Tuesday, 18 September 2018

THE GWE BACK AT THE LOCAL PATCH.


Keen to get out there with the new camera to do much needed practice with flight shots as soon as the rain stopped I popped over to Marsh Lane getting there at 10.30 AM.

It was very windy and hardly any birds were flying round so I could not get any flight shot practice.I could find nothing exciting on the pools till I went to the river hide where the Great White Egret was on show.

It was not too happy with the strong wind and spent nearly all the time I was there hunkered down in the reeds.What impressive birds they are.









Monday, 17 September 2018

FRUSTRATION AT EARLSWOOD RESERVOIR.



Heard in the morning that there was a Black Necked Grebe on the Engine Pool at Earlswood Lakes (found by John Oates). Couldn't go down though till after an early lunch.

Parked up at 12.30 PM to find it very gloomy and very windy with rain threatening.Even worse I could not see any other birders about.Oh Dear this does not look good.

As I made the effort to go there I thought I'd better at least try and find the bird so I walked right round to the other side of the lake and checked from along the causeway. It was there that I met another birder and we finally spotted it right in the middle of the lake.

I waited patiently for it to come a bit closer but it didn't play ball during my 40 minutes stay.Considering the poor conditions and the distance involved (getting on for 100m) the new camera set up did pretty well.No keepers but you can see what it is.

What was very annoying was that when I walked all the way back to the other side near the car park my little friend had come right in close to the shore and a photographer there just where I had been was getting some great shots . 









Friday, 14 September 2018

THE GWE PAYS ANOTHER VISIT TO THE LOCAL PATCH.


Went down to Marsh Lane again this morning getting there just after 8.00 AM.It was a bit gloomy and it was quite cold.

It was very quiet and after an hour I thought I'd head home but just after I got back to the car park John Hunt rang me to tell me that the Great White Egret had just landed on the RW pool.That's where I had just left.

I raced back to Oak hide just in time to see walk behind the reeds at the end of the marsh.




It stayed hidden for quite a while and when it appeared again it flew further away onto the spit.




I raced down to the river hide hoping it would come close.It did but still a fair way off.Here are a selection of shots the first show the difference in size with a Little Egret.They are pretty big.










It caught a fish much to the annoyance of other birds.








The Grey Heron put in a challenge but was no match for the Great White Egret.






Thursday, 13 September 2018

A COUPLE OF VISITS TO THE LOCAL PATCH.



At Marsh Lane early on Wednesday morning there were two bits of good news.The first was that the fencing had already been erected to keep out the cattle so Marsh Lane NR was safe.

The second bit of good news came to light after a walk round : A pair of Green Sandpipers dropped onto the CP pool and even better a Great White Egret was first spotted on the RW pool and then moved to the CP pool.

Couldn't get a decent shot of the Green Sandpipers but nice to see.




Got quite a few shots of the Great White Egret which isn't hard as they are so large.Here are a selection.














Went down again this morning but it was very quiet.Still I was able to try out the new camera kit which I am very slowly getting to grips with.A Wren came close but would not keep still.






Had a go at flight shots which were OK but I did pick easy subjects








Not mentioned the back garden feeding station for a while mainly because visitor numbers have dropped to virtually nil which is very annoying as I have nothing to practice using the camera on.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

CATTLE STAMPEDE AT MARSH LANE.


Last Friday I went down to Marsh Lane pretty early because the ringer Ben Dolan was coming down and quite often he catches some decent birds.I found his car parked down the causeway ( a long run of pathway between two bodies of water with steep banks on both sides).As soon as I found out he had had slim pickings on the reedbed pool I left and moved on to the railway pool.

It was pretty cold and I soon got fed up trying to find something on the railway pool so I headed back to see if Ben had had any luck.As soon as I got back onto the causeway I heard loud mooing from the reedbed pool area.Somehow the herd of 30+ cows had got through the fencing and were now on the reserve.I went into panic mode.

I glimpsed the herd  racing towards the causeway path from the right and I realized if they turned left onto the causeway I would be a dead man.I was now in full blown panic mode and somehow resisting the urge to scream I raced along the causeway when I saw Ben getting into his car.

He let me in just seconds before the herd now in full stampede mode turned onto the causeway and raced towards us.Seeing Ben's car blocking their way they charged up the bank on our left and raced by.The noise was deafening,clods of earth were being tossed into the air,their eyes were showing the whites and their mouths were foaming.A full mad stampede.Ben might have saved my life.

Help arrived later and the herd were eased off the reserve but not before other birders had had a fright as well.Marsh Lane is at the moment a very dangerous reserve to visit but I believe new fencing will be erected very soon to hopefully close the gap.

Back to more bird related news I am still struggling with my new mirrorless camera set up one of the problems is that since I've had it all the birds have stopped visiting my garden and I'm unable to test it and to set the camera up properly.Results so far have been disappointing.  

Did a bit better yesterday morning at Marsh Lane and managed a few not too bad shots.It's going to be a long learning curve.These are a couple of shots of the leader of the cow herd from Friday who was in a calmer mood luckily and he was at least 100m away.






Here some shots of stationery birds.All common birds but nice to see some returning Wigeon.










The big worry with the new set up is it is not supposed to be any good with flight shots which I loved  taking with my old set up.Had a go for the first time.It was harder but possible. 









Wednesday, 5 September 2018

OUT WITH THE NEW CAMERA.



The new camera (Panasonic DC-G9) and the new lens (Leica 100-400) arrived yesterday and the old Canon DSLR camera and lens were sold on earlier in the week.

Spent all day yesterday going through the manual which at 300+ pages is longer than the last 2 novels I've read.Quite honestly most of it went over my head.It's going to be a long learning curve.

My first efforts in the CP hide were a disaster.Both stored settings I'd set up for birding shots were not working nothing happened when I pressed the shoot button.I later found out it was working properly I'd set it unknowingly on silent mode.

Among the masses of crappographs I took from the oak hide of a Whinchat I did manage some good ones so if used correctly good shots are possible.Mind you I failed badly trying to get shots of an Osprey that flew over the RW pool as I was still under the impression that the stored bird settings weren't working.Damn ! ! !









Saturday, 1 September 2018

GREENSHANK VIDEO.


An attempt to download a video for the first time on the blog.It's of the Greenshank from yesterday at Marsh Lane.Taken with an old bridge camera.



Friday, 31 August 2018

A QUICK VISIT TO MARSH LANE.


A discussion at a chance meeting a few weeks ago with a friend and Canon camera enthusiast Mike Lane sowed a seed in my mind that grew and grew.Mike had sold all his high end Canon kit and had gone mirrorless.If Mike had done this it must be the way to go.

So I have just sold all my Canon kit : A 4 year old 7Dii camera and a very old Canon 400 prime lens for decent money and have ordered a Panasonic DC 9G camera and a Leica 100- 400 zoom lens.The new kit is smaller and lighter and has a better reach.Only time will tell if it's been the right move.

So this morning when I went to Marsh Lane all I was armed with was an old bridge camera and of course for the first time in a while there were some decent birds about.Three Yellow Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, a Wheatear and a Greenshank.

Not only was the bridge camera a bit down market but I'd forgotten how to use it.I did manage some shots of the Greenshank.











Wednesday, 22 August 2018

SLIM PICKINGS DOWN THE LOCAL PATCH.



Been down to Marsh Lane a couple of times since the last post but to be quite honest it's been hard work to find something decent to photograph.

Mind you I was unlucky on Monday morning when we found a couple of Greenshanks on the RW pool but they always remained distant and soon flew off South.An hour later we found another one on the Reedbed pool but again it was distant and this one also soon flew off.So no shots. Oh Dear ! ! 

The only shots taken were of a lone Green Sandpiper and that was distant as well.








NEWS FROM THE BACK GARDEN

Pretty quiet hear which is disappointing considering I've erected a fine bird restaurant.All I'm getting is quite a few LT Tits when the roaming mixed Tit flock decides to call in for a snack.