Thursday, 26 March 2015


On Wednesday morning I went over to the sewage works in a village called Sedgeberrow which is a couple of miles west of Evesham.My target was a Yellow Browed Warbler that had been there for a couple of weeks.

Seeing it would not be a tick for me as I'd seen some in Norfolk a few years ago but had not got any shots despite trying for ages at both Titchwell and Wells Woods.They are little devils to get shots of as they ping around a lot deep in the gloom of bushes and trees.

I was taking a bit of a chance that it was still there because there had been no reports for a few days now.Got to Sedgeberrow just before 10.00 AM and little did I know at the time I was about to make the first of many mistakes I made that day.I searched for quite a while in the village for somewhere to park which was not easy and when I eventually did find a spot I had driven so far I had a very long walk back to the sewage works.

When I got near the sewage works path I bumped into a local birder who was walking her dog and she said my best bet for getting shots at this time of day was to go down the path on the other side of the river to the sewage works.This turned out to be another mistake.

Got down to the spot she'd advised and had good but pretty distant views of the sewage works.The good news was the bird was still there but it favoured the fence line on the west side of the sewage works approx. 60 m away and never came any closer during my 90 minute stay.These are the only shots I could manage.Oh Dear ! ! !

Did not see any other birders at all and my only friend was a Robin who I'm sure was telling me I was in the wrong spot.

Feeling knackered and badly in need of refreshments I headed all the way back to the to the car to grab some lunch (should have taken it with me another mistake).After lunch feeling refreshed and the weather still pretty decent I thought as I was here I'd have another go this time I had a plan.I had spotted on my walk back to the car that if I cut across a couple of crop fields I could get right down to the sewage works on the right side of the river.

This plan worked a treat till I got within 20 m of the sewage works and another mistake occurred.A timber post and rail fence approx. 1 m high with chain link fencing at the bottom and barred wire at the top blocked my way.This would be easy for a young person to climb over but for an old goat it was a formidable barrier.Managed it but very nervously and with lots of swearing.Ended up with a cut hand and a tear in my trousers. 

I was now in a good spot to get shots of the YBW being pretty close to the fence line on the western side of the sewage works.I soon had a few glimpses of it pinging around in the gloom of the hedgerow but was having trouble being distracted by a pair of Robins, a Dunnock, 3 LT Tits and a pair of Wrens also using the hedgerow.

Another mistake occurred now because also flitting around here was a Chiffchaff and I didn't know till I got back home and was checking  my shots on the computer that I had taken lots of shots of a Chiffchaff when I thought I was getting shots of a YBW. At this point I panicked that I had not got any shots of the YBW.My only excuse is that you only get a very quick chance of a bird flitting round in the hedgerow and you've got no time to ID it first.

Luckily I did manage a few half decent first shots of the YBW.

On my way home I made another mistake.Keen to have a coffee I called in at a McDonalds at a service station near Alcester.It tasted like canal water and I had to leave it.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Still struggling getting the settings right with the new camera so I've paid a couple of quick visits recently down to Marsh Lane to test them out.

Didn't see anything new on either visit but it was good to have a go with the camera in rather gloomy conditions getting shots of some of the regulars.

I was particular pleased with the camera getting shots of the Sparrowhawk (my first flight shot) ,the shot of the Song Thrush (able to focus through loads of twigs) and the of the Goldcrest (in a very gloomy spot under some trees needing an ISO of 6400 impossible to get with the old camera).

Friday, 20 March 2015


Under great pressure from my peers I cracked and lashed out and bought a new camera (the Canon 7D mk.2) .Keen to get out there and test it I shot over to Marsh Lane on Tuesday morning and rattled off some shots which looked pretty decent considering the conditions.

When I got home later disaster struck and the hard drive on my laptop crashed. I've had it replaced (£100 ouch)but of course everything is lost except what you've backed up and those shots were not.It's been a nightmare trying to get all the lost programmes downloaded and up and running.

Undaunted I went to Marsh Lane again on Wednesday and took some more shots.Am struggling with the camera getting all the settings correct but it does seem to be much better than the old one.

Here are a couple of shots taken at Marsh Lane.

On the way home called in at Brueton Park and took some more shots.The Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were taken in a very gloomy place which the old camera would not have handled as well as a high ISO was required.

On Thursday morning I was getting really fed up with trying to get the laptop up and running as nothing was working. Could not get on the internet or log onto my e-mail account.What a fiasco ! ! So when John Oates texted me that a Blackwit was showing well from the CP hide I swore very loudly at the laptop and went to Marsh Lane.

Luckily it was still showing well very close to the hide.

A Peregrine showed briefly over the RW pool but it remained a long way off.

Not doing too bad with the new camera but I think it will take me a while to get everything set up                                                                                    right.

Friday, 13 March 2015


After a couple of excursions into deepest Gloucestershire last week I went back to some local birding this week restricting my trips to Brueton Park and Marsh Lane.

On route to Marsh Lane on Tuesday I spotted a Common Buzzard on an overhead wire in a field close to the road but as usual it flew off just as I was about to take a shot.

It was pretty quiet at Marsh Lane and I didn't stay long.the only shots I managed were of one of the Shellducks.

A quick visit to Brueton Park on Wednesday morning was a bit annoying as I found a pair of Goldcrests but they pinged around in a conifer tree so quickly all I got was some shots of some twigs.Whilst waiting for them to show again the coppice I was in was suddenly invaded by a party of very young schoolchildren and so the very dodgy old chap with a camera surrounded by very young children legged it before the police arrived.

Thought I'd found something special when I spotted this chap on the main lake but it was only a Mallard.

Just as I was about to set off for Marsh Lane on Wednesday morning I spotted the local Sparrowhawk on the fence at the bottom of my garden which had had the foliage there cut back so the Sparrowhawk could use it as a perch.Had to take these shots through the glass of a bedroom window as all my windows only have small top hung opening lights.Very nice to see though.

Got to Marsh Lane not long after midday to find that things were picking up at long last.On site that day but not all seen by me were 2 Stonechats,3 Goosanders,2 Redshanks,a Peregrine,a Little Egret,2 Ringed Plovers and 2 Chiffchaffs.

Got my first shot this year of a Redshank.

Whilst in the Oak hide everything went up and for once I spotted the culprit a Peregrine which raced across the RW pool before quickly disappearing.

Thanks to John Oates spotted my first Chiffchaff of the year along the causeway.It wouldn't stay still so only a crappograph was possible but very nice to see.

Friday, 6 March 2015


Early on Thursday morning I went a little mad and decided to get out of my comfort zone again and head off to deepest Gloucestershire.I was influenced by the weatherman telling me Thursday was going to be much better than Friday (he was wrong as usual) and my good friend Pete Walkden telling me the exact location of where I could get some shots of a Hawfinch and of some Crossbills (Parkend a few miles east of Chepstow).

Set off not long after 8.15 AM and got caught up in local school traffic straightaway and also had to stop for petrol so 20 minutes later I was still in Dorridge.Good start then.The next problem I had was when I was nearing journey's end I got the first inkling that the road atlas I'd bought cheaply on the internet might not be that good because the road shown on it to Parkend didn't exist.

Finally got to the site at 10.30 AM and joined a couple of other birders there.They had not seen the Hawfinch.Nearly an hour later we got our first glimpse of it under the very gloomy canopy of a Yew tree.It showed on and off for the next hour but the so and so never ever came out into the open so getting decent shots was impossible.

Although I'd seen one before many years ago in a coppice not far from the old car park at Draycote Water I hadn't got any shots before so I was pleased to get some however disappointing.  

I gave up at 12.30 PM as the light had become pretty poor.I then headed the short distance to Parkend Church where I hoped to see some Crossbills.There were a few birders there in the car park where the high elevation overlooked the tree canopy but they weren't after Crossbills they were after Goshawks.They didn't see any and only one Crossbill showed and it was a long way off high up in a tree.

At 1.15 PM I left and headed off to the SE Owl site I visited earlier in the week.The route I'd planned using my new road atlas took me along the Gloucester ring road which turned out to be nothing like what was shown and I got into a hell of a mess.God knows how I got through and ended up on the A436 the right road.

Got to the site at 2.30 PM and found only two birders there.One had been there since 8.00 AM and the other one who I knew (John) had been there for 30 minutes and both had drawn a blank.After chatting for half an hour I went on a walk to try and warm up and think I spotted some Ravens but wasn't sure.

For some reason I decided to check out the land the other side of the road and blow me down there was a SE Owl cruising around.Just as I shouted to the other two it flew right over their heads and into the set aside field.It was 3.00 PM.

It then showed on and off for an hour never coming close but great to see.What cracking birds.The light was pretty awful becoming very gloomy at times.Here is a shot unedited showing how the camera caught the light.  

Here a my best shots picked out of a massive collection of crappographs brightened up in the editing.