Saturday, 26 September 2015


I popped over to Marsh Lane Friday lunchtime which was a very good move because there was a Raptorfest going on.I stayed for a couple of hours and saw 5 Common Buzzards 2 Hobbies 1 Kestrel 1 Sparrowhawk but missed by 30 minutes a female Merlin that was seen in the hedge near the CP gate.

Things started a bit slow but I managed a distant shot of the Bar-headed Goose that has turned up again after being away for quite a while (Holidaying in the Himalayas ?) 

My good friend Steve was in the Oak hide and he pointed out a Hobby.It was not playing ball and kept hawking around the wood and the railway track.There were 3 Little Egrets on the RW pool all distant till one decided to come close.

The Hobby meanwhile had landed in the dead tree near the river hide so I set off there hoping to get close but as I left the hide Steve shouted out it was heading our way.As it zoomed pretty close I managed a couple of shots.

For the next half an hour the Hobby hawked around the stream line trees and over and around the oak hide.Steve and I soon got a sighting system going with Steve spotting in the oak hide and me waiting outside the door trying to get some shots as it zoomed by.On one occasion it flew low down the main path and I was forced to duck as it flew over my head.It was showing off ! !

Here are some of my best ever Hobby shots clearly showing a dragonfly in it's claws.Many thanks to Steve for his spotting skills.

When the Hobby flew off very high in the sky I met up with Jeff on the causeway and he had got some great shots of the second bird a juvenile.As we were chatting away a Peregrine flew over but very high in the sky.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


Since my last blog I've been out and about locally a few times mainly down to Marsh Lane but also around the local countryside but I've struggled to find any decent birds to point the camera at.

At the moment down at Marsh Lane the car park pool has been taken over by Greylag and Canada Geese.On Friday there were 360 Canada Geese there in the morning which is an amazing number considering that till recently you would get very few there.The trouble is that they chase off any waders that drop in.

After a few visits to Marsh lane all I managed was to get some shots of a Reed Warbler and of a Common Buzzard.I did see a Yellowhammer in the car park but could get no shots.

Driving round the countryside near Knowle I found a few young Swallows on some overhead wires being fed by adults.I tried to get some shots of the adults feeding them but they were so quick plus the fact I had to stand in the middle of the road  lead to failure.

                After some gardening on Saturday morning I felt I needed to get out there and as the weather was sunny and warm ideal for dragonflies there was only one place to go to and only one bird to go after.Hobbies at Marsh Lane.Got there at 1.00 PM and as I walked down the main path I spotted one along the stream tree line so I decided to head  to the river hide.

Had to be patient but in the end  the Hobby did show well and I managed  to get some decent shots mind you the hazy conditions didn't help. I've said it before but what cracking birds to watch in action.                                                               

Sunday, 13 September 2015


Hadn't planned to go out with the camera on Saturday but when the rain stopped lunchtime I headed off to Marsh Lane again getting there not long after 1.00 PM.It was a good move because the only birders on site happened to be my good friends Jeff Rankin and Pete Walkden both top photographers.

From the causeway north screen hide one of the Water Rails showed briefly and a Reed Warbler also paid a quick visit to the reeds.

Just outside that hide a juvenile Chiffchaff  showed briefly (well I think it's a Chiffy ?)

I joined Pete for an hour along the causeway as we patiently waited for a Hobby that had turned up to show which it did quite a lot but I didn't do too well getting decent shots as I frequently underestimated the brightness of the background which resulted in me getting loads of silhouettes. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015


Early on Friday morning I went down to the back gate coppice area at Marsh Lane where some ringers were in action again.It was 7.30 AM when I joined 3 Marsh Lane regulars and 3 ringers who had been there since dawn.

The ringers were very accommodating chaps letting us get close,take some shots and answering all our questions.I believe that they ringed about 40 birds which were mostly Blackcaps but included 10 Goldcrests although some of these escaped before they could be ringed.It was interesting to learn that Great Tits and Blue Tits were the  birds that gave them the most trouble when ringing both being quite aggressive.

I left at 9.30 AM and they were still ringing so I don't know what they ringed later on.Glad I went.Very enjoyable.Here are a few random shots that I took with my 400 lens which is not ideal when the birds are so close. Best for me was seeing Goldcrests one of my favourite birds so close and being reminded how tiny they are.

What was a big surprise was that when it was being ringed one of the Goldcrests received a phone call.Can you believe that ! !

Thursday, 10 September 2015


I've checked it out on a specialist medical site on the net and I'm pretty certain I've got Hobbyitis ( A condition where the patient has an irresistible need to see and take shots of Hobbies.The condition is not relieved by how many times the patient has seen them).

So hoping that this blog has not become boring here are some more shots.These taken in dull conditions on Wednesday afternoon at Marsh Lane.