Friday, 30 November 2012

A frustrating morning at Shustoke.

On Friday morning I decided to go over to Shustoke reservoir because surely the Great Northern Divers and the Scoter would be closer in so I could get some decent shots.

What an idiot I am !!!!! If anything for all the time I was there they were even further away than they were on Thursday and to make matters worse it was a very gloomy morning and bloody cold as well.

Yet again I made the error of thinking they were closer to the far shore and going over there only to find that they were just as far away.Will I never learn? All I got for my efforts is wet socks.

These are the best shots I took all morning so you can see how bad the others were.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Brandon marsh and Shustoke Reservoir.

On Wednesday morning I braved the weather and went over to Brandon Marsh getting there just after 10.00AM. It was a bit gloomy and very cold but most of the pathways were passable.

I went round most of the reserve but didn't do any good with the camera.Most disappointing was that Sunday's Waxwings had not stayed even though there are loads of berries still on the trees.Best part of the day was having a chat in the cafe with the pretty waitress.Here are the only shots I managed all morning.

I had not planned to go out on Thursday morning but when my friend Kath texted me that there were 2 Great Northern Divers at Shustoke reservoir I found myself driving into the carpark at 10.30AM.

They were soon located but at the north eastern end of the lake so off we set to get closer.However as so often happens when we got there they had moved over to the southern side nearer the sailing club and then into the middle of the lake.Damn and blast !!!! Lots of walking and unable to get anywhere near them.All I got was some long distant shots.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


Just after breakfast this morning I was looking gloomily at the weather outside when a text from Keith Yates told me "4 Waxwings on the guilder roses at Brandon Marsh".All thoughts of staying in vanished and off I set for Brandon Marsh at 8.30AM.

As expected on the journey there were floods both on the road and in the adjacent fields but nothing prepared me for the lake I met when I turned off the A45 onto Brandon Lane.I dithered for ages whether to risk going through it but the chance of seeing some Waxwings won through and I very slowly drove across the flood.

It wasn't till I left the car park that I realised I didn't know where the guilder roses where but I was lucky because as I reached the end of the concrete path from the centre I spotted one of the Waxwings and then the 3 others all feeding on the berry trees there.

The surprise was that there was no one else there.I put the news out on Birdguides and texted a couple of friend but I had them to myself for well over half an hour.What magical birds they are!!!!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Struggling to find any decent birds.

Since my last posting I have been out and about locally with the camera but I have struggled to find any decent birds to point the camera at.The wet weather hasn't helped with a few places now flooded out.

I've been to Marsh Lane once but the rain drove me back home quickly and to Brandon Marsh twice but on each occasion it was so gloomy it was hard to see anything at all so I didn't stay long.More disappointingly the three local trips I've made round the berry trees have resulted in total failure and although it was a long shot finding a Waxwing I did expect to find some Redwings and Fieldfares which were all over the place last year but nothing.

The only shots I've taken were of a Jay at Brandon and a Common Buzzard in the Knowle countryside and even it was miles away.Let's hope things pick up.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A decent morning at Brandon Marsh.

Before I get onto this morning trip to Brandon Marsh I would like to post a shot of a Jay that visited my neighbour's garden yesterday.Not a great shot but it's the first I've seen in my garden and as such I was pleased to get this shot.

I got to Brandon Marsh this morning at just after 10.00AM to find it cloudy but quite warm and not windy.A visit to the Steetly hide was a waste of time as it was very quiet there so I was not too confident as I set down in the Baldwin hide half an hour later but as it turned out it was pretty good in there.

A flock of at least 40 Golden Plovers turned up and whizzed around for a minute or two but didn't land but I did get a rather gloomy shot of them.

Best of all the female Smew which we had been told had settled down on the River Pool suddenly appeared fairly close to the hide.

Even better she paid a short visit to the little island near the hide.

A little later as I was walking to the EM hide I was turned green with jealousy when Keith Yates and Martin Durkin showed me their shots of a lone Waxwing that they had just got along the path to the Carlton hide.I of course didn't see any sign of it when I went down there.

If that was bad news I received what can only be described as devastating news when I started to chat to the very pretty waitress in the cafe.When she let it slip she might leave I burst into tears and dropped onto my knees pleading with her to stay.This of course had no effect.It will not be the same having a cuppa in the cafe!!!!!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Been out but seen very little.

Since my last post I have been out and about locally but have seen very little to point the camera at.

I've been to Marsh Lane twice,Brandon Marsh once and Shustoke Reservoir once. I've also toured the local berry trees for Redwings,Fieldfares and most of all Waxwings but have not seen any. I'm having a bad run with the camera.I can only pray it ends soon.

Got the Kestrel at Shustoke Reservoir in gloomy weather when I'd really gone for the Slavonian Grebe which had apparently left the day before.Took the Wigeon shot at a very cold Marsh lane on Sunday morning.The Wren was also taken from the Oak hide which while I was freezing looked untroubled by the frosty conditions.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Off to Brandon Marsh.

After doing some early morning chores on Monday morning I shot over to Brandon Marsh hoping that the female Smew reported there on Sunday would still be there.

Parked up not long after 9.30 AM in cold but sunny weather.I  raced off to the East Marsh hide with fingers crossed but my hopes were dashed when two birders I met on the main path told me it had flown south just before 8.00 AM and had not been seen since.

Half an hour later sitting with two friends in the East Marsh hide and not seeing any decent birds and just as we were discussing how to get rid of the weed that is choking up the Carlton hide pond something popped up near the hide and quickly dived under again.The conversation went : "What the hell was that ?"  "A Little Grebe ? " No too big "  " A female Goldeneye ?"  "No way" .The bird then popped up again and in unison we shouted out  "Blimey it's the Smew".

It had returned.What a cracking looking duck.Got some decent shots before it cruised off.

It was a very good fisher catching several decent sized Perch (?).

There was a nice looking Grey Wagtail on the centre roof.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

No luck with two local trips.

Thought I was on a banker Friday morning when I headed to Shustoke Res. to see the Slavonian Grebe that lots of friends had got great shots of earlier in the week.Unfortunately after a walk round the reservoir twice it was reported as "Elusive".This really means it might be still there but no one has seen it for ages.

I wasn't too worried as I'd been lucky enough to see the one in a fishing pond at Grimley a year or two ago.

The visit was not all a waste of time because I learned yet another skill : how to drop your camera without realising it.I use a sling strap over one shoulder to carry my camera and telephoto lens which is very comfortable but when I was walking along the far side of the reservoir and looked down the camera had disappeared and all I was carrying was the lens. Bloody Hell !!!!!!!! Luckily I found it about 20m back on the grass right side up.What a berk !!!!

After the rain had stopped on Saturday morning I drove over to Brandon Marsh my plan being to head over to the west of the reserve to get some shots of the Redwings and Fieldfares that had been seen feeding on the berries there earlier in the week.After over an hour searching the berry trees I never saw one.In fact it was very quiet there and all I saw was a Kestrel which didn't play ball because it kept flying into the sun.

Two hours later having visited all the hides and not seen anything at all except for another Kestrel I headed home.The cafe was too crowded to get a cup of tea so I didn't see the pretty waitress.Poor day!!!