Wednesday 18 November 2009

Another Good Day on Patch.

Very uncharacteristically I was slobbing round the house in my dressing gown at 9.50 this morning (pathetic I know) when I got a text from Gav saying that the Snow Bunting was still on Beer Head, after having been reported there yesterday. Incredibly for me (coz I'm such a ditherer) I was on site a mere ten minutes later. It was very, very windy indeed on Beer Head, so much so that due to carrying (a lead lined? I'm sure Nikon stuck a lump of lead in it when they repaired it!!) scope I found it difficult to walk in a straight line! Fortunately the bird was very confiding, allowing us to approach quite closely, on our hands and knees most of the time. Even hunkered right down it was impossible to get adequate shelter to prevent serious scope shake, mine was even blown over once! The windy conditions are my excuse for having to take 240 photos just to get a few in focus. About 5% were I'd say. It was a young male bird and was very smart.Snow Buntings are definitely one of my favourite birds. Here are a small selection of  the photos that were in focus:

Here's one without the scope to show how near it was at times.

Gav trying to scare it with his 'famous' bird friendly hat.
 Very blurred, but it doesn't distract from the effect of the hat does it?!!

Buntings all look so weird head on, like they're wearing goggles!

I don't know what I altered on the camera for these next two shots (I was accidentally pressing all sorts due to the buffeting I was getting) because they've come out with a very different colour tone, although I think I remember the sun coming out briefly.

Gorgeous and most very welcome on patch.
Hope we don't have to wait another three years for the next one.

This afternoon the good birding continued when Steve spotted two Little Gulls over Black Hole Marsh and a short while later Gav spotted the same off  The Axe Yacht Club. When I found out that  they were close inshore I just had to go down to the beach and try for a few photos. I've managed to photograph Little Gull close inshore here before, but on that occasion it was the only bird on view. Today the two Little ones were in amongst a large feeding flock of mixed gulls, easy enough to spot with the naked eye, but through the awful electronic viewfinder of the S3.... I don't think so!! I wildly pointed it at anything that might be one of the Little Gulls and hoped for the best. A few worked out okay-ish and one I'm really quite pleased with, considering! ;-)

Here are a few snaps from the beach this afternoon then:

 An atmospheric shot of Beer Head, where I hear the Snow Bunting was nowhere to be seen this afternoon.

After all the rough weather we've had recently I wasn't in the least surprised to see loads of these on the beach. Although it was almost three years ago now, crap from the MSC Napoli is still regularly washed up here, like this massive ball of yarn and BMW headlight unit. A man from the council was picking up hypodermics too. :-(

Rex wasn't in the least impressed with his walk. " I might be blind in one eye and have tunnel vision in the other but I can't see at all in this wind mum!" He was even less impressed moments later when we were caught out by a massive wave; it knocked him over and I got soaked from the waist down! I must be bonkers.

Anyway here's some of the slightly shonky results of my endeavours.

The second winter bird.

The adult bird.
Little Gull is definitely my favourite gull. I love 'em!

And finally here's the photo I was pleased with getting, totally by chance, coz I couldn't see exactly what I was pointing the camera at! The 2nd winter Little Gull, a Common Gull and a Black-headed Gull all in a line and in focus!!

Cool :-)


Gavin Haig said...

Some really nice pics there Karen, particularly that last one - superb!

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Gav. :-)

I'm amazed how well both our Snow Bunting photos turned out, considering the windy conditions up there. I reckon people will think we were exaggerating a bit. As if!?