Thursday, 31 July 2014


On Wednesday morning when I saw that the weather may go down the pan from tomorrow onwards I decided I must go out with the camera but where to go was the problem.In the end I decided to go to Midleton Hall again and see if the Pacific Golden Plover was any nearer.

It was a bit of a gamble going there because there had been no reports of it being present on the internet when I left home at 9.00 AM.There were only a few cars in the car park and none of the few birders I met up with on the walk had seen it that morning.Oh Dear ! !

When I got to the big screen at 10.00 AM I had a bit of luck a birder came over and said he'd just found it not down the path to the right of the screen but about 100m down the path that goes straight past the screen.I joined a couple of birders there and it could be seen through the reeds on the far bank.

I watched it till about 11.45 AM when as I was looking elsewhere of course it flew off.Managed a few shots that are a bit better than the last lot but not much better.Great to see again though.Lovely bird.

Monday, 28 July 2014


This morning I went on a twitch to Middleton Hall NR to try for the Pacific Golden Plover and get a Life Tick.

Hadn't been to Middleton Hall for many months because it is not my favourite reserve.This is due to the fact that as it's DPTMW ratio for me is very poor (The Decent Shots Taken per Mile Walked ratio).I usually have to walk miles and with my lens due to the distance the birds are away I hardly ever get a decent shot.Great place though for birders with big scopes.

Joined many other birders watching the Plover along a pathway.I stayed for well over 2 hours and the crowd varied between 12 and up to 50.Here is a shot of some of the crowd.

Amongst the crowd from about 11.00 AM onwards was this chap.I'd never met Lee Evans before and found him very friendly and good company. 

As expected the Plover was a long way off and the whole time I was there it remained in a patch no bigger than a door mat and was often hidden in the undergrowth.It really looked great when viewed through a big scope.

I amassed a huge quantity of super crappographs.These are my best shots so you can imagine how bad the others were.Still a Life Tick so who cares ! ! !

Sunday, 27 July 2014


Early Sunday morning I tootled over to Seeswood Pools again to see if the Night Heron was still around.As I parked up at just after 8.00AM another car pulled up and a chap got out who had come all the way from Essex to get some shots of the Heron.I took him with me to the viewing area hoping for his sake the bird showed.

To cut a long storey short after 2 hours it hadn't showed the Essex man had left and had gone to try and get the Plover at Middleton Hall.All I'd seen was a Peregrine that flew over and a pair of Kingfishers on the far bank.

At 10.00 AM there were only 4 birders including me there (one of whom had come all the way down from Altrinchham)  and I thought it's not here so I'm off.I then had a great bit of luck because when I was chatting to Ms Everitt on my way out one of the birders spotted it coming out into the open.

Needless to say I didn't go but it was a close call.Here are a couple of shots as it emerged into the open.

I don't know how they did it but almost straight after it showed several birders appeared from nowhere and enjoyed good views straightaway.That's the way to do it ! ! Included in this group were 4 lads from Durham  who once they had seen the bird and got their tick shot off to get the next tick.Surprised that they didn't want to watch this great bird in action even for a short while.

For the next 30 minutes it wandered around a lot  and I managed a few decent shots but it was a pity about the twigs and branches that got in the way a lot.

It did have a short flight whilst I was there but it caught me unawares and I ended up with a crappograph which was a shame.

Saturday, 26 July 2014


Before I get onto the Restart a bit of self congratulation is in order.One of the shots I took earlier in the week of the Night Heron at Seeswood Pools was the one chosen by Birdguides in the Weekly Review section of their Webzine.I'm sure they saw loads of shots of this bird but they chose mine.Here is that shot :

Right back to the Common Redstart which is a very special bird because I found it and I very rarely find anything myself.Also it is a local bird. I found it down the lane that goes from the NT property at Baddesley Clinton to Knowle ( Netherwood Lane) only a couple of miles from where I live.The nearest place that I've seen them before was at Cannock Chase.

I found it on Thursday afternoon but got no shots.Another go on Friday lunchtime also resulted in no shots it was too distant.Another go on Saturday morning did produce some heavily cropped crappographs (it is simply too far away) but I was not unhappy because finding the bird was more important than getting decent shots.These are the best I could manage. 

Just to prove I can manage to get shots of these cracking birds here is one I took earlier.Much earlier in fact. The 2nd of June 2010 at Gilfach Farm NR in Wales.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


On Wednesday morning I could not resist going over to the Seeswood Pools again and seeing the Night Heron.Got there not long after 10.00 AM and with fingers crossed that it was still there I set off down the path to the viewing point.

There was good news and bad news.It was there but it was being  miserable and had not been showing very well all morning.Whilst waiting for it to show I got a shot of two of the several Terrapins that are on the lake.One of them looked very big to me.

The Night Heron was staying put for ages just sitting in the same spot on this branch.It was a good job the weather was good and the banter amongst the few birders around was entertaining else I would have given up.

It was a very long time before it made any movement to speak of whereas yesterday it had been quite active. I was there today for about 4 hours and it moved around a bit only twice.Did get some shots but none as good as yesterday's.


This afternoon I popped over to the local NT site at Baddesley Clinton with the SX50 to try and get some butterfly shots (did poorly) and some Dragonfly shots (did worse).

On the short drive home down a country lane I drove past a farm track and on the gate just down the track was a bird.I braked sharply ( the road was clear) and at the same time I shouted out "F****** Hell". It was a cracking looking male Common Redstart.Never seen one locally before.

I reversed back and parked up.The bird had gone off the gate.It didn't return after 10 minutes so I got out the car and found it again but it was a long way off on some fencing.No shots but great to see especially near Knowle.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


On Tuesday whilst eating an al fresco lunch I was wondering where on earth I could go in the afternoon with the camera in this fine weather.I'd not done too well the last couple of days only getting some shots of some of the juvenile Great Crested Grebes at Earlswood lakes and a shot of one of the 3 Green Sandpipers at Marsh Lane.

As I was about to drink a cup of coffee my mobile went off.It was my good friend Kath Everitt " I'm at Seeswood pools and I'm looking at a Night Heron". My God ! ! !  I was so impressed with this tip from Kath I decided  to promote her from "my good friend" up to "my very good friend" which in the army is equivalent of a full colonel.

I'd seen one before but after 4 visits in May 2011 to Earlswood Lakes the only shot I'd got was this one.So getting some shots was vital.

Keen to get there quickly I grabbed all my kit and set off but as often happens when you are in a hurry things go awry.Although I'd had my car car keys in my hand a few seconds before I managed to lose them and when I set off I realised I was not wearing my glasses.What a burk ! ! The 15m drive took me ages as I kept coming across farm tractors everywhere.When I finally got there I managed to park in the wrong place and when I tried to phone Kath to find out where to go I got no signal.Wonderful ! !

I finally made it and joined about a half dozen birders watching the Night Heron approx. 100m away across the lake.What a great bird.A bit far for my lens but the light was good and even with a lot of cropping I managed some decent shots. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Having gone over to the dark side last week and visited a falconry I have come back this last week to trying to get shots of wild birds but my godfathers have I struggled to find anything to point the camera despite going out locally several times.

By Thursday evening all I'd got was a shot of a Marbled White,one of a distant Green Woodpecker,one of a Long Tailed Tit and one of a Song Thrush.Not much to show after  four trips out.

On Thursday I spent the evening trying for a Barn Owl that had been seen at a local site but had no luck.Whilst there I'd noticed loads of Swallows and  House Martins flying around so I went there Friday morning and got some shots of the Swallows but failed to get any House Martin shots.

I then went to Marsh Lane where I saw a Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper both on the railway pool but both annoyingly too far for any shots.I then went to the north causeway screen to take on the Reed Warblers again.Several times this week I'd tried to get a decent shot of these chaps but every time they would not show long enough for me to get onto them.This is my best shot after several goes.Oh Dear ! !

Just when I was getting annoyed with the Reed Warblers not playing ball and  about to move into loud swearing mode a Sedge Warbler turned up and let me get some decent shots.The shots show how they creep low down through the reeds looking for food.