Tuesday 26 February 2013

This Week and Last

This morning I realised that I hadn't done any birding for a whole week.... ( It's probably down to a touch of the winter blues, this winter seems to be going on forever!) I decided to remedy this and go and try for a few additions to my patch photo yearlist. I'd seen that there were a few possibilities from reading a couple of local birders blogs, Tim had seen Dipper on Sunday and Sue had had some excellent views of Water Rail yesterday, I think. So these were my target species this morning and I'm pleased to say I managed to catch up with both of them and a couple of other additions to the list too...

But first, back to last Tuesday when I accompanied Ian M and his friend Alan to The Somerset Levels where we were hoping to see the Pied-Billed Grebe and possibly the drake Smew. We thought it would be nice and quiet after the first wave of twitchers at the weekend but it wasn't, there was still quite a crowd! The Pied-billed Grebe was playing very hard to get but we did manage to see it briefly, photos however were out of the question. I wasn't too concerned as I'd seen and photographed the one somewhere near Manchester in 2010. We saw a total of three Smew from the Decoy Hide, the gorgeous drake and a couple of redheads but they were a bit on the elusive side too. We did have good views as they flew in but then they disappeared into the reeds only giving the odd brief glimpse thereafter. Great birds to see, so I can't really complain, photos would just have been a bonus. I did get a few shots of one of the Great White Egrets and a nice male Marsh Harrier although both were rather distant.

Great White Egret

 Swooping down on a rather worried looking Gadwall!

Great White Egret and Marsh Harrier in this shot.

Male Marsh Harrier being watched by a Buzzard.

Back to today then. First I when along to Seaton Marshes where I didn't even have to leave the car park before I had good views of a Water Rail. It was concealed amongst brambles at the water's edge for a lot of the time so I waited for it to venture out far enough for a photo opportunity. Whilst I was waiting a second Water Rail arrived and the first one told it where to go in no uncertain terms! ... like so...

No. 49 Water Rail

The victor!

No.50  Moorhen

Then onto the River Coly where I soon found a Dipper in the 'usual spot' although it was difficult to creep up on with the sparse winter vegetation not providing me with much cover. I also added Grey Wagtail here.

 No.51 Grey Wagtail.
 Not looking at his best moulting into summer plumage.

No. 52 Dipper.

Already on the list... but it's
not often you see a Treecreeper perching, not tree-creeping.

Monday 18 February 2013

An Unexpected Addition to the List

Well I wasn't expecting to get Goldeneye on my photo patch yearlist! It's a rare bird on patch and if seen at all it's usually on the sea and hence not really photographable. This morning Ian M found one on the estuary, a female, which remained frustratingly near to the far bank but did have a little fly about too. I got a few shots for the list and although one would easily suffice, such a rare occurrence does deserves a few more, doesn't it?


No.47 Goldeneye

No.48 Wood Pigeon
Spring is in the air!

Already on the list Lapwing.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

That ***** Firecrest!

...Was showing really well early on Sunday morning apparently, ask Bun! Later in the morning I spotted it for mere seconds, so short was my view it was verging on subliminal!  If it weren't for the proof of a very poor but recognisable photo I took of it, I could have been forgiven for thinking I'd imagined it. Over the last three days I've spent over six hours trying to see it again, in the salubrious surroundings of Branscombe WTW and in all weathers too. I've enjoyed sunshine and endured rain, sleet, hail and snow, but to no avail. No second view or better photos were to be had. It is still there because Steve managed to see it yesterday for a whole five minutes! I'm going to allow the 'image' I got into my patch photo yearlist though, simply because the chances of seeing and photographing another one on patch are very slim. I said the same about Golden Plover though...and look what happened there! Hopefully lighting will strike twice!

 No.40 Firecrest .. 
Making a break for it...

A few more not so elusive additions are:

No.41 House Sparrow.

No. 42 Blue Tit

No.43 Teal

No.44 Wren

No.45  Shoveler

No.46 Siskin

Also, already on the list but this is the first decent flight shot I've managed of one...