Monday, 30 November 2009

Yellowhammers and Fieldfares.

Struggling to get decent shots with the new camera as it was sunny I went to Ice Station Marsh Lane this morning to try for some shots of the Yellowhammers and the Fieldfares that have been seen along the old road.

It was bitterly cold when I got there but the beauty of birding down the old road is you can use the car as a hide and keep clear of that biting wind.How shrewd is that!!!!!

There are a lot of Yellowhammers along the roadway (75+ apparently) and I was able to get a few shots when they came out of the middle of the hedges.

There were a lot of Fieldfare about but these chaps usually fly way off whenever I get in range so it was a bit tricky getting decent shots.

Friday, 27 November 2009

A couple of local very cold trips.

On Thursday afternoon I popped down to Marsh Lane.It was a bit gloomy but not raining for a change but the killer was the wind which was bitterly cold.I think I'm going to have to upgrade Marsh Lane to Ice Station status as it is often very cold there when surrounding areas are not too bad.The poor man's Draycote Water which is one of the coldest places on earth.

Didn't see anything of note at Ice Station Marsh Lane the best being at least 25 Common Snipe on the car park pool and a Peregrine fly through.

The sun was shining on Friday morning and the wind had died down in Knowle so I shot off to Ice Station Draycote.Went to Toft where it was no surprise to find a bitterly cold wind blowing.

Soon spotted the Green-winged Teal from the hide but the miserable so and so was the furthest bird away and didn't move an inch in an hour's stay.So still no GWT shot this year.Best spot was when the Toft Kestrel turned up near the picnic area and I managed to get a few shots off with the new camera (which I am struggling with at the moment and need the practice).

At lunchtime I met up with Bob and Francoise for a coffee in the Centre and they had seen the GND but it was a long way off and a few Goosanders by the inlet.So not a lot around.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

A Trip to Shustoke.

After some early morning shopping and a couple of household chores the sun came out on Friday morning so I thought I must go out birding but where to go?My first thoughts were a visit to Brandon as I hadn't been for ages but the call of a Great Northern Diver still wearing some summer clothing at Shustoke won the day.

Got there at 10.00AM and joined a few birders in the car park.The juvenile had been showing well but the adult was spending most of the time diving both a long way off though.

I then made a mistake I have made before at Shustoke I thought the birds were closer to the far shore so along with Lee Johnson and John I walked round to the far shore.Of course when you get there both birds were a bit nearer but still a long way off and worst of all the sun was glaring badly off the water and you couldn't see much at all.

Got some so so shots of the juvenile but shots of the adult which was the one I was after were very poor and to make matters worse a Great White Egret was on show at Brandon!!!!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A frustrating morning at Ice Station Draycote.

The sun was out for a change so on Tuesday morning I dashed over to Ice Station Draycote the main aim being to get some shots of the Green-winged Teal.

When I got there the wind was howling across the pond,the water was very choppy and when I got in the hide at Toft the waves crashing onto the shore were so big I was a little surprised there were no surfers there.

So how did I get on with getting shots of the GWT.Absolutely crap!!!! It was there OK about 40 metres in front of the hide but the miserable so and so hid for ages behind one of the dead bushes on the shore with several of his mates feeding in the shoreline foam.It flew off once but when it came back the damn thing went back to the same spot behind the dead bush.When it did venture onto the water it of course went away from the hide into the choppy water.

I do not like staying in hides for too long as I think I am missing something good elsewhere but I stayed in the hide that morning for 2 1/2 hours.In that amount of time I could have flown to Majorca,booked into a hotel and been sitting by the pool chatting up loads of women (well looking at them).All my shots were crappographs an example below.Not too bothered as last year's bird was much more accommodating.

Whilst waiting for the GWT to show itself I witnessed a murder on the foreshore.A Crow attacked a Gull which must have been injured because it didn't put up much of a fight and finally killed it.I know it's nature but I wanted to leave the hide and rescue it.

As I left the site things improved as I got a glimpse of the Merlin that others had seen earlier.

Friday, 13 November 2009

A couple of local trips.

Went across to Draycote Water on Thursday morning because the weatherman told me it would be bright and calm until lunchtime.Well it was calm but not bright often pretty gloomy.Not so good for taking shots then.

Had a day of making errors.Abandoned my walk down the Farborough Bank and headed for Rainbow as the GN Diver had been seen there.It was not till I got to Rainbow,having seen nothing of interest at all,when Bob Hazell called to tell me a Green-winged Teal was showing well in front of the Toft hide.Well it might have been on Mars as far as I was concerned because to walk from Rainbow corner to Toft is a major expedition for me taking weeks of planning!!!!

Of course when I got there it had moved across Toft to the far bank.Lovelly!!!! Only shots I got were of the Goosanders on the Pectoral beach.

This morning,having heard of the bad weather coming later,I nipped over to Marsh Lane for a quick look.I didn't see anything special from the hides except a great number of Common Snipe but the Old Road was very lively with numerous Yellowhammers,Chaffinches,Siskin,Linnets etc. and the odd Redwing and a lone Tree Sparrow.No pics a bit dull.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A Foggy Day at Draycote.

Flushed with the success of finding the Purple Sandpiper at Draycote last Friday I decided to go over there again on Monday morning.When I left Knowle it was a fairly bright morning but when I started my walk round to the inlet a fog had descended over the pond and you could see nothing past the shoreline.

Met up with Francoise and Bob at the inlet having seen nothing at all but at least Bob pointed out the Yellow-legged Gull which was on the inlet beach.

After we had a drink at the Centre the fog had lifted a bit so we decided to walk along the Farborough Bank where Bob found the Great Northern Diver which annoyingly stayed several miles away in the centre of the pond.Other birds seen through the gloom along the walk to Toft were some Goldeneye and a pair of Goosanders.

Some crappographs below all taken through the gloom or in the case of the GND at great distance but good to see it.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

At last I find a decent bird.

It had to happen sometime and at last it was me who found a decent bird and was able to tell everyone about it.I always go and see a rare bird that someone else has found so I was very chuffed on Friday when it was me who first spotted one.

I got to Draycote Water Friday morning and decided to give the Farborough Bank a miss and to walk to the inlet instead.I had seen very little until I walked along the jetty at the overflow and saw 4 smallish waders on the beach there which turned out to be Dunlin

It wasn't until I'd taken a few shots of the Dunlin that I noticed another wader that was with them.I rattled off a few shots and then tried to work out what it was.I thought Purple Sandpiper but was not certain so I walked round to the inlet where I knew Bob Hazell and Francoise were.Bob was interested enough in my shots to hurry to the jetty where he confirmed my ID.

What surprised me was how rare they are inland and what a good find it was at Draycote and therefore Warwickshire.More important it was me who found it.Fame at last!!!!!

Some pics above but not good ones as the light was very poor.Well that's my excuse.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Wimp is back.

Yes the Wimp is back and the Wimp is of course me.

Went to Draycote Water on Monday morning and I hadn't walked 100 metres down the Farborough bank when the biting cold wind sent me scurrying back to the Centre where I decided to head for Brandon Marsh where hopefully it would not be so windy.I'd forgotten how cold Ice Station Draycote could be.

Had a good walk round Brandon but it was very quiet and nothing interesting seen.Finally entered the Carlton hide at lunchtime and if Kath had not been there I am sure I would have left there pretty soon.In the end I stayed for a couple of hours with all the interest centred on the bushes to the left of the hide where some Redwings were feeding on the berries.Other birds seen included a Sparrowhawk that flashed by a couple of times,a couple of Kingfishers but only one briefly perched ,a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper.

The only other bird of interest that showed was a Chiffchaff which I tried to turn into a Siberian Chiffchaff but got little support in the hide.