Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A battle with a Spotted Flycatcher.

Tuesday morning,having done the weekly shop,I decided to repeat Monday's birding and go first for the Spotted Flycatchers and then the Hobby not that I had any choice really as everywhere else locally was very quiet.

Got to the churchyard mid morning and straight away met up with Kevin Grocock who had already rattled off some shots of the Flycatchers but when I joined him I struggled yet again to get any decent shots.Shortly afterwards it started to rain and while Kevin shrewdly raced off to his car I decided to shelter under a tree.Bad mistake!!!!! What started off as a gentle shower turned into the shower from hell and I got soaked but worst of all the camera and bins were getting soaked as well.

Kevin left after the shower had stopped but I gave it another hour.It turned out to be a losing battle because the Flycatcher out thought and out manoeuvred me the whole time and I could not get near it.Good fun but I lost.This is as near as I could get :-

This what happened when I crept closer :-

This is my good friend checking on me before he made his next move :-

Had a quick look in at Marsh Lane for the Hobby on the way home and saw one zooming over the CP pool when I got out of the car.Unfortunately as soon as I entered the hide it decided to rest in a distant tree and refused to come out.

Monday, 28 June 2010

A morning's local trip.

Not having been out birding for a couple of days I thought I'd have a quick look round locally to see if anything was about before it got too hot.

Went to the churchyard where a few weeks ago I used to see Spotted Flycatchers but which had gone missing lately.Soon saw a very tatty Robin acting like a Flycatcher but no actual Flycatchers that was till I was about to give up when I saw a pair of them on a distant gravestone.

Despite using all my formidable field craft skills I'm blowed if I could get near them for a decent shot before they disappeared.

Called in briefly at Marsh Lane but I was told I'd just missed a pair of Hobbies.Can't win them all!!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

An encounter with a Hobby.

My good friend Simon King (well I did chat to him at the Bird Fair a few years ago) and I have one thing in common we both love Hobbies.

So far this year I've hardly seen any and certainly none close enough to get a decent shot so this lunchtime I was both surprised and delighted to see one hawking over the Car Park pool today at Marsh Lane.It only stayed for 15 minutes before zooming off but he did come close a couple of times.Here are my best shots.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A local trip for a change.

I had decided to stay in on Tuesday to catch up on some household chores but when Kath texted me asking if I fancied trying for the Hobby that's been seen at Brandon Marsh I couldn't resist as I love trying to get shots of Hobbies one of my favourite birds.Met up in the Carlton hide mid morning to find it very quiet with only a few Sedge/Reed Warblers showing that were of any interest.

After an hour of seeing nothing I decided to try a ploy I've used with success often in the past to attract birds.What you do is to start eating a sandwich and of course to do so you have to lay down your camera and this is what attracts birds.This time I was on my second bite when a Little Egret flew in and landed near the hide then this was followed by a KF that landed on the nearest perching pole.Great something to point the camera at.

When the KF flew off and I resumed eating a Hobby appeared from nowhere right in front of the hide caught a dragonfly and shot off.No chance of a shot and the miserable so and so never returned by the time I left mid afternoon.

On the way back a quick look in the East Marsh hide was rewarded with the Hobby but it was a long way off and zooming low over the water so no decent shots.

Monday, 21 June 2010

A Trip into Derbyshire.

As the weather looked good on Monday morning and as I was still flushed with the success of getting shots of the Bluethroat last week in Norfolk I thought I'd have a go for the Great Reed Warbler that's been in a NR in Ilkeston in Derbyshire .

Although I'd had very brief glimpses of one a couple of years ago at Cley I'd not got any shots so, if it was still there,it was pics I was after.

Set off at 9.30AM armed with maps of the route and got there at 10.30AM despite getting lost again.I think the maps I am using were drawn up at the same time Shakespeare was writing Hamlet.They are that out of date!!!!

Was it still there???? Yes because I heard it as soon as I walked under the bridge and I'd still 100 metres to go.What a song it is.It's worth going for that alone.

So how did I do getting shots.In the morning the bird remained deep in it's favourite reed bed singing it's heart out only showing for a split second in the open a couple of times.The two other photographers gave up and I was left on my own so I decided to head back to the car and have some lunch having not taken one shot.

After lunch I had the place to myself and luckily the bird showed much better and I managed to get a few shots although the reeds in front of me caused a lot of trouble there was always one in the way.I need to be taller or take some stilts with me next time.

A cracking bird with a fabulous song.I'm very glad it waited for me.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

A few more shots from the Norfolk trip.

I gave up trying to get a decent shot of the Montagu's Harriers at lunchtime on Friday and headed to North Creak Abbey where you can get a spot of lunch in the cafe there.

Whilst there and in the nearby countryside I did manage to see a Cuckoo on a distant tree,a Marsh Tit on some feeders,a Little Owl perched on a distant wall,a cracking Spotted Flycatcher nesting in a barn wall and also a bird I haven't seen for ages a Turtle Dove which I'm told are a bit thin on the ground these days.

Later in the afternoon I found this Marsh Harrier but the weather was very dull so pics not too clever.

Trying for Motagu's Harriers.

The wind had dropped a bit on Friday morning but it was dull with some drizzle in the air so I decided to go inland a bit and try to see and hopefully get some shots of Montagu's Harriers.

I arrived at the secret spot (which everyone knows about) not long after 9.00AM to find it deserted and not knowing if they had turned up this year (I'd not seen any reports) I was not confident of being successful.On my own I struggle a bit with ID them particularly the male which can be mistaken with male Marsh Harriers with the black wingtips.

Luckily quite soon a few birders turned up and together we were able to get some distant views of a male.A great looking bird and very nice to see but like the previous times I'd been to this spot they never came close.

Don't laugh at my pics.The weather was dull and a bit drizzly and as said above it was always a long way off.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

A visit to Cley next sea.

On Thursday morning I paid a visit to Cley next sea.Now Cley is a place I do not seem to get any decent pics (except of course the Bearded Tit shot I use as the header to this blog) so I was not expecting much specially as it was late June.

There were no decent waders from the hides and the Marsh Harriers were staying well away from my camera.The wind was keeping the Bearded Tits low down in the reeds along the East bank.

The only bird I spotted on the shingle banks were a lone Meadow Pipit.

On the way back to the Centre for a coffee I did spot a family of Linnets but that was all.

Another lifetick : a Bluethroat.

Even though I knew it was not a good time going to Norfolk being the end of June I thought sod it I could do with a bit of a break so early on Wednesday morning I set off there in excellent weather.I did not go my usual route as I was going to call in at Welney on the way hoping that the Bluethroat was still there.If so it would be a life tick.

No sat nav for me they are for wimps.I am a map man and had planned my route precisely or at least I thought I had because I somehow ended up at the Ouse Washes RSPB site.What a burk!!!!

The delay,as it turned out, was not a disaster because when I arrived at Welney at 8.30AM and raced eagerly to the entrance I found it was closed.Can you believe it they don't open till 9.30AM.

When I finally got in I raced over to the path leading to the Lyle hide which is where it usually is seen.Quite soon I had my first view.A White-spotted Bluethroat.Over the next few hours I had some very good views although you had to be patient as it disappeared for long periods.What a cracking looking bird.Probably one of the best looking I have ever seen.Here are a few shots.Click on them to enlarge.

Friday, 4 June 2010

An early morning local trip.

A lovely morning again so not long after 8.00AM I thought I'd have a look for the Spotted Flycatcher that's been showing near a local churchyard.

I haven't seen either of them the last couple of visits and so it proved this morning.No sign at all.Could their chicks fledged and they have left?Had to entertain myself with trying to get shots of the Swallows.

Called in to Marsh lane on the way home and,although it was very quiet,I did have some fun trying to get some shots of a couple of Reed Warblers that were zooming all over the place from the causeway screens.