Friday, 31 December 2010

Still struggling to get some decent shots.

As soon as the snow had gone I thought it would be OK to go out with the camera and get some decent shots.Wrong.What we then had round here was very damp,dull and misty weather definitely no good for taking pics.

In my back garden the flock of Lesser Redpolls has still been making regular visits but they can sense when my camera focusses on them because the miserable so and so's clear off.The only shots I've got recently in the garden have been of a couple of Redwings.

On Thursday afternoon realising I had not been out with the camera for a fortnight and suffering badly with cabin fever I thought sod the weather I must go out so I went down to Marsh Lane which is my nearest local patch.

It was very damp and misty but not too cold when I got there.I was surprised to see that the car park pool was still completely frozen over and a 10 minute stay in the hide produced a lone Crow and absolutely nothing else.

From the Oak hide there were some small areas of open water but not much.There were some BH Gulls,a couple of Common Gulls,a few Lapwings,several Teal,a group of Shovelers and the odd Mallard and that was it.It was pretty miserable stuff so roll on Spring.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Still trapped at home.

Still unable to venture out birding in the car because of the snow that keeps on falling in Knowle and because my car is very poor when the road is slippery I have been limited to garden watching.

I did have to venture out on Wednesday morning as was I was running out of food.I set off on foot to Knowle very early well wrapped up as the temperature was -8 degrees c. and was pleased to do all the shopping without getting too cold or slipping over but my arms were in agony carrying the two bags of shopping.What a wimp.My arms are a good 100mm longer now !!!!!

My small suburban back garden has been very lively with birds the last few days (my neighbour is a keen bird feeder and I'm no slouch).At one time this morning I counted :-

8 Blackbirds

6 Chaffinches

3 Greenfinches

16 Starlings

3 Fieldfares

12 Redwings

The odd Robin,Woodpigeon,Dunnock and House Sparrow.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Fieldfare in the garden.

Trapped in doors by the heavy snowfall that kept falling all day on Saturday (we've had about 15cms in Knowle) I was pleased to see the back garden was quite lively with birds on Sunday morning.

It was a bit gloomy for decent pics but it was good to be able to point the camera at something even if I had to hang out of a bedroom window.

Couldn't get a shot at all of a couple of Redwings that showed briefly or of a small flock of Lesser Redpolls that were too lively for me.I did rattle off a few shots of a Fieldfare who turned out to be a messier eater than me and kept dropping the berries he had picked.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A Grim Day's Birding.

Well I know you can't win them all but yesterday's birding was particularly grim.Having done no birding for a few days and seeing that the weather was going to go downhill again I thought I'd better go out so on Wednesday morning I went to Brandon Marsh.

I knew I was not going to have a good day with the camera because as soon as I walked down the main path it started to drizzle (the weather man said it would be dull but dry - idiot!!!!).My mood didn't improve when I chatted to a couple of birders the first said he'd been here since dawn and had seen buggerall and the second said the same and he was so depressed I think he was crying.

It was damp,very dull and very chilly all the time I was there (3+ hours) so I spent most of the time in the various hides but there was absolutely nothing to see of note and everyone I bumped into said the same.

The highlight of the day was having a nice cup of tea in the cafe and being served by a very pretty waitress.You can tell how bad it was as these are the only two shots I took all day.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Went to the wrong hide.

Had one of the moments birders loathe this morning at Brandon Marsh.When you enter a hide you are greeted with the dreaded words " You've just missed a ********** " In this case it was a Bittern " Right in front of the hide " and " Flying around right in front of us ".

For some reason when I arrived this morning I went straight to the Steetly hide and stayed for 30 minutes when there was absolutely nothing on show and I knew some friends were in the Carlton hide.What a burk!!!!!

Then to make matters worse I stopped at the East Marsh hide which was empty and again absolutely nothing on show.It was then the text came through " Bittern showing well at Carlton ". I raced up the path to the hide to be greeted with those dreaded words by at least a dozen people.

Of course they all showed me their shots which were stunning including some cracking flight shots.The internet will be full of Bittern shots tonight.It was still there but a long way off by now.Here are my best shots which are very poor compared to what others had taken.Why didn't I go straight to the Carlton hide!!!!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Chasing the Short Eared Owl.

Thursday morning I decided I must brave the bitter cold conditions and go out birding.I decided I must try and see the SEO that has been showing at Brandon Marsh so I set off there mid morning.

I was wearing so many layers to keep out the cold that I had great trouble getting through the reception doors to sign in for the day.

As expected all the ponds were frozen and some of the pathways were a bit treacherous but this didn't concern me as I planned to spend all the time between the sheep field and the Newlands as this is were the SEO is seen.

It had been seen earlier in the day near the bridge but in a stay of over 3 hours I and several other birders did not see it.Got cold for nothing.Bugger!!!

My only consolation was that I did catch up with some Siskins for the first time this year.

I found out later that over 50 Waxwings were showing that morning in Dorridge which is just down the road for me.I'm not complaining as I've had loads of sightings already this year locally but that's a good number in an area that as far as I know has had no sightings for many years.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Waxwings are back.

Having said in my last post that I thought that the local Waxwings have flown away to new pastures blow me down if they didn't make an appearance this afternoon.

Still afraid to go out in the bitter cold weather and do some real birding I again checked out the local area in the car.

I'd been parked up near one of the many berry trees in the area for about 10 minutes and was refusing to take any more Fieldfare and Redwing shots that were on the tree when all of a sudden from absolutely nowhere 20 Waxwings suddenly landed on the tree.

Taken completely by surprise (not for the first time) I went into panic mode as I turned the camera on and tried to point the camera through a closed window.By the time I got everything ready to get some shots the Waxwings were fluttering around everywhere and even my shouting "Keep still you *******" failed to have an effect.

They then flew off only to return 10 minutes later but only stayed for 20 seconds before disappearing for good.So the good news is that there is a flock of Waxwings in the Bentley Heath/Dorridge area but the bad news is they've got plenty of berry trees to go on.

Didn't do too well with the pics but that was my fault.

Some Thrush shots.

I was out again yesterday really after the local Waxwings in some of their various favourite spots but never saw even a quick glimpse.I'm sure they've gone off and joined all their mates now at Upton Warren and I was left with a few Fieldfares and a Song Thrush to point the camera at.

I rather like Fieldfares and Song Thrushes so here are some of the shots I took.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Some more local birding.

I had planned to go over to Brandon Marsh at lunchtime to try for the Short Eared Owl that's been seen on the Newlands in the afternoons.

However when I saw that the mist appeared to be rolling in again I chickened out and did some local birding instead.This was a mistake as the mist soon disappeared and a bird text alert told me that the SEO was seen on the Newlands at just before 1.00PM.Bugger!!!!!

Didn't run into the local Waxwings again unfortunately but the usual suspects were performing well once more.

The best spot , which nearly made up for missing the SEO , was finding a male Blackcap.I seem to get shots of them in the Winter and not in the Summer.It was a bit distant and very flighty but very nice to see in the Winter.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Chasing local Waxwings again.

Having seen earlier in the week a friend's (Steve Seal) excellent shots of Waxwings on his blog I decided to have another go this morning at chasing down the two that have been seen locally recently.

It was bitterly cold but sunny as I set out on the short drive to the area that they are seen in.For any locals reading this the area which I search is the group of roads between Mill Lane,Chadworth Avenue and the rail track in Dorridge but I bet they range further than this area.I've only ever seen two together and there are loads of berry trees to search so you have to be lucky.

In my search to find a Waxwing I did see another of my favourite winter visitors a Fieldfare.

As I waited patiently I was lucky to find a entirely new bird species for the UK a White-faced Blackbird when it landed in the tree I was watching.Wouldn't it be good if that was true!!!! It was a partly albino Blackbird but very nice to see.

I did see a lone Waxwing on one of the trees on three occasions but each time it stayed for only about 30 seconds each time so I had to rattle off as many shots as possible.