Thursday, 30 June 2011

A very mixed day birding.

Decided early on Wednesday morning to go over to Brandon Marsh as I hadn't been there for a while.This turned out to be a very poor decision.

My route there is through Kenilworth then to drop onto the A46 for a mile then onto the A45.This usually is a decent route but yesterday as I went down the slip road onto the A46 I was met with the driver's nightmare a completely blocked road and you of course you can't go back up the slip road.Bugger Bugger !!!!

Half an hour later I had crawled along to the A45 turn thinking I was now home and dry but oh no the A45 east was closed.Bugger Bugger Bugger !!!!!! So after nearly an hour after setting out I was heading back the way I came.

I eventually got to Brandon Marsh having used a very circuitous route but things if anything got worse because after a couple of hours walking round I saw nothing at all and never used the camera once.I was a broken man as I headed to the cafe. I was dragging my feet,my shoulders were slumped and there were small tears in the corner of my eyes.However one smile from the pretty waitress in the cafe cheered me up no end.

After a cup of tea and a bit of oggling I left and headed over to Marsh Lane which is on my way home.What a good move that was because as I entered the Car Park hide a cracking looking summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit was showing.I was able to move into smiling mode the morning's depression forgotten.Also it was a Warks Year tick.

It was a fair way off but a long wait was rewarded as it came much closer.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

An early visit to Marsh Lane.

Early on Sunday morning I went over to Marsh Lane and was surprised to find it a bit misty and and quite chilly.The heat promised for later on had not yet materialised.

From the Oak hide this handsome chap showed quite well.

Not to be outdone this very young Pied Wagtail flew very close to the hide and inspected all of us in the hide before flying off.

Had to have a quick look before I left for the Tawny Owl chicks which were very hard to find and only a pair of young eyes spotted one high in a tree.Can you see it ?

Visited by a House Sparrow.

Stayed in Saturday so no birding but I did get a visit in the back garden by this young chap.

He was a very adventurous young chap not being content to wait for his parents to turn up with some food he was happy to hop around the shrubs in my back garden.This caused his parents lots of trouble trying to find him in the undergrowth but of course they did eventually did.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Not a bad day out with the camera.

Decided early on Friday morning to join up with Kath and visit Whitacre Heath to try for the KF's that had been showing well on the scrape.

We entered the hide not long after 9.00AM and thought we had it to ourselves but well hidden under camouflage netting in front of the hide near the perching poles was Brian.He soon joined us in the hide but already had taken some great shots.

After a long wait nothing much was happening so we had to entertain ourselves with getting some shots of a Common Whitethroat that was looking for insects in front of the hide.

After a another long wait a KF turned up but the miserable swine soon left without even one attempt at catching a fish.Got some shots which are not amongst my best but are the first I've managed this year.

From nowhere a Green Sandpiper dropped in for a few minutes.

Then we spotted a very lively Stoat to the right end of the scrape that was dashing around a lot.Too far for my lens but Kath and Brian got some great shots with their big lenses.

As it was lunchtime and I'd left my lunch in the car I decided to head off to Marsh Lane which was on my way home leaving Kath and Brian in the hide waiting for the KF to turn up again.

As it turned out this was a good move because I had a huge piece of luck as I searched for the Tawny Owl chicks.Somehow I spotted them high up in a tree quite a long way away from the nesting box and very well hidden.What cracking looking birds.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Tawny Owls

As it was sunny and warm today I popped over to Marsh Lane lunchtime to see if I could see the Tawny Owl chicks inside the gloom of their nesting box.

Having stared into the gloomy depths of the box from the main path about 70 metres away for half an hour and seeing no movement at all I gave up and went to a couple of hides.Sometime later I thought I'd have another go before I dashed home for a cup of tea but yet again there was no movement in the box.

Just as I was about to move into swearing mode something in the tree a few feet above the box caught my eye.My God it was one of the Tawny Owl chicks!!!!! I then spotted the other one just a bit to the right of the box.Both of them were out.

Here are a couple of my first Tawny Owl shots.I know they are crappographs but they were taken from about 70 metres away and it was gloomy in the depth of the tree but for once I don't care a jot.I was chuffed to see these cracking young birds let alone get a shot.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Lots of birding but no decent birds.

Although I've been out locally a few times in the last few days with the camera two visits to Brandon Marsh,two visits to Marsh Lane and a couple of visits to local churchyards has produced no decent birds to point the camera at.

I've spent a long time in the Carlton hide at Brandon Marsh recently and if it wasn't for good company the distinct lack of birds on view would surely have sent me insane.The only good bit of news from this hide is that KF's are showing more regularly now.Some birders have seen them on the nearest pole but I haven't been that lucky and have only seen them at distance usually on the far pole which is way out of range for me.

At Marsh Lane there are loads of the usual suspects but nothing new as far as I could see.To entertain myself this morning I tried to get shots of some LRP's that were zooming around.Not an easy task.

The title of this post is a bit misleading because I did get a life tick this week.Although I've been birding for six years I'd never seen a Tawny Owl.How bad is that!!!! Well at Marsh Lane there are a pair and although extremely difficult to see because of the distance and branches in the way I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of one in the gloom of a tree.No pics of course but fingers crossed.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Manx Shearwaters.

You can tell I've nothing decent to report since my last post because I'm harping back into the past but the recent Springwatch TV programme about the Manx Shearwaters on Skomer island reminded me when I saw one in Warwickshire a few years ago.

I did not know until the TV programme that they were nocturnal,nearly all of them went to Skomer to breed and in the winter travelled all the way to the bottom of South America.This info. made my encounter with one even more impressive.

On the 23rd. of September 2009 a friend and I had been trying to get shots of Yellow Wagtails on the Farborough bank at Draycote Water.After a while we gave up as we couldn't get near them so we started to walk along the bank wall heading to the spit.

It was 9.30AM when we spotted this (to us both) strange bird about 30 metres out on the water.Almost immediately it took flight but we managed a few shots before it flew off west.It wasn't till a birder we showed the shots to a bit later that we found out it was a Manx Shearwater.I now know how lucky we were that day.

Friday, 10 June 2011

A quick visit to Marsh Lane.

I decided this morning to have a quick look round Marsh Lane but going via Berkswell first to see if the Spotted Flycatchers that were there last year had returned.

Had a good look round the churchyard but failed to see any Spotted Flycatchers in the area that they frequented last year.Last year everywhere I went I saw them but this year I haven't seen one at all.I'm also doing very badly with Hobbies one of my favourite birds having had only a couple of distant views.

Went over to Marsh Lane for a quick walk round.Spent a fair bit of time walking along the stream line checking out the trees as Tawny Owls have been seen there recently.But not by me!!! Too gloomy in there and loads of ivy to hide them.

The visit was not a waste of time because there were some young Reed Warblers waiting patiently in the reeds to be fed by their parents.

A ramble round Brandon Marsh.

Still feeling sorry for myself on Thursday morning because of an aching back I decided to cheer myself up with a trip to Brandon Marsh.Well they say these days you must exercise if you've got any back troubles.

I decided to have a slow stroll around the reserve to see what was about.Despite visiting most of the hides for a rest during a three hour stay I was knackered by lunchtime and headed home.

It was a fairly decent visit because there were loads of Warblers about especially Common Whitethroats which were everywhere. Had good views of a Garden Warbler, a pair of Linnets and some Bullfinches.Never saw the Cuckoo that was calling out most of the morning and only got a glimpse of a KF that very briefly landed on a post in front of the Carlton hide.There were also lots of Reed and Sedge Warblers about.

Only got a few decent shots.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A quick visit to Marsh Lane.

Except when getting out of bed or getting out of a chair the back was much better and I was able to get around without too much pain so I thought on Monday afternoon I would go for a quick visit to Marsh Lane.

There had been some good birds down there while I had been out of action : a Spoonbill and a Wood Sandpiper so I'd got my fingers crossed.However I had no luck and found nothing decent in my hour long stay except for a Sedgie who I caught just after lt's lunchtime bath.

The other thing that got me thinking was seeing the Black Swan with two young in tow.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Out of action.

Early on Friday morning with the sun shining outside I was planning my day's birding when I bent down to pick up a waste paper bin and felt a sharp pain in my lower back.My first thoughts were that an old enemy from my MI6 days had been hiding behind the kitchen door and had stabbed me.

Of course it wasn't I'd done my back.I spent the rest of the day hobbling round the house in pain and it's no better this morning after a very poor night's sleep.If that wasn't bad enough I've just read on birdguides a Spoonbill was seen at Marsh lane at 7.40AM today.Bugger Bugger !!!!!!

One good bit of news although not yet confirmed by the Guinness Book of records is that I might have broken the world record for taking the most Ibuprufen tablets in a 24hour period.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Out in the sun.

It was a lovely morning on Thursday as I headed over to Brandon Marsh for the first visit for ages.I decided to head past the wind pump and go that way round the reserve taking my time checking everything out just like real birders do.

This seemed to be a good plan but it wasn't as it turned out.Not because I didn't see anything which I did but because if I'd done my usual thing at Brandon Marsh and make a bee line for the East Marsh hide I would have seen the Osprey that flew around for a while at 9.30AM.Bugger Bugger !!

I had a pleasant walk the way I went and it was nice to see Warblers feeding their young.The most pleasing for me was getting some shots of a Reed Warbler a bird that this year had avoided me.

After a bite of lunch on the Newlands bench and seeing that the place was filling up with half termers I left and headed back home but not before another go at the Goldcrests in Knowle.

They took some finding this time but I eventually got onto them.What cracking birds they are and they are so small.One landed right next to me on a grave stone and it didn't seem to be much bigger than a bumblebee.I understand they weigh the same as a 10p piece.

I struggled to get any decent shots as usual.Not only do they ping around a lot but they are often in the gloom of a tree and the camera speed is so slow it's useless getting a sharp shot.