Friday, 29 March 2013

Out in the cold again.

The forecast on Thursday was for a sunny but cold day so I grabbed the camera and once again went over to Marsh lane my closest local patch.Yet again the forecast was wrong it was cold all right but it was gloomy and the sun was nowhere to be seen.

It was well wrapped up against the bitter cold but as on my last visit my thermals were penetrated very quickly.At this time of year I would normally not be wearing thermals they would have been packed up and deposited in the family bank vault for safe keeping.

I didn't find anything to point the camera at and I was just getting depressed when my very good friend Jack yet again came to my rescue and showed very well near the hide in the marsh.Cheers Jack.

Had another go at a video which you can see at :

Just cut and paste into a browser.

Left click on pics to enlarge.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Out in the bitter cold.

Must have gone slightly insane Tuesday lunchtime because I grabbed the camera and went over to Marsh Lane when it was bitterly cold and pretty gloomy.The journey there was a bit of a surprise because there was far less snow around the further away I got from Knowle.The reserve road was completely free of snow,the reserve pathways were also clear and there was no ice on any of the ponds.

I had wrapped up with loads of layers but the bitterly cold wind soon started to penetrate my thermals.Ended up pretty quickly in the Oak hide where the Barn Owl had been seen on Sunday in the orchid field but that was late evening so I had no luck.Did see the Tree Sparrow behind the hide which was my first viewing for some time.

A big bonus when a Yellowhammer landed for a brief visit under the feeders.Not done well this year for shots of these chaps unlike last year when there were dozens of them about. 

Not a bonus was when a Brown Rat also paid a visit to the area under the feeders.Much rather have seen a Hoopoe or a Wryneck there.

Left click on pics to enlarge.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Struggling to get any shots.

This bitterly cold weather is no good if you are a fair weather birder like me and you want to get out there with the camera and get some shots.Never known so much snow at this time of year.

A bit of good news on Sunday my neighbours feeders had run out of seed and some birds went on mine for a change.The best birds were a couple of Siskins,a lone Lesser Redpoll and a few Goldfinches.Even better and very rare for my garden was the brief appearance of a Goldcrest which as usual was too quick for me to get a shot.In fact the only half decent shots I managed in the gloomy conditions were of the Siskins.

 On the way home yesterday lunchtime from buying some paint I very bravely called in at Brueton Park for a quick look.It was almost deserted and was bitterly cold with a wind straight from Siberia blowing.The only birds I found worth pointing the camera at were firstly a Grey Wagtail near the top bridge.

The second bird I took some shots of was a Wren also in the gloomy area near the top bridge.I  do like the shot of the Wren caught in the wind.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Fox in the back garden.

On my way downstairs this morning to see the start of the F1 race I checked out my back garden from my office (spare bedroom really)  mainly to see how bad the overnight snow was when I saw a Fox.A big surprise in my suburban garden in Knowle.

Grabbed the camera and poked it through a small top hung window and rattled off a few shots.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Jack Snipe revisited.

On Thursday morning I had to go to the dentists and have a filling.When I left at just after 9.00 AM the injection had left my gum numb which is fair enough but it also had left the right side of my nose numb as well.Very strange.An hour later I attempted to have a cup of tea which I managed to spill most of it down my chin.Wonderful !! I do love the dentists.

A little later when I heard that the weather was going to be dreadful the next few days I grabbed the camera and headed off to my local patch Marsh Lane getting there at noon.There were a couple of Herring Gulls,two Redshanks and three Oystercatchers on the Car Park pool together with the a pair of Goosanders that yet again were asleep on the far bank.What a miserable pair these two are never cruising round the pond.

Had the Oak hide to myself and no wonder the Railway Pool was very quiet and the marsh had no birds in it at all.Luckily the Little Egret turned up but it was a fair way off and only once cruised past the hide.

I was just about to leave when I spotted a dark brown/cream backed bird bobbing in the marsh.It was my good friend the Jack Snipe. He entertained me for over 30 minutes often coming out into the open.

I even had a go at taking a video.See

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Another visit to Marsh Lane.

Having got the repairs to the washing machine sorted on Tuesday morning I needed to get out there with the camera so I popped over to Marsh Lane just after lunch.

It was still pretty cold and not too bright but even so I was surprised to find the car park pool very quiet with only a pair of Oystercatchers on show.

There was a Chiffchaff apparently in the car park but I didn't see or hear it.There was no sign of the Bittern from the causeway screen again so it's probably left.I was lucky to find two friends in the Oak hide because it was very quiet on the railway pool and the marsh was empty of birds.

After a while things got better.A Little Egret that started off miles away came closer to the hide.

Two Redshanks were flying around and there was a distant Ringed Plover at the back of one of the islands (too far for a shot).

The hide was full by this time which was a good thing because an immature Gull caused quite a lot of discussion.Was it a Yellow-legged  Gull or a Great Black-backed Gull.I hadn't got a clue.It was thought more likely to be the latter.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Redshanks at Marsh Lane.

Went out early this morning chasing some Waxwings reported yesterday in Solihull not far from where I live.Checked out the road a few times but had no luck and could not see where they would go as there were no berries on any of the trees.

I gave up pretty quickly and decided to head over to Marsh Lane.Got there not long after 8.00 AM by which time it had become gloomy,damp and cold.I'm getting fed up with this continuous cold weather.

There was a Little Egret on the car park pool but it was miles away.A Curlew flew over but I didn't see it.The Bittern was not showing for me this morning which was my first miss for ages.Has it gone .

Caught a glimpse of a Jack Snipe in the marsh from the Oak hide but that was all.The only success with the camera was getting my first shots of the year of a couple of Redshanks that were on the railway pool.                

Friday, 15 March 2013

Jack Snipe.

The sun was shining on Thursday morning so I went over to Marsh Lane getting there at 9.30 AM.It was very cold indeed and it was no surprise to find the Car Park pool frozen over.

At the causeway screens I impressed a birder who had been there an hour and had failed to see the Bittern when I  found it straight away.Mind you it was perched a metre off the ground.

I bumped into the same birder in the Oak hide a little later and he was once again impressed when I soon spotted a Jack Snipe.He must have thought I was a top birder.Little did he know !!!

There were in fact 2 Jack Snipe amongst numerous Common Snipe in the marsh.One right at the back  and one a little closer on the left hand side.Managed some decent shots including one with both a Jack and a Common in the same frame.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

After the Green-winged Teal again.

Very bravely on Wedneday morning I went over to Brandon Marsh to once again to try and get a decent shot of the Green-winged Teal.Bravely because the day before I'd spent a bitterly cold hour waiting for the Bittern to come out on the ice at Marsh Lane.I got so cold I'd thought I'd never thaw out again.It didn't come out of course.

Although it was cold at Brandon it was nowhere as cold as the day before.I soon got to the River pool hide and it took me ages to find the Teal which was way off at the back of the pool and well to the right.I waited for an hour and it did not make any progress nearer so with a lot of swearing I gave up.

I then went for a walk round but had no luck in any of the hides not using the camera once.After a while in the Carlton hide which was particularly depressing (I'm sure the other 3 birders there were crying) I left for the cafe knowing a chat to the pretty waitress would cheer me up.

On the way back to the cafe I could not resist another look on the River pool but when I got in the hide it was empty.Oh Dear!! Not a good sign.When I opened one of the flaps and saw a couple of Teal near the hide I said to myself "Why couldn't the GWT come close like you two chaps" Yes you've guessed one of them was the GWT.Yippeee !!!  Although the light wasn't good I was chuffed at long last to get some decent shots.