Monday, 30 April 2012

A short visit to Brandon Marsh.

As soon as I recovered from the shock of seeing the sun was out this morning I headed off to Brandon Marsh.On the journey there I noticed a few flooded fields and several trees that had been downed by the strong winds.

Got to Brandon just after 9.00AM to find it bright but quite windy.Chatting to a birder I knew in the car park he told me that the path to the EM hide and beyond was very flooded and impassible unless wearing big wellies.My wellies are small.Damn and blast !!!!

I headed past the wind pump and walked that path round to the the golf course to see if any Warblers were about.There were plenty of Willow Warblers,Ciffchaffs and Blackcaps singing away.There were also some Common Whitethroats who were very flighty but I did manage a few so so shots.

Best of all was a Lesser Whitethroat that was singing out in the trees the other side of the path from the sheep field.I spent nearly an hour trying to get a shot but although I had some very good views it was too flighty for me.

Had another go at getting a Cetti's shot but failed hopelessly.By this time it was late morning I was knackered and my back was beginning to ache so in wimp mode I headed home leaving a few friends setting off to try and get round to the Carlton hide and see the Nightingale.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Out in the rain.

I am a fair weather birder and very rarely go out if the weather is not so good but yesterday in foul weather loads of decent birds were seen locally so this morning I thought I'd better get out there and see some myself.

I arrived at Marsh Lane at 9.00AM in very gloomy weather.I stayed for a couple of hours and although I was in the hides when a few very heavy showers fell I saw no Black/Arctic/Little Terns or any Little Gulls that were about locally yesterday.I think I will stick to fair weather birding!!!

Keen to use the camera I was pleased to see again the Willow Warbler just past the causeway screens.

In the Oak hide as nothing else was around I had a go at getting some Common Tern flight shots in the gloom.

Back in the car park hide I was pleased to see a few Swifts for the first time this year and stupidly tried to get some shots as they whizzed around in the rain.

Just before I left I spotted this Oystercatcher taking an early lunch.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Out early again.

Went out early again this morning hoping to do a bit of birding before the rains arrived.This was a pretty brave thing to do as my back is still playing up so gritting my teeth I headed off to Marsh Lane.

Nothing much from the car park hide except for a Little Ringed Plover that was whizzing around.I took this as a challenge and tried for some flight shots.

Just past the causeway screens I met up with two old friends.The first was my old mate the Willow Warbler who sung out from it's usual bushes near the stream.

The next old friend I came across was the Song Thrush who was giving another concert high up a tree on the stream line.

From the Oak hide I managed my first shot of the year of a Ringed Plover.

There were 2 Reed Warblers and a lone Sedge Warbler singing in the reeds of the reedbed pool.I managed some pretty poor first shots of the year of one of the Reed Warblers.Pity about the reeds.

From the causeway screen I managed a shot of a Little Grebe having a late breakfast.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Marsh Lane again.

Early on Saturday morning in an attempt to beat the forecast heavy rain I shot over to Marsh Lane again.It was pretty cold as I walked to the car park hide and it was no surprise when I was told the gate padlocks had been frozen up earlier on.

I had not spotted anything decent from the car park hide when suddenly something flew in from the south.At long last I've learned to take shots before you try to ID something as it maybe your only chance.If it turns out to be a Crow you can always delete your shots however in this case I got some decent flight shots of a Curlew which I was pleased with because it was a fair distance away and it was a bit gloomy.

The Little Egret was on the railway pool again but way off in the middle of the pool.There were at least 8 Common Terns which are always nice to see but I did feel sorry for this one whose pre mating gift was rejected.

The crop field is proving very fruitful but it is very hard to spot anything unless you've got a powerful scope.There were several Yellowhammers,a couple of Skylarks,a few Linnets on show when I was there and best of all another Wheatear which makes three I,ve seen there recently.Far too distant and gloomy for decent shots but nice to see.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Marsh Lane.

Having been forced to stay indoors for a few days due to a bad back (that is getting much better now) and the very poor weather we've had lately as soon as I saw that this morning was bright and dry I downed a load of Ibroprufen and shot over to Marsh Lane.

I found out when I arrived in the car park that the Little Egret seen earlier had flown.Not too disheartened I headed to the Oak hide remembering not to do any birding along the path to the hide because you have to make sure you do not tread on any of the cow pats that are all along the path.In fact this morning the cows were laying new ones both in front and behind me.

I was pleased to see a couple of Common Sandpipers from the Oak hide and a Common Redshank came in close to the hide.There were at least 6 Common Terns,2 LRP's and a lone RP on the islands.

Walking back from the Railway hide I spotted the Little Egret had returned but it was way over by the River hide so racing (well all right walking quickly in my case) over there nimbly avoiding the cow pats I managed a few shots from the hide.I struggle with these chaps getting decent shots as it easy to blow out the whites.

On the way back I was very pleased to find a Willow Warbler in the bushes on the left just past the stream line before you get to the causeway screens.Got some of the best shots of one I've taken at Marsh Lane.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Brandon Marsh.

Early on Saturday morning I decided to go over to Brandon Marsh as I hadn't been there for a couple of weeks.

When I got there I decided to give the hides a miss and spend the morning chasing Warbler shots in the area from the wind pump round to the golf course.I was after Willow Warblers (not seen one yet this year) , Blackcaps (not to fussed here as I'd had them in the garden this winter and already got some decent shots) , Common Whitethroats (not seen one this year) and of course my old sparring partners Cetti's Warblers ( easy to hear,hard to see and almost impossible to get shots of).

No trouble at all with getting some shots of Willow Warblers there were plenty about.

Had trouble with the Blackcap shots.There were two in New Hare Covert singing away but much too gloomy for me to get any shots.Nice to see and hear though.

Along the path by the golf course I met some of the BM regulars who were chasing up a report that the first Common Whitethroat of the year had been seen in that spot.I think this is a pretty poor shot of it but I'm not certain.I certainly heard one singing nearby.

I then spent an enjoyable hour chasing up a Cetti's Warbler that kept calling out in the area near the bench.Everyone knows that to get a shot of a Cetti's you learn it's territory (which I did),you find a decent spot to settle down and wait (which I didn't) and you never race off to were it last called (which I did) so it's no wonder the only chance of a shot was when one landed in a gloomy bramble.I messed things up because my camera would not autofocus in the gloom and my manual focussing effort was poor.This is all I got.

As a bonus I got a shot of a couple of two cracking looking birds.

I don't know whether it was because I had walked round for four hours with my camera and bins round my neck or because I had called in to see a friend on my way home and I had stood in his garden for ages chatting in the afternoon sun to him and his daughter ( who is a stunner and looks like a young Sienna Miller) but when I got home and got out the car a stabbing pain  racked through my back.I have stumbled round like a freak ever since and am worried sick how I'm going to get out of the chair I'm sitting in now with out a hoist.

The way I'm going it looks a good bet I'm going to break my own world record for Ibroprufen taking.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Common Redstart at Marsh Lane.

As it was a very bright this morning in Knowle I popped across to Marsh Lane but by the time I'd completed the short journey a damp mist had descended and it had become very gloomy.Goodbye to any decent shots!!!

Here are few shots I took the day before.Included is a shot of a LR Plover and a poor shot of a Common Tern but it was the first of the year for me.

Back to the this morning.I'd had a good look round and had not used the camera once.However when I joined John and Tony for a final look round the crop field they said they had seen a Common Redstart on the far side of the crop field but it had disappeared.A few minutes later it showed again but even further away.I managed a couple of crappographs before it disappeared again.This is only the second time I'd seen one at Marsh Lane so I was quite pleased.

Here are the best of some awful shots I took this morning together with a better one I took ages ago elsewhere so you can see what they look like.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My pics shown at the RSPB meeting.

On an earlier blog I said some of my pics were to be shown at the AGM of the local RSPB group so on Tuesday evening I turned up at a hall in Solihull where the meeting was to be held.Not for the AGM of course but for the "Members Photographs" session to be shown after.

Instead of a dozen or so members I expected to be attending the hall was nearly full when I entered with over 100 in attendance.This made me a bit nervy and when I saw that the screen on which the pics were to be shown was about 8ft X 8ft I thought my small pics when blown up would not look sharp.

The first session was taken by a member who showed shots taken at various RSPB reserves and from a couple of off coast islands.There were some very good shots and it was very interesting.

It was my turn next.I had been shrewd and labelled all my pics so I did not need to talk and in any case the member operating the kit talked about each bird giving more info than I could have done.I need not have worried about the pics not being sharp because the kit being used (a laptop and a digital projector) was very impressive and the pics showed well.

After a break for tea the next session was started and what an impressive session it was.It was given by a birder who "Spends 6 months a year abroad taking wildlife shots" which is a bit different from yours truly who thinks it's a major journey going to Draycote Water.He showed some great shots taken all over the world.Very impressive.

I might as well show a few more of my shots that were shown at the meeting.Any excuse eh !!! The label has gone missing on the Bearded Tit shot it was taken at Cley Sept. 2008.The BT Diver was not taken at Draycote but at Sushtoke Res.