Thursday, 29 December 2011

First trip out after xmas.

Having stayed in for a few days by Wednesday I was ready to go out there and get some fresh air and exercise so after a bit of shopping I grabbed the camera and headed off to Brandon Marsh.

After wandering around for a couple of hours there was good and bad news.The early rain had stopped to leave quite a nice day but there was nothing around to point the camera at.The Carlton hide was particularly grim with only a Mallard showing during a 30 minute stay.Chatting to other birders in the hide who had been there longer than me we decided that because it can be so depressing in there it may be wise to get a Samaritans direct line phone installed to prevent any possible suicides on particularly bad days.

The only shot I managed in the morning was of a Water Rail that showed for all of 10 seconds from the EM hide.

At mid day I headed off to the cafe for a cup of tea.As usual I was cheered up a lot by the very attractive waitress who looked particularly good that morning.How can I lose 40 years !!!!!

I then headed to the back gate area where there were several Redwings and a few Fieldfares feeding on the berry trees.

Better still there was a small flock of Redpolls and Siskins feeding on the trees near the back gate.I was pleased to catch up with these chaps and get the first shots of the winter.It was not easy to get any decent shots as they love to feed upside down and this does not give a good shot.

Here is another shot of a Redpoll but this was taken half an hour ago through my office (bedroom really) window.I was pleased to see it because it was the first visitor to my niger feeder which I put up several weeks ago and as far as I know had attracted no birds until today.


Friday, 23 December 2011

A quick Marsh Lane visit.

I had no intention of going out birding on Thursday morning but when out shopping mid morning I could see the weather was  very pleasant so I thought a quick visit to Marsh Lane was in order.

As I was about to close the car park gates I spotted a great looking Common Buzzard sunning itself on the fence in the field opposite.The trouble was it was about 100m away and only just above the lie of the land.Oh for a big lens and someone to carry it around for me.Cheryl Cole perhaps!!!!

I then headed straight to the causeway screen to see if I could see a Water Rail but no luck.However the now regular Kingfisher was present.When viewing from the north causeway screen check out the fencing shown here as it likes to eat it's catch there.

It did come closer briefly.

On the way home I checked out the local berry trees in Bentley Heath which is pretty close to where I live.There are loads of different heavily loaded  berry trees here and it was where last year I found a flock of Waxwings.The trees were very quiet but I did get a few shots of some Redwings.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A dire day out at Brandon Marsh.

After some early morning shopping on Tuesday I raced over to Brandon Marsh keen to take advantage of the bright weather.Things went well to start with as I walked round to the Newlands and I managed a shot of a pair of Common Buzzards soaring high overhead.

Things then went downhill as I walked past the Wright hide because clouds rolled in and it became very gloomy.Bugger!!!!  Did manage a shot of a Treecreeper.

Being patient in the East Marsh and the Carlton hides did no good because they were both very quiet.All I got was a shot of a Common Snipe and a Wren.

A dazzling smile from the pretty waitress in the cafe did cheer me up a little but I was soon depressed again when by the back gate I found it far to gloomy to get any decent shots of the flock of Siskins and Redpolls that were in the trees.This is my least bad shot.

I then gave up although it was only 1.30PM.It was too gloomy and so was I.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Caught in the rain.

I was unable to take advantage of the morning's bright weather on Saturday because I had to make a visit to Solihull to complain about my new glasses so it wasn't till lunchtime that I was able to go out with the camera.

Although it was still sunny when I set out on the short drive to Marsh Lane it had become cloudy when I parked up.I then got trapped for a while in the car park hide when it started to rain.The only shots I took were of a Shellduck.The Bewicks had left the day before.

When the rain stopped I bravely risked the weather and went to the Oak hide but had no luck there and took no shots.On the walk back the rain started again and unable now to dash anywhere I got pretty wet by the time I got in the car.It's hard to believe this body many years ago used to burst through defences and score loads of goals.

Did I give up.No way!!! I decided to park up along the old road in a decent spot and wait to see what turned up.It was warm and dry in the car and the radio was playing in the background.Even I can be patient when it's like this.

I did have to be patient because it was an age before the first decent bird showed and it was a male Bullfinch.

I was about to give up because it became very dull and the rain was falling again when a large flock of Fieldfares turned up and fed on the berries.Quite pleased with these shots as they were taken in the rain.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A quick visit to Marsh Lane.

Went over to Marsh Lane early this morning to take advantage of the bright weather but as soon as I arrived the clouds had covered the sun and there was even a bit of rain in the air.How wonderful !!!!

I was surprised to find the pair of Bewick Swans were still there on the car park pool.I thought these chaps didn't hang around long.Although I was pleased to get some more shots especially as I hadn't got any of them on the water the lighting was grim.

From the northern screen on the causeway I was chuffed to spot a Kingfisher with a fish on the top rail of the new fencing.This is a fair way off but I was pleased to see it as they are not common at Marsh Lane.

For once I was patient and it came quite close and I was able to get my first decent KF shots at Marsh Lane.To my knowledge it was in this area for at least an hour and it caught several fish so it might well become a regular visitor.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A day out at a couple of local patches.

As soon as I heard on Monday morning that it was likely to be the best day weatherwise of the week I decided to go out with the camera.Whilst pondering where to go I had a timely text from Nic Barlow telling me that there were a couple of Bewick Swans on the car park pool at Marsh Lane.Not having ticked one in Warwickshire I sped over there.

Walked into the hide at just after 9.00AM and soon spotted them not too far away at the back of the island in front of the hide.Had to be patient as they were both asleep but did finally manage a few shots.

I then decided to drive over to Brandon Marsh where it was bright and not too windy.There were only a couple of people in EM hide when I entered it at not long after 10.30AM so I thought there couldn't be much around but I soon found a Common Snipe.

A bit later a Water Rail showed for a few seconds and I was able to get a few shots.This was the first WR I'd seen for ages so I was pleased to get some shots.

I slipped up a bit later on when I was looking in the wrong direction when a Peregrine flew high right over the hide and I couldn't get onto it quick enough to get a decent shot.

I then went down to the Carlton hide.On route I met two birders coming back the first said "There's nothing up there mate" and the second said the same but used much stronger language.The hide was empty when I got there so I could eat my lunch in peace but before I could get it out I saw this Kestrel who paid a short visit.

When the Kestrel left a Green Sandpiper also paid a short visit but it soon left because it could find no mud to feed on (the pool is now full).

Shortly after I had the first of a couple of personal calamities.The first was when a dollop of salad cream from a roll I was eating landed on my bins.What a burk !!!! As I was cleaning them and making a right mess a KF landed right in front of me on the perching pole.Of course it flew off before I could ready the camera.Bugger Bugger !!!!

Feeling grumpy I left the hide and headed to the cafe for a cup of tea little knowing I was heading for personal calamity number two.When I tried to fill my cup no tea was coming out of the pot so I tipped the pot up higher and an air lock or something must have been freed because the tea pored out like a dam had burst.It went all over the table and my bins were hit again.What a burk!!!!!! When I cleaned everything up all I salvaged was a half cup of tea.Bugger Bugger !!!!!!

A bit sheepishly I left the cafe and went round to the back gate to try for some Siskins and Redpolls because so far this winter I have not managed any decent shots of these chaps but I couldn't find any.I did get some shots of a few Redwings that were on the berry trees there.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A visit to Marsh Lane.

I thought I'd better make another visit to Marsh Lane on Tuesday morning because I've hardly taken a shot down there in the last couple of months mainly because I seem to have missed anything decent that's been down there.I thought if I don't get some shots soon I may be in trouble with Nic Barlow when he writes this quarter's report.

It was very cold when I got there and my mood did not improve when a trio of regulars down there told me that there was not much about.After a quick walk round having found nothing to point the camera at I decided to give the Old Road a go.The Old Road was very good last year so fingers crossed.

I had a bit of luck straight away because I spotted this Common Buzzard (juvenile ?) on a distant post in the field opposite the gate.

I soon found some Redwings but I'm blowed if I could get close enough for a decent shot.

I had much better luck a little later when a lone Fieldfare landed in a nearby berry tree.

There were quite a few Yellowhammers in the trees but with the light fading and my slowness in getting onto them all I could get was this crappograph.