.So no shots!!!!Other birds seen in the Dell area included a Firecrest,several common Warblers and some Redwings.

After lunch in the beach cafe (which was not free!!!!!) and which was as good as my view of the Yellow Browed Warbler : crap I had a quick look on the beach where Curlews,Turnstones,Bar-tailed Godwits,Grey Plovers and hundreds of Brent Geese were showing.

I then went to the shingle banks at Cley to try for the Snow Buntings that had been seen earlier but after a long search I had seen no sign of them but I did see a Greenland Wheatear and a Black Redstart.

Friday morning started very wet and very windy but I decided to have a look at Titchwell to break up the journey home.Turned out to be a wise move despite the weather because there was a Grey Phalarope showing from the Island hide,a Little Stint and a distant Jack Snipe.The wind was so strong on the beach that the sand was being blown up so whilst I still had some skin left I very quickly retreated back down the path.On the way back a couple showed me a pair of Shore Larks on the brackish marsh but they were a long was off.

Grey Wagtails and Rock Pipits shots.

Bit late in posting this blog as I've been to Norfolk again.

Went to Draycote Water last Monday morning to take advantage of a sunny day.Didn't see anything at all in the Toft area but had better luck on the shore area just past where the last boat is parked past the sailing club.There were 2 juvenile Ringed Plovers and 3 Grey Wagtails the latter were zooming around and were a challenge to get some shots.

At the same spot just after lunch some Pipits turned up and at last I was able to get some Rock Pipit shots.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

A visit to Brandon Marsh.

Shot over to Brandon Marsh on Saturday morning.It was warm and sunny when I got there just right for getting some decent shots then.

Well to do that you have to have some birds to take shots of but they were very thin on the ground.There was very little about and if it hadn't been for meeting up with several friends I think I would have left earlier than I did.Wasn't all gloomy though a Kingfisher showed up briefly from the Carlton hide so I got to use the camera.

Later on walking in the area just before the Old Hare Covert with Jeff Rankin he was delighted to find a Clouded Yellow butterfly which is pretty rare at Brandon apparently.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Another go at the Lesser Scaup.

It was a fine morning on Thursday so I shot off to Draycote Water again as it remains the only local patch that has got any decent birds present.

Went straight to Toft Bay to search for the Lesser Scaup and soon found it amongst the Tufties but as I waited for it to get in camera range one of the 15 fishing boats in the bay area moved too close and up went the flock to land right across the pond.

About an hour later the Tufties flew back and landed in front of the Toft picnic area but just as I began to look for the LS 2 fishing boats decided to move in and of course nearly all of them took to the air again.There were no more than a dozen birds left but blow me down one of them was the LS and I rattled off a few shots before they flew off to join their mates.

After lunch I was told there was a Caspian Gull showing well by the inlet so,as |I had never seen one before, I trudged all the way over there and I still haven't seen one as it turned out to be a Yellow Legged Gull.Can't win them all!!!!!