Monday, 29 June 2015


Popped over to Marsh Lane again this morning for a walk round in the warm sunny weather.

As expected there was nothing new on the CP pool which was very quiet.I was just dozing off when all hell broke loose and a huge punch up erupted on the main island in front of the hide.A Moorhen had completely lost it's rag with an Oystercatcher and they went at it hammer and tongues for a while.The Moorhen was the winner. 

There was a second summer Med Gull on the RW pool.It was pretty mobile and always distant but nice to see.

Glen Giles told me he had found a Bee Orchid near the car park and not long later Jeff Rankin found another one on the causeway.This is the Rankin Orchid.Very pretty.The Orchid not Jeff.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


Fed up by being unable to get any decent close shots of the Black Necked Grebe that's been at Marsh Lane for a few days now I set out for there on Saturday morning with a cunning plan.I would get there early when it wasn't expecting me and when it would be close to the CP hide.

Arrived at 7.30 AM to find the weather sunny and warm as I crept into the CP hide.So did my cunning plan work ?  No it damn well didn't. Not only was it not close to the hide but also it was not even there.Oh Dear ! !

Did get a few shots including a kidnapping, a Common Tern chick and a young Linnet.   

At 8.15 AM I decided to go and see if Mel was still showing down the bridle way.There were 4 cars parked across the far side of the main road so some birders must be down there but when I got half way down the path and scanned down to where the bird is to be found there were no people on the path. Had Mel gone ?

It wasn't till I got much closer did I see that all seven of the birders there were up on the bank.Although this was my fourth visit I'd never seen anyone up the bank before.Did I tell them all to get off the bank.No Way I joined them.

This was not an easy task because the bank is about 3 m high and is pretty steep.The good spots at the top of the bank with a level bit to stand on had been taken up and muggins here had to make do with a sloping bit to stand on.The wire fence at the top of the bank was not much help to hang onto as it was very loose and I wobbled a lot.Not good for taking pics.

Mel did not seem to mind all the birders on top of the bank and showed well the hour I was there and as usual it was still singing it's heart out. I believe it's been there 16 days now and is still bringing birders in from far and wide.That morning I spoke to two birders from Leeds, one from Oxford and one from Lincoln.

Took a few shots from my wobbly spot.Cracking bird.  

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


This week I've been down to Marsh Lane twice and down to Brandon Marsh once and at both places I've struggled to get some decent shots but the weather has been nice so it was great to be out and about.

At Marsh Lane the pair of Shellducks have had 6 chicks.I don't think I've seen Shellduck chicks before so nice to get a shot  of them and one of mum.

The cracking looking Black-necked Grebe has been at Marsh Lane for a few days but it has not come close for me at all.I've still not got a decent summer plumage shot of these chaps.These are heavily cropped shots and depressingly  are my best. 

Whilst waiting for the BNG to come close a Reed Warbler showed well from the river hide.


This is the chap that's responsible for the closing down of the car park at Marsh Lane.

My visit to Brandon Marsh was very enjoyable but this was down to the excellent weather and not down to the birds on show because there weren't any.It was a real struggle to get any shots.

A Sedge Warbler that I saw near the golf club felt sorry for me and allowed me to get close.In fact when I moved on it followed me to pose again for shots.

In the Ted Drury hide I arrived just as a Hobby flew off from the nearby tree and despite an hour's stay never returned so no Hobby shots.

In the hide was my good friend Francoise who I hadn't seen for a while.Nice to see you again         Francoise and I hope you get well very soon.

Friday, 19 June 2015


On Thursday morning I headed over to the NT property Hanbury Hall just inside the Worcestershire border.At this time of year I visit the nearby NT sites not to visit the buildings but to check out the grounds.Not to be recommended if you're not a member as it can be expensive.

Last year I found a pair of Spotted Flycatchers there so these chaps were top of my list as I walked the main path towards the hall.As I walked along  the east of the hall in a picnic area by the shops what did I spot catching flies ? a Spotted Flycatcher which went up into a tree.This is the only shot I could get before it disappeared.I didn't see it here despite a few visits during the day.

After a patient wait at the spot where they nested last year and seeing nothing at all I went on a tour of the grounds.I saw very little and didn't use the camera once so after some lunch I tried to get some shots of the House Martins that were nesting under the eaves of the hall.Managed a few feeding shots. 

I was very lucky whilst waiting for the House Martins to return when I glanced up to the hall roof and this is what I saw.

I watched this Spotted Flycatcher fly to the exact spot they nested last year. I can only think the reason I missed them earlier in the day was that the pair were taking it in turns to sit on eggs and when it was their turn to rest they flew off to feed up.I stayed in a discrete spot and waited for them to change turns so I could get some shots.I had to be patient because it sometimes took an age for them to return from feeding.

Got some decent shots of these cracking birds. 

Got home mid afternoon and just as I was dozing off on a sun lounger a text came in " Black-necked Grebe at Marsh Lane".I dropped everything and shot over there because I do not have a decent shot of a summer plumage BNG. I still don't because our little friend managed to keep as far away as possible from the Oak hide up till early evening when I left.You'll have to take my word this is a BNG. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Popped down to Marsh lane on Monday morning for a quick look around.Didn't see much of note and the only shots I took were of this young Long Tailed Tit.

As I was chatting to Alan Boddington outside the Oak hide a birder who was a bit out of breath strode down the path asked us "Is it still here ?" Realising that he was referring to the Melodious Warbler we upset him a bit when we redirected him to it's location about a mile away.

On Tuesday morning I went to the churchyard where I'd got some shots of the pair of Spotted Flycatchers a couple of weeks ago.It was very quiet and there was no sign of them and when I discretely had a look at the nest site high up on the church wall there was no nest.I can only presume that the recent high winds had destroyed it.Oh Dear ! !

The only other show in town and what a show was the Melodious Warbler so off I went there again.As I parked up by the gate I met a birder who had come quite a way and I was pleased to take him to the bird which again was showing well.It was a lifer for him and he was chuffed to bits. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015


When I was in Norfolk I had several texts telling me that at Marsh Lane a Melodious Warbler was showing along a track opposite the main entrance.Trust me to be away when a rarity is at my local patch and it would be a lifer for me.

Luckily for me it was still there on Saturday.I then got excited by the thought how great it would be to get a Marsh Warbler on a Friday and then a Melodious Warbler on the following Saturday.I bet not many birders have done that.With that in mind when the weather got a bit better in the afternoon I drove over hoping it was still there.

It was and unlike the skulking Marsh Warbler this chap was very showy and was singing it's head off nearly all the time.Stayed there till 5.00 PM and got some shots but the dull weather stopped me getting any decent ones.

Early on Sunday morning it was much brighter so I went over again.It was still there and as showy as ever so I was able to get some decent shots.

I must confess having seen both the Marsh  and the Melodious Warblers in successive days I would not be able to tell them apart.Even the songs were similar.