Saturday, 30 June 2012

Staying local.

I had not been out with the camera for a few days due to the lousy weather so on Saturday morning I was determined to go out but decided to stay local as yet again rain had been forecast.

Went to Knowle churchyard after breakfast to see if the Goldcrests were still showing but after an hour's search I couldn't see or hear  them.In fact birdwise it was very poor and all I got was shots of young Blue  and Coal Tits and these were at distance.Should have stayed in.

After lunch I had another go and went over to Berkswell churchyard to see if any Spotted Flycatchers had visited this year.I met up with a birder there who told me he had definitely seen one back in May and possibly seen one half an hour ago.

Right at the back of the churchyard I spotted a Green Woodpecker and managed a couple of shots.This is a good place for Green Woodpeckers.

Just as I had decided to give up this chap landed on a distant gravestone.

The good news was that there were two Spotted Flycatchers.One was on a gravestone and the other was in a nearby tree.The bad news was they soon flew off and did not return while I was there so I don't know if they were passing through or are resident.I will try again when it's less windy.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Back to visiting a churchyard.

Having had a couple of disappointing visits to local patches in the last few days on Monday morning I decided to play it safe and go over to my favourite churchyard in Napton where I knew I could well get some shots of a decent bird.

All right there is usually only one decent bird there to get shots of but what a bird !!!! Spotted Flycatchers for me are right up there with Hobbies,Barn Owls and Waxwings as my favourite birds.

Got there just before 10.00AM and had the place to myself.What I also like about visiting this place is that all you need to do is park up,walk about 10 metres,sit down on your stool and wait for the SF's to turn up.No long treks through mud!!!!

I was lucky and my little friends soon turned up and put on a very good display.I don't know if they are used to me but several times they flew within a few feet of me chasing flies.Magic!!!!

Here are a few shots taken when they landed on the gravestones.

I was less successful taking shots of them with flies.

I struggled badly trying for flight shots.They were simply too fast.Here is my only shot that was worth keeping.

I managed a few shots of the pair together but only one was good enough to keep.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A visit to Brandon Marsh.

We are definitely in the summer birding doldrums now and there is very little around locally at the moment.So on Saturday morning when I got to Brandon Marsh for my first visit for ages I was not at all confident of finding anything decent.

It was quite windy and much duller than the weather man promised me as I visited each of the hides.It was no surprise that there was nothing to be seen and all the birders I met up with also had not had any luck.The only fun I had was trying to get shots of some Reed Warblers that were flitting around in a reed bed.This was not easy as they kept low down in the reeds most of the time.Managed a few decent shots in the gloomy conditions.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Some Sedgie shots at last.

Wednesday lunchtime I popped down to Marsh Lane.I went for two reasons the first I thought it would be wise to break the sequence of churchyard visits and the second I was keen to test out the fine tuning I'd done on the camera hoping it would improve on the poor pics than I managed at Napton on Tuesday with the Spotted Flycatchers.

I soon tested the camera on a Song Thrush that was giving a concert just off the main path.Quite pleased with the shots especially as it was a fair distance away.

The railway pool was pretty quiet and there was a lot of pond weed (?) on the water.I did have some luck from the Oak hide however because a couple of Sedge Warblers showed well in the marsh.Very pleased to get some shots because these were the first Sedgie shots I've managed this year.I was also pleased because the fine tuning I'd done on the camera improved the quality of the shots.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Another visit to a churchyard.

I'm getting worried I might be changing into a ghoul because the only place I seem to go lately for my birding are churchyards and yesterday after receiving a text from a couple of friends saying they were going to have another go at the Spotted Flycatchers at Napton I found myself once more heading off to a churchyard.

Got there just after 10.00AM and joined my friends in the churchyard.It was very pleasant sitting with two friends on a lovely morning chatting away and waiting for the SF's to show up and get close enough for shots.And show up they did.For most of the rest of the morning two of these little beauties made visits to the nearby trees and gravestones catching anything that came close.Magic.

So I got loads of great shots then ? As it happens no I didn't.I don't know why because the conditions were great but I messed up most of my shots many of them were overexposed or out of focus.It was either the camera was playing up or the photographer was.Probably the latter.Very disappointing.

I did manage a couple of ok shots of the pair on a gravestone.

The only other shots that were worth keeping were these two.

I am now going to check the camera settings because I don't want another bad day especially when the conditions are fine.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Goldcrests again.

On Wednesday morning needing cheering up after sitting in a doctor's waiting room and finally seeing the doctor I nipped down the road to the churchyard in Knowle once again to see if the Goldcrests I found there last week were still about.

I would have liked to go somewhere else for a change but my Birdguides bird text alert set for Warwickshire and the West Midlands has not sent me any alerts for many days now.We are now in the Summer bird doldrums.

It took me a while to find them and then ages to get some shots because this time they were feeding high up in the trees and didn't want to come down for some shots.This was a shame because for a change the conditions were bright and if they had come close I might have got some decent shots. Didn't do too bad considering how high they were.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Back to my favourite churchyard.

On Tuesday morning I hadn't planned to go out with the camera as it was so gloomy but a friend said they were going to Napton for to try for some Spotted Flycatcher shots I thought sod it I'll go mainly because the bad weather had kept me in for days and I could do with some fresh air.

Got there just before 11.00 AM to find that the weather was as forecast "Overcast" but the weather man did not mention how cold it was going to be.It was bitter cold and here we are only a few days away from mid Summer.Where are all the global warming men now !!!!

The good news was that the two SF's were still about but the bad news was that unlike my last visit they were keeping well hidden  and were very difficult to get a shot of.After an hour all I'd managed was a couple of distant shots when one perched high up.

The only bit of luck I had was when one landed just above me in the tree I was standing under.Managed a few shots but it was so gloomy under the tree I got many blurred shots.

No really good shots but it was nice to get out but it would have been much nicer if there had been some summer weather about.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


I had a bit of luck Wednesday morning as I did some early shopping in Knowle.Whilst waiting for the bakers to open I had a quick walk round the churchyard mainly to see if any Spotted Flycatchers had turned up again this year.If they had I didn't see them but I did see a lone Goldcrest hopping around in a conifer tree.Of course I didn't have the camera to hand.

Half an hour later I was back in the same spot this time with the camera.Usually when I do this the bird in question has disappeared but today not only was it in the same tree but it had a mate with it.Excellent!!!!

These chaps always give me a problem when trying to get some decent shots.They are very small,they hop around constantly and are often in the gloom of a tree.

Not till I saw one the other day on Springwatch did I know that the male raised it's crest.I'd never seen one do this.Well not till today.Wonderful site.

I also spotted some juveniles higher up the same tree which I'm pretty certain were Goldcrests.I saw three but there could have been more.

Both the parents were busy gathering nesting material.I suppose they were either repairing their old nest or were building a new one for another family ??