Friday, 28 September 2012

A couple of local trips.

Last Saturday afternoon I paid a visit to Marsh Lane mainly to enjoy the excellent weather but also to hopefully see some decent birds.

There were loads of dragonflies about but my hopes of seeing a late Hobby failed.In fact the only shots I took were of the controversial Yellow-legged Gull that's been there for a few days now and a lone distant Dunlin. Both on the railway pool.

Over the weekend I set up a winter bird feeding station and as I'm hopeless at DIY this was a major undertaking for me.It soon had some success with the usual garden birds visiting.The star visitor was a Coal Tit and a Greenfinch which were once common in my garden but now very rare.

On Thursday morning keen to enjoy the fine weather I went to Brandon Marsh.This is not a good move on a Thursday because it's working party day and so it proved because I had a very lean time with the camera and only got some shots of an Egyptian Goose.As often the case at Brandon Marsh lately the highlight of the visit was having a chat to the very pretty waitress in the cafe.

As I was leaving my good friend Jeff Rankin tipped me off that there were a pair of Orinoco Geese were at Brueton Park in Solihull.As this was not far from where I live and the fact I'd never heard of them before let alone seeing one I thought I'd call in there and try my luck.

I soon found them with a group of Canada Geese.They are from South America so I don't know whether they will survive unless recaptured.Very nice looking Geese.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Coming down to earth.

After last weeks great excitement watching the Osprey performing at the boating lake at Upton warren things on the birding front went down the pan a touch this week.

On Saturday I spent a very poor morning down at Brandon Marsh.Despite walking round everywhere I saw practically nothing on the birding front and what's more I met only one other birder all morning.The camera was not called on once.

Yesterday I decided to pay a visit to Draycote Water mainly because I didn't fancy any other local patches and because I hadn't been there for several months.

I parked in the new car park not long after 10.00AM and climbed up the bank to walk down to Toft.I was soon reminded of what I had been missing at Draycote because when I got to the main path I was greeted by a strong chilly breeze that blew my hat off back down the bank.

As I walked down the Farborough bank things did not improve because there were very few birds on the water and nothing at all on the grassy banks.The only highlights were meeting up with first Francoise who looked as attractive as ever (did I say that correctly Francoise ?) and secondly with Richard who is always very helpful.They both told me the best place to see the BN Grebe that was still in Toft.

I had lunch in the hide and I was dismayed to see that the once muddy bay in front of the hide was now completely overgrown and pretty useless for bird watching.On the way back I eventually found the BNG and managed a few shots (it seems to favour the bay to the left of the hide and is best seen from the grassy bank).

Friday, 14 September 2012

Upton Warren yet again.

As soon as I saw it was going to be a nice day on Thursday I decided to go over to Upton Warren again to see if the Osprey was still there.If it was that would make it being present for two weeks.Quite a record.

Drove into the sailing club car park at just before 8.30AM and was surprised to see only one car there and no birders.Oh Dear had it gone? I walked down to the viewing point on the south west side of the lake and found no one there.I had the place to myself which was another surprise because it was cracking very still morning with the sun shining and the lake like glass.

I was lucky because the Osprey turned up quite soon and I was treated to a magnificent display for a few minutes before it caught a fish and flew off.What a stunning bird.

I then had a walk down to the flashes and watched the Osprey eating it's breakfast on a post.I stayed for a while before going back to the lake to wait for it to start fishing again.It turned up at 10.30AM again and put on another superb display.What a site it is especially when it gets close.I managed a few shots of it just after it caught a fish.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Another trip to Upton Warren.

On Monday morning I was suffering from post Norfolk blues so I thought I'd better get out there with the camera and as the Upton Warren Osprey was the only show in town I headed off there.

I began to think it was not going to be my day when on the M42 I saw the signs "Big delays on M5".There had been a big smash not far from my exit J5 so I thought no problem I will use the A38 but of course that was now jammed up as well.It took me ages to get to the sailing lake.

I then found out I'd forgotten my birding hat.How can you go birding without a hat!!! The overcast but dry forecast proved wrong when it started to rain as I got to the Osprey viewing spot on the south bank of the lake.I then waited 90 minutes for the Osprey to come back from the flashes and what did it do.It caught a fish straight away on the far side of the lake and headed back to the flashes.Things were not going well!!!

As it was now raining again (no hat) I decided to go to the flashes and get some albeit distant shots of the Osprey perched on one of the posts but when I walked into the hide it was full of a party that had come from Bristol.My god they were noisy and of course had filled all the places where the windows open.Oh Dear!!!

Then my luck changed.I got a space by a window and the weather brightened up.The Osprey was still on a distant post.

I was very lucky again when I was focussed on the Osprey when it took flight and I was able to get some shots as it headed back to the sailing lake.I am very pleased with these shots as they were taken at distance a bit far really for my 400 lens.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Norfolk - Day 4

Checked out the hotel on Saturday morning and headed home but not before having a few hours at Titchwell.

As I started to walk down the main path at just before 9.00AM I realised that for the first time this trip there was no wind blowing.So with a calm sunny morning there must be a chance of some Bearded Tit shots.I hadn't even heard one let alone seen one this trip so it was fingers crossed.

I needn't have worried because about 100m before the path to the Island hide in the reeds near the path I soon saw some flitting about.There was just me and another photographer enjoying a good show for 20 minutes before they flitted off.Here are a selection of some of the shots I managed.

Whilst we were enjoying the Bearded Tits a Bittern burst out of the reeds 20m further back down the path and flew eastwards.Shocked I only managed a distant shot.

Things went downhill from then on.There was nothing showing from the Island and Parrinder hides and even the beach was very quiet.I did go on a long walk down the beach to try and get some shots of a pair of Eider Ducks but the miserable so and so's were asleep and would not wake up.

As I walked back to the viewing platform along the beach I did have an amusing incident.A guy was walking a dog on a leash and as we got closer I was struggling to recognise the dog and no wonder.It was a rabbit!!! Can you believe that a man walking a rabbit on the beach.

A nice few days in Norfolk.Very nice weather but no great shots and no rarities.I didn't even see a Marsh Harrier let alone get any shots.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Norfolk -Day 3

On Friday morning having had a disappointing day around Cley yesterday I decided to head west and go to Titchwell.

Got to the Island hide just after 9.00AM to find a few waders feeding in the mud including Dunlins,Godwits,Ruff and Common Snipe.I think the Godwit shot below shows it having a broken bill.

I then went to the Parrinder hide and although it was now 10.00AM all of the rooms were empty.I had the place to myself.I stayed for over an hour and did not see a wader any where near the hide so no shots.I had to amuse myself with a few shots of some Linnets and Meadow Pipits.

Some Bar-tailed Godwits got spooked and flew around for a while.

I then headed to the beach and joined the seawatchers for a while.I always wonder if they really id these distant grey blobs correctly.You hear "Female Pomeranian Skua heading west by the wind farm" and all you can see is a tiny dot in the sky.I am tempted one day to call out " Second Summer male Fea's Petrel flying south just outside Rotterdam's harbour wall"

A walk on the beach was rewarding as I found a few Sanderlings.

I also found a lone Turnstone on the water's edge.