Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rorschach spawnfest

Let's do the Rolf Harris bit. Can you tell what it is yet? Maybe like the old ink-blot test it'll tell you something about your psyche!

Playing around I thought it looked somewhat alien in nature .............

but yes, it's just a frog or three.
Each spring the ponds at the Nagshead RSPB reserve throb to the motorbike thrum of hundreds of mating frogs. It may not look too much at first .........
but a close-up of the blob in the middle shows a mass of frogs.
In terms of spawn this was early days yet. By today there is probably a mass more spawn, but for me it's the noise that's the thing to live in the memory. I took a stack of shots a couple of years ago, and took a stack more this year, although as seems to be the case of late the weather fell far short of what I'd hoped for. Rather than put up too many more of the (grey) same, a few pic's of one of the groups of 3 frogs 'glued together - a female sandwiched between 2 males.

In the shot below you can see how both the males have distended throats as they are caught in mid-croak, gently squeezing their resigned suitress between resonating airbags.

OK, a couple of standard shots to finish.

If you live nearby pop along and just follow the motocross sound - soon though, or you'll miss it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Portishead, pipits, purple peepless

Hopes of purple sandpipers were dashed, perhaps because the 'high' tide on Saturday was at risk of falling foul of the trade descriptions act, but there was a bonus in the form of a few rock pipits plus a chance to chat to the guys picking up a few codling. The sun wasn't quite right, leading to some slightly odd colour casts, but let's face it it's not like the plumage has too much colour to cast!

I say rock pipits, and common things being common no doubt they are. But having looked in my books I'm not sure I would be so able to tell from water pipits. Let alone Scandinavian rock pipits!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Bigfoot birding

So there I was settled down to try and snap a few more birds at Rich's field, when an avian yeti appeared in front of the lens.
Until then I'd had a chance to snap a few more of the regulars, although the fawn coloured greenfinch still eludes me.

As you will surely have guessed the clue to the ownership of the feet lies in the grain the house sparrow is feeding on ......
Still this is not the most bizarre invader of one of my feeding stations. Many years ago when I first was reigniting my interest in photography I heard of a place in the Forest of Dean (I know a great woodland going cheap to anyone who'll take it off the Tory hands) where the mythical hawfinch could be found. I didn't have a hide, but put down some seed and hid behind a tree. You can imagine my surprise when this creature emerged!
The hawfinch did eventually appear, and this was a real spur to me - even if my camera kit fell well short of range!

One bit of sad news. Rich's barn owls reared several chicks to fledging this year, and I had a few lovely late evenings watching them flitting around the trees and fields. Sadly in October one was found dead 11km away alongside a road near Stroat. Many barn owls are lost this way, presumably a combination of their hunting style and the lack of suitable pasture leading to roadside verge use.
I had been worried how the parents had survived the winter, so set up my newly acquired trail cam on a roost site they often use - judging by the pellets. it was great to find that they were both alive and well despite the snow. Click the image for a larger view.
From Rich's Field