Monday, 28 November 2016


Still suffering a bit from the aftermath of back trouble and man flu I did manage to go out with the camera for the first time for a while albeit only checking out the local berry trees from the comfort of the car.

Checked all the local Rowan berry trees for Waxwings but had no luck.In fact I saw very little in the berry trees except for a lone Fieldfare feeding on a yellow berried Rowan tree.Not brilliant shots but my first of the year of these chaps.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Back still keeping me out of action on the birding front other than checking out the local berry trees from the car and failing to see anything.It was recovering nicely till I contacted man flu which included a persistent heavy duty cough.A cough is no help at all when you are recovering from back problems as each cough tenses the back muscles up and agony ensues similar to being struck in the back by a black belt karate champion.

So I've been very down in the dumps.In fact the last time I was so depressed was when the Pesky Warbler sorry the Dusky Warbler was at Marsh Lane a few years ago and I went down three days on the trot and all I ended up with was a blurred shot of it's tail.

Too keep this blog going I've trawled through my shots and got out a few of my favourite birds Raptors. 

I love Red Kites and I find it a bit sad that they are still pretty rare in our neck of the woods.I go down to Watlington in the Chilterns every year to see them.Took these shots in May this year. 

Went to a horse paddock near Stoke in July 2015 to get this lifer Red-footed Falcon. 

Was in the Steetley hide at Brandon Marsh in August 2015 and after seeing nothing for over an hour this Marsh Harrier suddenly turned up over the reeds about 50m away.

Common Buzzards often cruise round Marsh Lane.Took this shot in August 2015.

Fortunately at Marsh Lane a Peregrine often shows up but you have to be lucky to pick it up as it flashes by.This shot taken in July this year.

Without doubt Hobbies are one of my favourite birds so entertaining and such great fliers.Took these shots in September 2015 at Marsh Lane.

Ospreys are great birds specially when yo can watch them fishing.This one spent a few days at Upton Warren in September 2012

Kestrels don't seem to be so common in recent years.Took this shot a Draycote Water in September 2009.

Spent many an hour waiting patiently to get a glimpse of a Montagu's Harrier at a lay by just north of South Creake in Norfolk.Had quite a few sightings but never managed a decent shot though.Took these shots in June 2010 

Sparrowhawks are fairly common but I got my best shots of one from an upstairs window when one visited my back garden in March 2010

I was present in November 2011 when a White-tailed Eagle paid a visit to Draycote Water.Got this shot on the Farborough Bank.What a magnificent bird and what impressive claws.It was on the arm of a handler though.

Sunday, 13 November 2016


Am still out of action so here are a few more pics from the recent past.

When on a Saturday morning in Norfolk in June 2015 as I was waiting for ages to get a shot of a very uncooperative Marsh Warbler I received a text telling me a Melodious Warbler was showing at Marsh Lane. Couldn't get down there until the following Monday but luckily it was still there.In fact it stayed for quite a while.Got this shot on the 16th.

I've been lucky enough to see Yellow Browed Warblers several times over the years usually in Norfolk but never been able to get even a half decent shot.When I found out one had been over wintering in 2015 at a sewage works at Sedgeberrow near Evesham I went over on the 25th March there to try my luck.Didn't see another birder all day but luckily I managed a few decent shots.

A Red-footed Falcon had been showing well at a horse paddock just north of Stoke for quite a while in the Summer of 2015.I didn't fancy going because of a hatred of the M6 but after being persuaded by another birder I took the plunge on the 23rd July.Only one other birder was there when I eventually found the place but the bird was still there.

A pair of Penduline Tits had been showing well earlier this year in a reed bed near Gloucester but I put off going because of the distance but when a decent mornings weather looked on the cards on the 10th February I shot down there.There were no other birders about when I got there but it wasn't too long before I managed some decent shots. 

I'd never seen a Purple Heron before so when my good friend Pete Walkden offered me lift down to Otmoor to see one I jumped at the chance.We had to be very patient and very lucky because we were in the right spot when it popped up for a very rare short flight before hiding in the undergrowth again. 

I'd only got some pretty poor shots of a Hoopoe before so I was not too confident when I drove over the border into Worcestershire on the 22nd April earlier this year where one had been seen in a horse paddock.Had to wait an age on a bitterly cold morning and then had to thread the lens through a hedge but did get some decent shots.

In June 2015 I ignored a friends text that a Grey Phalarope was showing at Brandon Marsh because I'd got loads of shots of these chaps.It wasn't till he rang me to point out that it was in Summer plumage that I realised I'd been an idiot not to have gone straightaway.When I finally arrived the place was heaving but after a long wait managed a few shots.

I love Short-eared Owls and am prepared to have a go if any are about. I've seen them in several places over the years and this shot was taken on 23rd November 2011 I think in Hanging Horton. 

Saturday, 12 November 2016


Still out of action with the back but not too worried as I don't seem to have missed much locally.Except that is for a Water Pipit at Marsh Lane which my good friend Jeff Rankin got some cracking shots.So here are a few shots I managed over the years of better birds.

When I heard that a Great Reed Warbler was showing at in a reed bed at a reserve in Derbyshire June 2010 on the 21st I drove over there hoping it was still there.Luckily it was and I managed my first shots of one of these chaps.

I was at Titchwell on a Saturday in September 2012 when I received a text telling me an Osprey was showing well at Upton Warren. I couldn't get over there till the next Monday but I was lucky it was still around fishing on the sailing club lake and eating it's catch on the posts at the flashes.I believe it stayed several days.Took this shot on the 13th.  

Got this shot of a Firecrest in the small coppice at the back of the Reservoir pub by Earlswood lakes.Taken on 19th March 2014.

I was at Titchwell on the 5th  September 2014 and not finding much when a text told me a Wryneck was showing on the East Bank path at Cley.Not having got a decent shot of one of these chaps I shot over there.Met a birder on the path who told me it had not been seen for an hour but he told me where it had been seen.After no more than a couple of minutes standing there on my own it made an appearance. 

On the 4th August 2014 my good friend Kath Everitt rang to tell me she was watching a Night Heron at Seeswood Pools near Nuneaton.Having only got a shot of the legs of the one that showed at Earlswood lakes I shot over there where Kath kindly met me on the causeway and took me to where to view the bird.Mind you we were stopped by the fishing club warder and diplomacy was called for before he let us pass.

On the 1st May 2014 I was having breakfast when my good friend John Oates rang to tell me he had found a Bonaparte's Gull at Marsh Lane.Not having even heard of one before I shot over there and managed a few shots.

Walking on the beach at Titchwell on the 16th September 2010 I found a Lapland Bunting (well re- found really as it had been found the day before).A lifer for me that day.

Was at Draycote Water on the 8th October 2009 and was lucky to get a decent shot of a Lesser Scaup that had been seen the day before.This shot was taken as it cruised round Toft bay.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


Yes I'm out of action again.No surprise is that I've done my back again.Herniated disc. I've obviously got a weakness there because each time I do it it's not after digging a ditch all morning but reaching for a pen or some similar tame action.Old bones no doubt.

In order to fend off boredom I've been through my records and set out here some of the more interesting birds I've photographed.Below is the first batch.

Went on a twitch on the 12th September this year over to Upton Warren to see the Baird's Sandpiper.Great bird but a devil to get a decent shot of due to the light.

Way back on the 30th March 2007 a Common Crane was in a field in Cropredy near Banbury.It stayed a few days and hung out with some Mute Swans

On the 23rd September 2009 I was on the Farborough bank at Draycote Water with a friend trying and failing to get some decent shots of some Yellow Wagtails that were down the bank.We soon gave up and headed down towards the spit when we spotted a strange bird on the water.It very soon took to the air and flew off but luckily I managed a few shots.It wasn't till later that I found out it was a Manx Shearwater.

During January 2008 quite a few people came over to Marsh Lane to see a Redpoll that was showing along the old road.Took this shot on the 16th but was it an Arctic or a Mealy Redpoll.Quite a few thought it was an Arctic.

Took this shot of a Red-throated Diver at Draycote Water on a bitterly cold day on the 3rd January 2009.Only one I've ever seen.

Used to be a lot of these Ruddy Ducks at Marsh Lane but of course they are not seen anymore.Took this shot April 2007.

Friday, 4 November 2016


After the rain cleared away this morning I popped over to Marsh Lane hoping for some better luck with the camera.

Had some luck on the drive there when one of the Common Buzzards that often perch up on the wooden pylons down Barston Lane instead of flying off just as I'm about to take a shot as they always do decided this morning to stay perched.Well it did for a short while allowing me to rattle off a few shots.

It was a bright morning when I parked up not long after 9.30 AM.Both of the hybrid Canada Geese were on the CP pool amongst the masses of Greylag Geese.

The two female Goldeneye were still about as were a pair of female Goosanders but although I waited quite a while they all stayed miles away so yet again only crappographs were possible.

Had much better luck in the North causeway hide when I spotted a Water Rail as it scurried quickly across the front of the hide.Had to be quick but managed a decent shot just before it disappeared into the reeds.