Sunday, 30 August 2015


On Thursday morning I was very much in wimp mode because the ferocious attack I'd endured earlier in the week by a female Pheasant had messed up my knee again.Needing to go out I went over to Shustoke Reservoir where you can park up and scan the water without the need to walk far.

This was shrewd plan except for the fact the water was covered by vast areas of weed and the birds had deserted the place.There was a chap in a boat trying to gather up the weed but at the rate he was going I estimated it would take him 10 years. Oh Dear a wasted trip ! !

On Friday morning I went to Marsh Lane where I met my good friend Pete Scraggs in the car park.He was not too happy as he had also been attacked by the female Pheasant in the same place I was.I confess that later when I walked down the same path I was very apprehensive but survived.Only shots I took that morning were of a couple of adult Water Rails. 

On Saturday morning needing somewhere different to go I went over to the flashes at Upton Warren with fingers crossed that the knee would hold up and I wouldn't be trapped in the big hide overnight.Got there at 9.00 AM and was surprised to find the car park nearly full.As I got kitted up I was pleased I'd bought a coat as it was pretty chilly so I was very surprised to see that the swimming club were out and over 20 swimmers were out on the sailing lake.Oh to be young ! !

By the gate to the reserve gate I spotted loads of Hirundines  were on the wires.Took a few shots but not from a good angle.

Also had a go at a few flight shots but as usual these chaps were too quick for me.

Along the main path  did get a few shots including a juvenile Common Whitethroat (well I think it's one) and of a Linnet.The Common Redstarts were far too far away for me.

On the main pool there were quite a few waders but I had to go into patience mode because the bright early morning sunshine was in your eyes and all the birds were in silhouette but as  the morning progressed I was able to get some shots.

There was a lone Avocet still there and a lone Common Snipe had just flown in. 

There were two Common Sandpipers and a lone Green Sandpiper.

Best of all were three Ruffs and a lone Dunlin

Not long after I said that this used to be good spot for Curlews 15 flew in and posed for shots.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


As it was going to be bright first thing this morning I popped down to Marsh Lane  hoping to get some shots before the rain arrived.

Got there at 8.00 AM to find it sunny but a bit chilly. Didn't see anything decent in the CP hide but when I had passed the causeway hides the trees/bushes on the right just before the stream were alive with birds.Managed a few shots of those birds that stayed still for a while. 

Also among these birds was this youngster which I struggled to ID at the time.It was very keen to feed on the berries and was nice enough to pose for some shots.I think it may be a juvenile Blackcap but |I thought they had brown crowns when young.Nice bird whatever it is.

As I went through the streamline gate and started to walk along the path to the Oak hide I nearly trad on two chicks.They shot off into the long grass on the bank on the right.As I stood pondering what they were I was reminded of a scene from one of the Jurassic Park films when some Veloceraptors raced through the grass on the attack.What raced through the long grass to attack me was a female Pheasant that was protecting her chicks.It really went for me and drove me back through the gate.I decided to visit the River hide.

A little while later I safely made it into the Oak hide where I saw 3 of the 5 Little Egrets on site that morning including the ringed juvenile. 

Also from the Oak hide were three Common Sandpipers.

Sunday, 23 August 2015


In fairness my last two outings with the camera have only been to my very local patches but I have struggled to find birds to take shots of.Things have been very quiet.Let's hope September brings something great into our area.

Not long ago I reported that I had finally sorted out the settings problem I'd had with my new camera when trying for flight shots but since then flying birds have kept avoiding me and I've had very few chances to test the camera out.My luck changed on Saturday morning at Marsh Lane when this Common Buzzard appeared.

I was surprised when instead of it flying away it flew towards me and then flew right over my head.I very nearly fell over backwards trying to get shots of it directly above me.Great to have a go at some flight shots.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


After having been forced to stay in for a few days I was very keen to get out there with the camera so on Tuesday morning I headed off to Brandon Marsh again.I'd had to stay in because in addition to my still aching knee I'd strained my back again this time by cleaning the underside of the conservatory roof which left me hobbling around for a few days.What a wimp ! !

Headed straight for the Steetly hide where exactly a week ago I'd had a cracking time with a Marsh Harrier which showed well.This time though it was very quiet and after over an hour I left the hide not having used the camera once.The KF didn't show.

I then all the way to the Ted Jury hide which took me ages with all my injuries.At one time I was overtaken by a snail but in my defense it was a racing snail.Anyone seeing me shuffling along would not have believed that half a century ago I was the same chap who burst through defenses and scored many spectacular goals.

Just before I reached the hide I was able to use the camera for the first time when a flock of Long Tailed Tits took over a tree and a young Blackcap showed briefly in another tree.Light was poor though.

The Ted Jury hide was empty.I headed to the right hand end and settled down to have lunch.As I scanned down the tree line that borders the golf club I spotted this young (?) Hobby perched up in a tree.Pleased with these shots as my friend was a long way off and it was very gloomy there.

Whilst I waited an age for the Hobby to fly round hawking I was entertained by a young Moorhen climbing quite a way up a bush to go blackberry picking and a Great Spotted Woodpecker that showed well for a while.After well over an hour the Hobby finally took flight but instead of hawking it flew off.No dragonflies (?).

On the way back to the car park I called in to the EM hide to see if what I was told was a Blue Morph Snow Goose had woken up.It had and I was able to get some long range record shots. 

By this time I was knackered and although I was aching pretty well everywhere it had been  nice to get                                                                                    out.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


Had a massive stroke of luck today in the Steetly hide at Brandon Marsh.I'd gone there again this morning to go and try for some more Hobby shots but when I got to the hide just after 9.00 AM the only birder in there said he hadn't seen a Hobby at all and only had had a brief visit from a Kingfisher but and it's a big BUT he'd seen a Marsh Harrier flying round the reed bed an hour earlier.

Wow ! ! A Marsh Harrier.Never seen one outside Norfolk/Suffolk so blow Hobbies and Kingfishers a Marsh Harrier would suit me fine.Half an hour later when we had been joined by another photographer and were in deep discussion about cameras the Marsh Harrier returned.I went from relax mode to panic mode in a microsecond  but luckily for me it stayed around a while favouring the reeds behind a small Willow tree about 70 m away. 

We all rattled off loads of shots and hoped some would be decent.Here are a few of mine.Not the greatest shots of a MH but I was very pleased.

The Marsh Harrier soon flew off towards the River hide.Not long after that a Kingfisher flew in and perched up.Wasn't going to take any more KF shots but I couldn't resist a few.

Things went downhill after that and although there were 6 Green Sandpipers on the Teal pool I didn't find any other birds to point the camera at.Very disappointing was that there were no Hobbies on show from the Ted Dury hide.

Did spot the long staying Whistling Duck though from the Baldwin hide.First time I'd seen it.Very attractive.