Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Redstart ..... at last

It's always satisfying when you finally manage to get some pictures of a target species. I'd had a few trips after redstart, but was beginning to think I would only ever see them perched at the top of trees. However I did find a pair, and got closer views than I could ever have imagined ........
My first clear view of the male was when he posed on this gatepost and had a look at me. We then had a period of circumspect observation and finally a reasonable degree of acceptance. In time I was treated to a song - and even a song whilst doing some morning Tai Chi.
The female kept more in the shade, but was also fairly accepting of my presence - to the extent that I really needed to use a shorter lens.

As always better quality views can be seen on the web albums. Click HERE and then on the latest pictures section. Use the slideshow for the best views.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grey day

An early start at the weekend in the hope of catching redstart and/or pied flycatcher before the showers closed in. Caught the sun and had enjoyable, but distant views of a redstart singing his little cotton socks off at the tp of a tall tree.

The clouds had closed in by the time I reached Cannop ponds, but the grey wagtail and Mandarin ducks down on the stream were some recompense.

I found the perfect perch for a woodland bird to display against the bluebell carpet, but unsurprisingly none did.

The siskins had brought a juvenile to the feeders at the stoneworks - just a shame the portacabin background is a bit utilitarian. Pass me my photoshop ..........................

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wetland warblers and a home birth

My first trip for a while to Newport Wetlands. I'd heard that the numbers of Cetti's warbelrs was down, and certainly there seemed to be a lot fewer than last year, presumably due to the harder winter? The whitethroats seemed to be making up for it however. I gather they can be a boom and bust species, and this year they seem to be doing pretty well.
There were still some unpaired sedge warblers singing their little hearts out. Earlier in the year I thought how attractive the flowering blackthorn was with the mass of white flowers on the leafless stems, but now the hawthorn with flowers and leaves at the same time just looks so much more ...... well, more.
Down at the cafe the goslings were looking suitably cute, and almost made up for the fact that they've stopped selling bacon butties. I was offered a bacon and something panini, but come on guys. They'll be putting doilies on the tables next. Thank goodness they still sell black coffee.
At home we had the first fledgling sparrows on the lawn - hopefully one of our broods from the nest boxes, but I haven't had a chance to sit and watch them to confirm this.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I try, but the birds don't read the script!

On Saturday I headed back to Marshfield, still hoping for a decent corn bunting picture. Despite previous plans it was a struggle again. They are quite wary birds, quick to see you. They still use the bush to sing from, but hide on the far side. I did notice this one use these teasels a couple of times though. There wasn't any cover, but the next morning I was back early with some camo net and positioned myself (lying down)on one of the piles of topsoil dumped nearby. Whatever I might have looked like it wasn't a person! As you can see the light was from the right angle and the view should have been ideal. After what seemed an age (certainly well over an hour) the bunting flew in, swerved, and started singing just out of view. A quick adjustment and there it was, 3 feet off the mark. You can see what the shot could have been ............................
Sadly it didn't reappear despite another long wait- the motocross event and all the traffic probably didn't help. Que sera sera. after a few days I'm starting to wonder if it's worth just one more try. For. Glutton. Punishment. Please feel free to arrange in your own order.
Chastened at the time, on Monday I headed for the Forest in search of 1) Wood warbler and 2) anything else that came my way. Not brilliant warbler pics - grey day meant high ISO, but they'll do for starters - this is a new species for me.

When I was a kid I remember reading a description of the way small birds will mob a roosting owl. Chris Grady had told me about finding an owl that way, and finally it happened to me. I could hear several different species making a row in the trees away from the path, so in I went. Narrowly avoiding a broken ankle as I stumbled along I found the source - and was delighted to find it was indeed an owl. My first ever roosting tawny. Very high up and no good for pics, but I was still chuffed.
As usual some better quality pics in the 'latest pictures' web album HERE. I've also added some more shots to the USA blog HERE.