Saturday, 28 August 2010

A Wonderful Evening's Birding

I  thought I'd spend a nice quiet couple of hours down at Black Hole Marsh/Colyford Common this evening. Seeing as it was the first dry and sunny evening for a few days several other local birders had a similar idea. Black Hole Marsh was on top form after having been drained for the construction of the new hide and 'gangplank' arrangement. 'Star of the show' this evening was a Spotted Redshank ( less than annual on patch) which dropped in from the north. I was immensely pleased with myself for spotting and identifying it in flight, having only heard one calling once before. It landed on the far side of the marsh, so gave reasonable views but no real photo opportunities. When I say it was the 'star bird' I might not be being totally accurate, it was indeed the rarest bird on show this evening and a couple of locals even 'twitched' it, but the remaining Ruff (there were two earlier in the week) was getting a lot of the attention merely for being a 'showy tart' and we all like one of them! Other birds on the marsh were good numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers (30+ of each), Common Sandpipers 3, Green Sandpipers 5, Greenshank 1, Black-tailed Godwit 7 and a Wheatear. Bun and I popped over to check Colyford Common/Marsh and saw another Wheatear, 4 Greenshanks, 2 Green Sandpipers and the two elusive Wood Sandpipers that have been around for a while. A great bonus came when Bun spotted that the Barn Owl which resides on the opposite side of the valley from the Colyford hide was out of its nest box and perched in a tree. After a few minutes it flew off, but reappeared later at Black Hole Marsh, much to the assembled birders' delight. It hunted along the ditch and bank at the southern edge for a couple of minutes before being 'seen off' by the inevitable Crow attack. A superb end to a wonderful evenings birding! ( the Barn Owl that is, not the subsequent Crow attack).Here follows divers pictorial representations, or indeed, loadsa photos!
The'embyonic' new hide
This is a Spotted Redshank, HONESTLY!

The Spotted Redshank Twitch.
 Featuring Gavin Haig, who for a while (or so it seemed) was also heading for 'less than annual' status!
The elusive pair of Wood Sandpipers, showed annoyingly briefly.

Far too many Ruff photos.
Seeing as Gavin's shown you how well the Panasonic Lumix FZ38 takes photos of close Ruffs, I'll show you how disappointing the Canon SX1 is proving to be, this being the very best of an awful bunch, I've had the SX1 for about three months now and can categorically state that it isn't a patch on my old S3IS... far. Though there's still time to 'crack it' I suppose.

Digiscoped Shots
(It was too near most of the time!)

I knew there was no chance of getting a decent photo of the Barn Owl with the SX1 in the fading light so I set it to video, something it is good at (and I haven't tried the HD video yet) here's the resulting very short clip of the Barn Owl hunting and then being mobbed by a Crow. You can see my house in the background at 0.70.

Finally, I don't suppose anyone is the slightest bit interested to find out how my optically challenged guinea pig is getting on, but I'm gonna tell you anyway! After two weeks she was finally given the all clear by the vet this afternoon. He's saved her eye physically, but she will never have any sight in it. Seeing as her name is Sparkle, I've fashioned her a beautiful diamant√© eye-patch made from the finest cubic zirconia available on Ebay. ;-)



Henry Johnson said...

loving the barn owl video... and the eye-patch is priceless! you should start a range. rabbit ear-defenders..? pipes for budgies..?

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Henry..Good idea re, the range, Rabbit Ear-defenders eh? I'll start working on them straight away!

Angie said...

Fabulous photos on your blog. Sorry about your GP's eye. I had a GP by accident really(rescued). He was wonderful & I miss him :-( Love your Spotted Flycatcher.

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks for commenting Angie. I found my first GP dumped on the side of the road! He was unwanted due to overgrown teeth, he cost me a small fortune in vets bills but subsequently died :-( Since then I've somehow acquired six more!! Love 'em though :-)