Saturday, 28 September 2013


I love Hobbies.It's great to watch them zooming around and a real challenge to get even a half  decent shot so when it was sunny on Friday lunchtime I thought I would nip over to Marsh Lane and try my luck again with these cracking birds.

Got there just before 1.00 AM and bumped into John Oates as he was leaving.He had seen a Jack Snipe and a Curlew and he said he'd had a Hobby on the Railway pool.

Soon saw one as I sat in the Oak hide but it very quickly flew off.After half an hour just when I was going to give up two Hobbies appeared from nowhere and started hawking round the pool.A couple of times they flew very close to the hide and the speed they go at is amazing.I dashed out the hide and rattled off a few shots from the path.

They flew off again and disappeared  for quite a while.Again just as I was about to give up they both appeared again this time zooming around the stream line.Managed some shots I was very pleased with because you can see the dragonfly it had just caught.

Had an amusing incident as I left.There was a car parked the other side of the main gate by the cottages.It was right up against the gate.A man dressed all in black was just setting off to walk his dog.I went into aggressive mode and said "You can't park there it's not allowed" He said "It's OK they allow me I'm a policeman".He then flashed his ID.For some strange reason said "Is that real".What an idiot !!! I soon went into sheepish mode opened both gates and drove off.


Friday, 27 September 2013


Feeling a bit depressed after a morning visit to the doctors who booked me in for four blood tests in a attempt to find out why I have been in wimp mode for ages and a bit worried that I doubted that I've got enough blood for four tests I needed cheering up so at lunchtime I headed for Marsh Lane.

I was keen to try for some shots of a pair of Hobbies that many others had seen earlier in the week.It wasn't long before I spotted one of them but it seemed to be zooming around even more than usual probably practising for it's trip to Africa that must be due soon.Amongst a vast amount of empty sky shots I did get a few decent ones.

Later on when Jeff Rankin and I had a look in the Car Park hide we spotted this chap resting in the grass.

A Bar-headed Goose.An escapee unless it had flown here all the way from Central Asia to have a look at Marsh Lane.After a while it got up walked to the water and went onto the central island.

Sunday, 22 September 2013


Despite it being a bit gloomy on Saturday morning I went over to Brandon Marsh.I headed straight to the Wright hide to see if the Pectoral Sandpiper was still about but despite searching for quite a while I could not see it.

As I walked round to the East Marsh hide it was very quiet and the only shots I managed were of a small flock of Long-tailed Tits.

Things improved a lot when I joined up with Jeff and George in the EM hide.It was not long till George spotted a wader on Willow island and despite the distance we soon ID it as the Pectoral Sandpiper.This heavily cropped crappograph shows how far away it was.

I didn't do much better when we all went round back to the Wright hide.It would not come any closer.

Not long after George found the Pectoral Sandpiper I spotted another wader even further away on Willow island.It was a Ruff. Didn't do much better getting shots of this chap but it did threaten to come a little closer on one occasion.

So a couple of very nice birds to see at Brandon but very frustrating not being able to get even a half decent shot particularly of the Pectoral Sandpiper.Here's a shot of one taken 4 years ago at Draycote Water.Cracking birds.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


On Tuesday I decided that because I hadn't been out with the camera much lately that whatever the weather and however wimpy I felt I would go out the next day.As I hadn't been to Brandon Marsh for ages I thought I'd go there.

This brave plan was almost dashed when on Tuesday afternoon I decided to defrost the freezer.This involved nearly two hours on all fours hacking at ice which left my back and shoulder muscles aching badly afterwards.I made another error early on Wednesday morning when I decided it was time to change the  duvet to the winter one.What a game that is putting a double duvet into it's cover.At one stage I was actually in the cover with the duvet and I'm sure it was alive because it was definitely fighting me.

After these exertions when I headed towards the Wright hide later in the morning I was not feeling on top form.I'd gone to the Wright hide first to see if the Pectoral Sandpiper was still there.It wasn't. I'd missed it by 48 hours which is par for the course.I wasn't that concerned because I'd been lucky enough to see the one at Draycote Water that showed very well almost exactly 4 years ago.

Didn't see anything then until I sat in the Teal Pool hide when a juvenile Water Rail shot across a gap between two clumps of reeds.Just managed a couple of shots before it disappeared.

A couple of old friends ( Francoise and Olly ) joined me in the hide and you can tell how pathetic we are because for the first 15 minutes we discussed the ailments we were each suffering from.

A quick look in the Carlton hide was very depressing the weed has now taken over and the area is dead.It's a shame that a once great spot has gone to the dogs in such a short time.

On the muddy and overgrown path to the Newlands screens I was lucky enough to spot a Juvenile (?) Wren singing it's heart out.

I had hoped to see a Hobby from the screens but it was all very quiet there.There was a Kestrel hunting but it didn't come close enough for a decent shot but nice to see as these are getting scarce.

I tried to get some shots of a juvenile Shellduck on the River 
pool but the light didn't help.

At lunchtime I was pretty knackered so I headed home. Didn't see anything great but nice to be out.

Friday, 13 September 2013


Still very much in wimp mode I haven't been able to go out too far with the camera this last week. I've managed only one visit to Earlswood lakes and a couple of quick visits to Marsh Lane.

After the recent excitement of the Black Tern at Earlswood lakes my visit earlier in the week proved fruitless and all I got was a shot of a juvenile Great Crested Grebe.There was nothing else about. 

My first visit to Marsh Lane also found it very quiet except with a report earlier that day a Honey Buzzard had been seen not too far away I thought I was on to something but alas no.all I got was a Common Buzzard.

I thought I was on to something on yesterday's visit to Marsh Lane when from the causeway I spotted a Hobby hawking for dragonflies.I rattled off a few shots and settled down to get more as there were loads of dragonflies about but the miserable so and so flew off  into the distance and was not seen again.

Monday, 2 September 2013


Hope this blog is not getting boring because it was the only show in town I went again over to Earlswood Lakes to see if the Black Tern was still around..I got there just before mid day and as soon as I reached the causeway and scanned the lakes it appeared right in front of me.

I'm pretty certain it had been waiting for me to turn up because for the next hour it put on an excellent display.Mind you Matt Griffiths was there too so I suppose that it was really putting on a display for him.Did manage a few better shots this time but as usual I had loads and loads of crappographs.

On one occasion it came pretty close and caught a fish but being a juvenile it dropped it and tried to find it but failed.Very interesting to watch.

After just over an hour I'd had enough and set off home.Matt left at the same time and this excellent bird that was showing so well had no birders to show off to.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


Fed up with moping around all day on Saturday and feeling sorry for myself I decided on Sunday morning to get out there however grotty I felt.I plumped to go again to Earlswood lakes to see if the Black Tern was still there.

Got there at 8.30 AM and couldn't see it flying around from the causeway so I headed down to see if it was on the central island on the engine pool.It was.That's the third day I believe it's been there

Eventually it flew around the lake and again I had a hell of a job getting any decent shots.I fluked a couple of pretty decent ones.

Luckily for me Matt Griffiths was on the causeway and he was very helpful in pointing out a Med. Gull that landed on the Windmill pool.It was fairly close but right into the sun but still very nice to see.

After an hour I was knackered and surprisingly despite the weak sunshine pretty cold so off home I went.