Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Spotted Flycatchers again.

Since my last post I've been to Marsh Lane twice and to Brandon Marsh once and did not see any decent birds at either place and therefore no pics to post.

Actually at Marsh Lane on Sunday I did take a shot from the car park and although it was a crappograph I did keep it because it was of a Red Kite and was only the second one I'd ever seen at a local patch.Not up to the standards of the shots from Watlington so don't laugh !!!

The visit to Brandon Marsh was last Friday and was my first late one hoping to see the Barn Owl.However by 8.00PM having been there for 4 hours I'd had enough so I gave up not seeing a Barn Owl or anything else as it happens.

So on Tuesday morning having taken no pics for ages I went down to my favourite churchyard looking again for one of my favourite birds Spotted Flycatchers.Got there just before 10.00AM and had the place to myself except for a couple of builders working on the new toilets.In fact the only other people I saw all morning were Mark and his sister who had come down for a look at the SF's.

Within a few minutes I found the pair of SF's as they zoomed round the churchyard and tried for some shots whenever they settled in the trees.Unfortunately for me they seemed to prefer to land in the gloomiest of trees so I had to wind up the ISO.

Later in the morning in order to try and get some shots of them in the open I plonked myself down amongst the gravestones hoping one might land not too far away playing the patience game which I'm not too good at.I did have some luck.

What cracking little birds.A great morning.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Spotted Flycatchers.

When I am asked what my favourite birds are I say Hobbies,Barn Owls and after this winter SE Owls and Spotted Flycatchers.Why Spotted Flycatchers because they are not very attractive? For me they do have some magic and are great to watch in action.

As a few of my friends much more adventurous than me have very recently got shots fairly locally of Bluethroats,Cream Coloured Coursers and Nightjars, I thought I'd better do something however tame in comparison so I set off this morning to Napton churchyard hoping some Spotted Flycatchers had turned up again there this year.

Things got off to a bad start and then quickly got worse.As I drove up to the car park I could see some construction work was being done to the right side of the church and then as I got out of the car the lawnmower man arrived and started to mow the grass between the graves.Very noisily as well.

After an hour keeping away from the mower I'd had no luck at all.Then I noticed a SF high up at the top of a conifer.Great at least there is one there but the little devil would not come down at all.Here is my best shot.

I then waited for the mower man to go and quite soon my little friend popped briefly onto the church roof and I was able to get some better shots before it disappeared.

After a bite of lunch I had another go and being patient (hard for me to do) I was rewarded with some closer views.There were two of them showing now.

A funeral then turned up and I had keep out of the way.I was sheltering under one of the large trees when blow me down one of the SF's landed on the tree trunk.I managed a few shots not realising how dark it was under there so most of my shots were blurred but I fluked this shot which was taken hand held at a very low speed (1/90).Could be my best shot ever of a SF.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Blimey the sun is shining and it's warm.

On Monday I was very pleased to see that the sun was shining and it was very warm so just after lunch I went over to Marsh Lane hoping that the warm weather would bring out some raptors.

Although it was very pleasant walking round there was very little about and I didn't see one raptor.The only time I used the camera was when a Common Whitethoat came close to the river hide.

After some early morning shopping on Tuesday morning I went over to Brandon Marsh.Again it was sunny and very warm but that was were the good news ended because it was a very poor day for birding with nothing about of note.Everyone I spoke to had seen nothing and we all missed the Wood Sandpiper that had left overnight.

The only time I used the camera was in the Carlton hide when while we were all scanning round for birds an Otter swam across the water from the right to disappear in the channel to the left of the hide.We all missed it till it was nearly out of site.I say Otter as most thought that's what it was but someone thought it could have been a Mink.All I've got is this crappograph.

I was too hot at lunchtime so I left and decided to call in at Berkswell churchyard on my way home to see if any Spotted Flycatchers had turned up yet.

Didn't see any Flycatchers but it wasn't a wasted visit as I got some decent shots of a Green Woodpecker a bird I struggle with to get shots of as they always see me and fly off to the next county.

There were quite a few juveniles enjoying the sun including some very cute LT Tits (blowed if I get get a decent shot) , a Song Thrush and a Blackbird both sunning themselves on a stone wall.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A better day out with the camera.

On Friday at Brandon Marsh I had a better day out with the camera which was much needed as a couple of visits to Marsh Lane and an earlier visit to Brandon Marsh had been very disappointing this week with not a single shot taken that was worth keeping.

Got to Brandon at 8.30AM to find it bright,not too cold but a strong breeze blowing.Things did not start well because by the time I got to the new screen having visited all the hides I had not used the camera once.Everywhere was very quiet so to prevent the camera seizing up I had yet another go at taking shots of Swifts.

On the way back down the main path I called in again at EM hide.This time I found the pair of Red-crested Pochards but they couldn't be further away if they tried because they were in the inlet right in front of the Sand Martin nests.I trundled over to the Wright hide hoping I could get a better view from there but when I opened the flap and scanned in that direction I couldn't see them.Still swearing (the hide was empty) I then looked out in front of me and what was there no more than 20m away : The pair of Pochards.!!!

The only other shots I took that were worth keeping were a few Warbler shots.I think the strong breeze was keeping everything down.

The pretty waitress looked so good that having had a cup of tea lunchtime I couldn't resist going back later for a cup of coffee.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Swifts and Buzzards.

Two of my friends have recently got excellent shots of Swifts but my efforts have been poor at best so Sunday morning at Marsh Lane I thought I'd have a go at matching their efforts.

There were about 20 Swifts zooming all over the place and conditions were good with the sun shining but my god they were just too quick for me especially when they came into range.If anyone is interested I have for sale a large collection of blank sky shots and an even bigger collection of blurred grey blob shots.Here is my best shot to date but no where near the quality of my two friend's shots.I have not given up yet.

A group of 4 Common Buzzards appeared briefly high over the river hide and I managed a few shots.None of them up to much but a couple of the shots include the "White Ghost" a very pale Buzzard which I thought was an Osprey when I first saw it last year.

Whilst I was spending all my time chasing the Swifts there was a Med. Gull on the railway pool which of course I missed.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

An early morning visit to Brandon Marsh.

The sun was out so I grabbed the camera and raced over to Brandon Marsh getting there just after 8.00AM.I decided to have a go at getting some Warbler shots on the east side of the reserve so off I set past the wind pump.

Not a Warbler but the first bird I came across was a Mistle Thrush on the grass.A bit distant but worth a shot as it was the first I'd seen for a while.

There were a few Garden Warblers singing near the sheep field area but there were many birds singing out so I'm not sure this is a shot of one or not.

Pleased to get shots of a Male and Female Blackcap particularly the shot of the Female as I don't see many of these.

I know it's about time I got a decent shot this spring of a Common Whitethroat but I did OK this morning.You couldn't fail really.

From the screen past the Carlton hide a Hobby showed up briefly but remained way off in the distance.Got some better shots than earlier in the week but still pretty grim.

Back home mid afternoon as I slumped into a sun lounger with a much needed coffee this little chap landed on the fence close by.I'm fairly sure it's a Coal Tit because I could hear it's parents calling out.

Friday, 11 May 2012

A quick visit to Marsh Lane.

Thinking that the weather would brighten up after lunch on Thursday I popped over to Marsh Lane for a quick look.It didn't brighten up in fact it got worse with a strong wind blowing and a very overcast sky.Well done Max!!!

Inspired by Dave Hutton's excellent shots earlier in the week I had a go at getting some shots of the Swifts that were whizzing around the car park pool.It was too gloomy for any decent shots.You do need some sunshine otherwise you end up with a collection of silhouettes.These are my least bad efforts.

I just got to the Oak hide before the first of several squally showers arrived.Wonderful!!!! There were 2 Yellow Wagtails on one of the islands too far off for a shot but they seemed to be gathering nesting material.

There were a couple of decent waders on the islands.The first was a Dunlin which did not seem to be bothered by the heavy showers but did fly around a lot.

The other wader was a Common Sandpiper that showed briefly before moving off.