Wednesday 30 January 2008

Spring has Sprung??? Really!

Crikey! is it May already?? no its just another one of the feints that we get thrown from time to time, except the intervals are getting shorter. Flowers pushing through allover the place and snow forecast for the weekend. The nest building Grebes will be raising their nests yet again before the middle of next month. Nice? yes, Cold? yes, unless you found a spot in the sunshine
boy! was that nice.

The path down to the Public hide presented me, again with some nice Bullfinch in the hedge row this time I had six, three pairs, all grazing on the emerging shoots, sadly none got onto the branch's with the flowers on them, a real shame. And they were real flighty blighters. Something for the next day with some light.

So after what seemed like a couple of hours I moved down to the feeding station, having heard that a nice male was courting!! among five females, and sure enough there he was, never a disappointing bird this. Mind you to try and get him in the clear and not on the floor is always a very much wait and see period.
With Tree sparrows and Greenfinch etc. all looking resplendent in their new plumage's the arrival of Nuthatch and GSW was a bonus, and all in good penetrating light. mind you a bit of thrown flash was used to lighten the harsh shadows, sort of.
Now one of the visitors I had been hoping to catch up with, had so far eluded my attempts to get a snap or two, on first checking the pool the only birds of note were Shelduck, Shoveller and Oyster catcher, but no Pink footed goose.
So after the feeding station it was another check in the public hide, as I had heard a large skein of geese arrive not long before. Whoopee!! and there it was just casually swimming in front of the hide, like it was taunting me with its good looks? And when you compare it against the accompanying Grey lag geese it is remarkably more pleasing to the eye. Don't know about the belly though!!! ;-)

Well the time did fugit and I was of to take a look around the Walcot bridge area, there was a large mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing moving through the fields but not a lot of anything else as I move along to the Isombridge area, mind you it retains it's potential even though the hedges have had a real strict haircut!
So with the promise of some snow on the higher ground it promises to be an interesting time up in the hills.
So see you all in a few days or so.

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Storms and forms !!

Well a weekend at the Solway firth, in torrential rain and gusts over 70mph, precluded many photographs may be any at all, still editing.

However tips from the gurus Peter Cairns and Danny Green (winner of the international wildlife photographer of the year) also Chris Gomersal was well good.

An expensive breakdown forced an earlier than planned return and more than a few forms.
Still and interesting and eventful trip. Well worth a look see if your in that area of the country.

One for Jim, for Bluethroats real close and I mean close go to Leiden and ask for Vogel platz Vleitland. approx 45mins from Oostervareplas.

ok Hopefully more to come.


Tuesday 22 January 2008

Did you see the sunshine??

Seeing the colour reflected on the underside of the clouds as I woke this morning prompted a rapid response, breakfast, shoes cameras etc and coffee I was of to the floods around the Atcham area for a good mooch around.
What a difference gone were the long grey faces of yesterday and the wet dull roadways reflected in the sky all over, now people were smiling, talking to the person next to them in the buss Que, instead of huddling in their coats with collars and hoods up.
The sight of the vast silvered lakes covering all the available space at Atcham was a bit surreal as the naked trees were reflected in the swirling waters of the river and birds hunched up in the branches looking like lost and forgotten Christmas baubles waiting for the lights to return. needless to say there was very little of note, Goosander, Canada Geese, mallard and a few Black headed gulls.
I arrived at Venus pools to find more cars parked than I expected, it was straight to the Feeding station to see what was moving around. The feeders were virtually empty and that was causing a stir as the more adventurous or aggressive try'd to dominate the feeders to reach the last of the seed ,. This was interesting, the interactive and inter species patterns were fantastic to watch as you do not normally see this when the feeders were full.
This is the only shot of the Brambling of the ground, a nice bird shame no nice males in the vicinity at the moment, the flocks in Wiltshire are reaching over 100+.
It was on the way out that once again the Bull finches were grazing the new shoots like a small herd of cows, but would not let me get close to them, so just a couple of record shots were taken before leaving for home and a well earned tea or two.
A nice female but insisted in staying in the top of the trees.
Not a large and verbose episode but the main reason for VP today was to watch and track the Short tailed vole for the up coming project todays count was 6 both in and outside the feeding area, must check out the area in the dark for Tawny etc??
So thanks for coming and see you again .

Sunday 20 January 2008

Microtis Agrestis and what a nice one!

You never really know whats in store for you on any day you venture out, and today was just like that, I had arrived at priorslee early, well for me at least. My first impressions were soon confirmed by a meeting with Ed who confirmed that the area was quite. So as it was wet and windy I decided after a while to try for Dipper at the old favourite Longnor bridge, but with all the rivers and streams in flood I did not really expect to find one on station. On the way down I stopped briefly at Condover, nothing, other than hundreds of scramblers tearing around the stubble and turning it into a quagmire so I left.

My arrival at the bridge I was proven right so it was a check around the Acton Burnell castle, just a few crests etc and a nice covey of Red legged partridge. Then onto Venus pools and a look around , water very poor.
Brambling at the feeding station (R) No Siskin today but a nice Redpoll dropped in for a while, joining in with a large flock of Longtailed tit feeding on the feeders.

Not exactly a nice picture but good for upperparts viewing, as you tend to see the underparts as they feed high on the alders around the reserve.

Now for ages I have watched small mammals around the feeding stations collecting and or feeding on the discarded or dropped seeds, so far I have seen Wood mouse, the good old Rat and Common / Short tailed Vole. By the way a favourite food for Tawney, Kestrel etc. So this chap / chapess seems to be very brave or what ever the opposite is.
At first glance many people would say Woodmouse, but the colouration and body style stops that statement pretty quickly along with body length. Watching this one was brill as it scurried in and out of the trunks adjacent to the seed scattered floor underneath the feeder. Even better was the sighting of a second vole just in front of the hide, so already some ideas are forming of close up shots!!! that should be interesting. It would of course mean lying under the hide with camo or remote fired close ups I shall see, and hopefully so will you.

So hopefully whetted you appetite I shall see you again.

Take care and good hunting, if you have questions relating to or about Digital photography be it Camera or Digiscopeing pop it into the guestbook , to include Photoshop, Lightroom and ACDsee.

Have sorted out the double click on the image problem so you can now double click for a larger image.

By for now.


Thursday 17 January 2008

The Duck, the myth, the leg ring!!!

Hi how you doing? I have eventually gotten to doing my backlog of photographs from Monkmoor of the Ring necked duck, and one picture could change the whole outlook on the originality of this bird!

So with out to much preamble here it is.
A leg ring! oh dear!! but you never know it could be a ringing release?

Still sleeping.

And a few others that have been about.

Going down.

now was that not a nice day to be out and about, nothing new or spectacular just a nice day, and all the gulls on the pre-roost buggered of when the kids at the sailing club paddled their boats right around the lake.

At least the butty van is open till 15:30 now so a cuppa as you wait.

It is a bit short but it gets it out there!!

See you again shortly


Sunday 13 January 2008

Another new year tick

The Monkmoor sewage works outside of Shrewsbury, does not conjure up scarce birds, but it has now yet again thrown up a nice bird for the start of the year.

Although the Ring Necked Duck female has been floating (Sic) about the county, since before Christmas it has eluded many, requiring it for either the end of year list or the new year list. But on Friday the report came out that it was again showing well at the Monkmoor pool.

This site is a key only entry and might put people of from going, sadly the keys that have been signed out on "loan" do not get returned so they are in short supply, one young man ( a pint will do Jim!) has been waiting for close to three years. But today the luck was in for a lot of the counties watchers, and to boot the bird did actually rise from its slumbers long enough for one or two pictures to be taken. In keeping with the weather it was bloomin awful, take a picture of a brown duck on dull grey water under a dull grey sky?? caw! love a duck,, not!.
But we do not give in, sadly sacrificing some quality in the process.

So after that where next,? well with the dismal light it would need close ups and interest, so it was Venus Pools!! what you kidding? I know the pool was barer than a bum in a mooning contest, but the feeders, now that's a different matter. There seems to be always something going on around the feeders in and out of the surrounding trees etc.

SO here we go.

Hope you enjoyed


Friday 11 January 2008

All flights grounded due to Fog?

It was just like that this morning as I arrived at Priorslee lake, it was covered in a good layer of mist / fog, a lazy wind cutting to the bone extremely quickly.

The Gulls were enjoying a float in! as they waited out the poor visibility. There were of course the odd moment when they all lifted, as a people dragger! (dog with person attached) or two moved around the lake and got a bit to close to the flock.

On the first scan nothing was seen, but the second, as they changed position, produced the target for the day. Now how often do you find the bird you are looking for in the ideal position in a Flock? well this one conformed to the norm and was sat right in the middle, not only of the flock but the lake.

So that being the case the pictures were going to be difficult to get, but get they were. I make no apologies for the quality! but proof is got.

Take of.
Nice white primaries.

The bird was still on the water as I left, (having returned after a flight out, right after I had put the news out of it leaving) to investigate the situation at VP, at least I could get in out of the weather, a chance to warm and dry out a bit. A nice Bullfinch pair outside the main hide and a few tit flocks roaming around in the rain. No Pintail, in fact not a lot of anything else.

Needing to get the Whoopers and Golden plover on the sheet for the year and as it was really just down the road, of I goes. The Golden plover flock was split into two and an estimate of the group as a whole would be 400 to 500 birds.

The scene at Melverley was something else, the river was in flood and flowing very fast under and very near to the height of the bridge. The area around the Whooper site was now showing the extent of low lying ground, which at times had hidden the true numbers of swans feeding in the area. The maximum count today was of 6 Adults and one Juvenile, all of them feeding far of swimming the flooded fields, The Black swan was still there and still ostracised probably on account of it's strange accent!!
With some intrigue, after this mornings report of the Barn owl at Acton Burnell I took a look around, more to acquaint myself with the area, than find an Owl. But as per many others the location eluded me. The rain had persisted all the time I was out and now the time had been lost I did not make the Ellesmere roost for the reported Icelandic and Ring billed gull. So if your up there please drop it on the answer machine so i can get the information out as soon as possible.

That's it, a soggy and cold day but an interesting one at least.
hope you enjoy, and don't forget the guest book for your comments!!! clean or otherwise.

Monday 7 January 2008

Glaucous got! loads to go

I did not make the early start planned for the day, damn chores and chaos for those returning to work. But not yours truly!

Arriving at around 09:30 the lake was quite with just a hand full of larger gulls on the water, and no butty van for hot coffee either, bugger! So rather than run around like a headless chicken I hung around in the wind and rain, 30 mins, 40 mins Yippee thar she blows. like a lot of the larger gulls it just dropped in from a great height and proceeded to splash about having a good clean. The camera was in the car, run? I could have beaten linford Christie!
All set ready steady blast whats wrong? the card was failing to register. But there was no need to panic the Glauc had lifted and was of to the Granville direction high and fast with the others.

After a few expletives! I decided to check the Flash, you know out of desperation more than anything else.
And like old mother hubbards,
it was bare. a nice groups of 28 Goosander (7males) and it rained again real rain as well! so I put a few in the bag and gave up for the day, after re-checking Priorslee, pf course. This time it was getting really full Know I do not know if this was the Lightmoor or Granville crew but there was loads and it was scanned very carefully 3 times just in case!!! but no so try again in the morning.

and a bad hair day!

Oh did I say it rained???
So lets see what tomorrow brings??

Sunday 6 January 2008

No Glaucous or White crowned Sparrow!!

Not having earned enough brownie points for a week end away, meant missing the Sparrow, another Mega missed this year already, Still it's only a Sparrow, curse curse.

and not a sniff of the Glauc. The mindset being as the tips were not working the gulls stayed there to roost??

It was a nice day so spent the morning at the Priorslee Balancing lake, not real productive but a couple of new ones for the year, 5 nice Bullfinch and a group of Siskin. The remainder consisted of Wigeon 2 of, Gadwall 5 of, and a very nice Grey wagtail.

As it was Sunday, I knew it would be busy at VP but I just had to go there as I needed the Pintail for the new year list, at first it was just not visible but a minute later it sailed out from behind the Sallows, a stonking Male.

So nailed it was after Brambling at the feeder station, stopping of on the way for a Redwing feeding in the meadow.

With the bright light it was much easier to get a reasonable shot in the feeding station area than normal, the first was the target Brambling.

As I was there and things were a poppin I dropped a few shots in to the bag for the stock / archives.

As I said or should have done, nothing spectacular today for the county but I am sure tomorrow the mega will arrive, when it will be a lot quieter all over the place, yahoo!

A parting shot !!
Not to much but hope you enjoy?