Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Brandon Marsh - Early Morning Visit


I tend to be an early morning birder which usually gives me freedom before the crowds arrive and it is generally cooler but has the downside of either poor light or low, direct sunlight. This morning it was direct sunlight that gave me problems as I sat in the Carlton Hide trying to get pics of an obliging Kingfisher. Still, I am not a photographer..............................! Arriving at 0600, I managed 51 bird species before leaving at 0930. Nothing special or new about so I just enjoyed relaxing in the hides. What a pleasure it was, staring at the mud outside Teal Pool Hide with its stagnant odour! However, this was where the Redshanks and Little Ringed Plovers were, so it was not so bad. The other pleasure was being bitten and having blood drawn by the many biting insects - such joy! (A list of todays sightings is at the end of this post).


Redshank

Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Lapwing

Jay

Common Buzzard



(More images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Magpie; Greenfinch; Blackbird; Chaffinch; Jackdaw; Song Thrush; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Swallow; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Blue Tit; Cettis Warbler; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Canada Goose; Grey Lag Goose; Chiffchaff; Willow Warbler; Blackcap; Wren; Robin; Great Tit; Stock Dove; Long Tailed Tit; Dunnock; Swift; Grey Heron; Common Tern; Blach Headed Gull; Reed Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Reed Bunting; Bullfinch; Green Woodpecker; Whitethroat; Buzzard; Coot Lapwing; Redshank; Shoveler; Teal; Mute Swan; Moorhen; Little Ringed Plover; Cuckoo; Gadwall; Kingfisher; Oystercatcher; Jay; Sparrowhawk.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Marsh Lane & Berkswell


Popped into Berkswell at 0700 to see if I could get some close-up images of Spotted Flycatchers and failed miserably! They were there but had chosen to feed in the darkest area of woodland making pics dark and blurry with high ISO required. Decided to move on to Marsh Lane for a couple of hours before returning to Berkswell where I met up with Max who was not having any better luck and we both ended up having to sit out the heaviest rain shower for many weeks! Max got the wettest! Other interesting birds included Nuthatch, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff.


Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher


On to Marsh Lane where everything seemed to be in an aggressive mood with Grey Heron v Grey Heron; Coot v anything that came to close; Tufted Duck v Tufted Duck and even the Oystercatchers were sparring each other! Rather like a senior managers working day! Nothing out of the ordinary about but it was nice to sit in relative peace, while the birds sparred each other. Spent some time concentrating on getting images of the Grey Herons and Common Terns. (Complete list of sightings at end of post).


Grey Heron

Grey Heron


Coot

Common Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern


Common Tern

Reed Bunting


Coot


Oystercatcher

Grey Heron with Oystercatcher


(More images on my website - see link opposite)



Marsh Lane Sightings:

Skylark; Swift; Wood Pigeon; Lapwing; Grey Heron; Coot; Teal; Tufted Duck; Reed Bunting; Mutes Swan; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Sand Martin; Common Tern; Moorhen; Grey Lag Goose; Mallard; Black Headed Gull; Starling; Magpie; Pochard; Shoveler; LBB Gull; Pheasant; Dabchick; Reed Warbler; Linnet; Wren; Blackbird; Redshank; Oystercatcher; Gadwall; Black Swan; Song Thrush; Stock Dove; Blackbird; Buzzard; Green Woodpecker; Goldfinch; Bullfinch; Great Tit; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Sedge Warbler.

Monday, 28 June 2010

The Monster still to be Tamed!

I have a monster in my pocket that has still to be tamed! What is it? you may well ask (visions of ladies swooning as imaginations run into overdrive) - well, it is a new mobile phone. My trusty ten year old (+) sim card thingy has finally retired, and biting the bullet, I arranged a contract phone. I am now the owner of a touchy, feely, strokey mobile that is too scary to take out. It buzzes, rings and begs release to search the internet (and more) but when I touch it, the unexpected happens! Apparently its called a "smartphone", well it will need to be pretty ingenious to allow me to enter its deeper secrets! Any volunteers to educate me in the touchy, feely, strokey skills?


You may have guessed, but I do not do new technology!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Welney Woe!


What do I have in common with a reclusive, cave dwelling, Peruvian Holy Man? - NEITHER of us have seen the Welney White Spotted Bluethroat!

Welney was my destination for today, having been spurred on and motivated by Max's super images. The day was hot and sunny - not to my liking at all and things did not improve with the Bluethroat having a day off. Arriving at 0930 when the gates to the reserve opened, I was soon relieved of my £6.70 entrance fee, and joined the small crowd searching the area between Buxton and Lyle Hides. Three hours soon passed and no sign or sound. I decided enough was enough, with the heat increasing and my mood decreasing, so headed back towards the car park, only to meet a group of birders by the pond dipping area. Those dreaded words were uttered "It was on the path, HERE, ten minutes ago!" Of course , it did not reappear. Thinking it might be heading back to its favoured area near the Lyle Hide, I returned, braving the heat, only to be told "still no sign"! The Bluethroat was seen for about five minutes today - is it about to leave?

I suppose this is why I do not often "twitch" birds. Very little else was about (list at end of post) so I spent the time taking (poor) shots of birds that I could easily have seen within a few miles of home! Ahhh well thats birding!



Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail

Juv Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Reed Bunting

Swallow

Pied Wagtail

Mute Swan

Common Tern

Hornet

Hornet


(More poor images on my website - see link opposite)

Todays Sightings:

Rook; House Sparrow; Goldfinch; Wood Pigeon; Linnet; Swallow; Swift; Sedge Warbler; Starling; Black Headed Gull; Marsh Harrier; Pied Wagtail; Carrion Crow; House Martin; Collared Dove; Jackdaw; Tree Sparrow; Little Egret; Moorhen; Mallard; Wren; Ruff; Oystercatcher; Cormorant; Lapwing; Blackbird; Avocet; Skylark; Reed Bunting; Blue Tit; Cuckoo; Kestrel; Mute Swan; Teal; Grey Heron; Redshank; Coot; Reed Warbler; Yellow Wagtail; Shelduck; Shoveler; Chaffinch; Robin; Common Tern; Grey Lag Goose; Stock Dove; Little Ringed Plover; Corn Bunting.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A Morning on a Welsh Hillside!



I had to do it! Having seen Dave Huttons superb images, I needed to go to Blorenge, Gwent to see the long staying mega Marmora's Warbler (Lifer).  My decision was not made until quite late Monday evening and with my alarm set for 0400, I was soon embarking on the two hour journey into Wales. Leaving home the morning was bright, after an hour the sun was shining bright, but arrival on Blorenge was horrid! It was dull, cold, windy and only lacked rain & snow! With two fleeces, waistcoat, waterproof coat, woolley hat (no gloves - forgot them, after all this is summer?), but only lightweight trousers and I was soon feeling the windchill, and wished I had kept my pyjamas on underneath as I sometimes do in winter! I parked by the radio masts (as per RBA directions) and walked half a mile down the hill to join a small number of hardy birders - the walk and a coffee warmed me , and I was ready for a couple of hours scanning. During a quiet period, I "raced" back up the hill to warm myself up and bring the car down to the lower car park where everyone else had parked. The sun eventually appeared and the temperature started to rise, as did the Marmora's activity.The mood was good, entertaining and everyone was well behaved (no excursions onto the moor).

The Marmora's Warbler was quite elusive and it was about an hour before it showed, singing its heart out and tending to favour the holly bush. Regular viewers reported a circuit that the bird completes, but today it did not follow any pattern, remained distant with only a brief appearance on the bush near the road that it carries nesting material to.

While waiting, several Whinchats (two year tick) posed for the cameras, Tree Pipits sang out from their posts on the scattered bushes competing with Willow Warbler, a solitary Stonechat made a brief appearance and overhead Buzzard and Raven  soared. The only other bird of note was a female Redstart seen in the wooded areas on my descent back to the main road.

I stayed until 1130, leaving when the Marmora's took up its favourite perch on the holly bush, singing loudly and showing no sign of moving after twenty minutes.

The images below are nowhere near as good as Daves, but they are better than I expected and will serve as a memory of this fantastic life "mega". I still do not consider myself a "twitcher" though!

Whinchat




Marmora's Warbler

Todays "typical" view!

An "atmospheric" pic!



(More images on my website - see link opposite)