Thursday, 31 July 2014

Burton Mere Wetlands - Spotted Crake(s)

It's still July yet some good birds within reach and whilst I knew they would be very distant, I had to check out the Spotted Crakes at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands. Two adults and two chicks - they had split up with each parent looking after a single chick!

It was stacked converter time again - must have been at 200m range today though. I took up the challenge of just trying to get some sort of record shot? I'm almost inclined not to post these but......

This dodgy image is bird no 247 - Spotted Crake complete with chick :-)

More of the adult creeping along the distant reed bed....

And on occasions - completely out in the open! Even further away!!

 I'm in this for the birds and feather detail will come again soon? I hope.....

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Middleton Lakes - Pacific Golden Plover

What a scorcher and with news of a American / Pacific Golden Plover coming out in the Midlands, I was getting twitchy feet. Despite the venue being RSPB Middleton lakes and a mile + slog in the heat..... it had to be done!

Setting the scene from the causeway between the two viewing screens.....

Every twitch should have one!!!! No chance of this bird being pushed or flushed! There was a hair raising moment for one guy with a camera who foolishly rested it on the electric wire!! ouch!!!

The gallery with a big West Midlands turnout, I'm presuming this was a Staffs first?!

The electricity ensured no-one was going to get feather detail and as I'd not got the x 2 converter with me it was down to me struggling with the 1.4x. The digiscoping guys were having a field day!!

By the time I'd got there, the identity had been confirmed as Pacific Golden Plover and despite the distance, some acceptable record shots were forthcoming....

Long legs, white on the flanks and short primary projection all there.....

Two portraits to end with....

A planned trip to the Welbeck watchpoint, the following day, with Honey Buzzard performing on three occasions, including a flyover the road!  My camera was in the boot, given the size of the roadside gallery there :-( Never mind,   a double tick weekend, the yearlist still moving along nicely - now on 246 :-)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Seeswood Pool - Night Heron

Seeswood Pool near Nuneaton is primarily a popular fishing pool. Indeed it was a fisherman who alerted locals to the funny looking Heron and now it has become somewhat popular with birders :-)

I arrived early afternoon with the Night Heron zzzzzzzing at the back of a tangled mass of branches and willow. Eventually it emerged from slumber to perch and pose!

I'd estimate it was a full 100m across the pool so out came the 2x converter which was stacked together with the 1.4x to give some acceptable record shots?

Presumably the Cheltenham bird? This disappeared on the 9th July with one reported at Bough Beech res between 13 - 16th July and this bird was first identified on the 21st....

At least (despite the distance) it was a little more obliging.....

Not a new bird for the year but wonder what's coming next.....

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Bowling Green Marsh - Ross's Gull etc

Bowling Green Marsh is certainly performing at the moment with waders in their 100's plus (with patience)  a rather desirable gull!

The waders as ever were quite distant and it was scope work for (and this was a typical high tide count) c150 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted Redshank, c250 Redshank, 7 Dunlin, 1 Knot, 12 Whimbrel, c300 Curlew, 18 Greenshank and for completeness, 9 Lapwing, 3 Oystercatcher - not a bad assembly eh?

The closest bird of the day was also a goodie. This female Garganey was in the channel in front of the hide!

Record shots all the way for the rest of the post.....  It was about 2 hours before high tide and with in excess of 1,000 Black headed Gulls in - a small (solitary) newcomer made my day. Here it is flying in....

The somewhat tatty looking 2nd Summer Ross's Gull :-)

A nice comparison for size with this BHG.

I think it needs a few more primaries?

If the Ross's Gull was the star of the show, there were at least 7 Mediterranean Gulls of various ages.
A 1st Summer snoozing....

A 2nd Summer Mediterranean Gull standing out from the crowd!

Another 2nd Summer Med on the water

Having a wash.....

Adults too!

I'll finish with this adult departing....

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Pittville Park - Night Heron

A day on the PC beckoned but I was 'on call' for a scarcity'? Guess what? The Night Heron was back in Pittville Park, Cheltenham during the morning! I was contemplating but...... 'In trees' and 'elusive' aren't the best indicators for getting in the car and driving 60 miles?

A 'showing well' at 15:00 hours clinched it for me and I was with the small gallery watching (almost immediately) lots of twigs!

And there tucked behind them - the Night Heron!

A cleaner angle!

Stretching out to catch a fish!

The final hour I was there saw the Heron retreat into even denser vegetation and there was literally just one spot (18" off the ground) where it could be seen! My poooooor back :-( Will i never learn?

Was it worth it for more record shots?

I reckon so, might as well get the best you can when the conditions are dire!

Just look at that eye, useful for nocturnal activities eh?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Polemere - Swallows

Despite all the travelling and with locals wondering if I'd left the Country, I still make the occasional check of local reserves? And then realise the benefits of travelling around....... decent birds :-)

Nevertheless, I've always been one to point a lens at any birds which are doing something interesting and this includes a recently fledged trio of Swallows at Polemere!

A composite sequence (while they were perched up for 20 mins or so)!

This youngster going piggy back to gain a  prominent position for food!

Here comes dinner!

Then off to catch more insects......

The moment of delivery :-)

But apart from Coots, Mallards etc there was not a lot going on......

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Broomhill Flash - Black-necked Grebe

The journey back from Seahouses was broken up by a brief stop at Broomhill Flash in the Dearn valley. I've not come across Black-necked Grebe this year and always nice to get on in summer plumage!

It was never close to the hide but at least it strayed within record shot range on occasions!

Accumulating a lot of weed on its back :-)

But that's where the food is!

A nice end to a brilliant few days in the North East......