Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Ok,on the face of it,Two Alpine Swifts,Lesser Kestrel and Great Grey Shrike doesnt sound like a bad day does it....but i have to tell you in my whole birding career,i have never been more pissed off than i was yesterday!!! Well first you have to take into account i made the journey to East Suffolk once on saturday,only for the Pallid Swift to disappear on me-then for it to show well the next day,along with two Alpine Swifts at Lowestoft,and to top it off a Bloody Lesser Kestrel at Minsmere/Dunwich.Also you have to take into account my birding hoppo cant drive far because of some undiagnosed hip/knee/back problem that is agony after 30mins in the driving seat....so the driving is down to me who shouldnt be sitting for more than 20 mins !!! I wasnt overly keen to twitch the Pallid Swift on sat never mind again.........anyway Monday(couldnt go monday docs,Physio ect) afternoon Lesser Kestrel not seen since late afternoon...Pallid Swift drifted off -trip off (have seen all before so no big deal really).Tuesday morning all were back-FUCK !!! Ok i was ready at 8.30 ....hoppo pissed about till nearly 10am ...my temper was up...no worries though birds would soothe all worries.......then Lesser Kestrel not seen again,Pallid Swift drifted off...ok we can get the Alpines,i can get some great pics...oh FUCK !!! i cant its pissing it down with rain !!! temper up again.Arrived at Lowestoft,parked up-bloody hell two Alpines above the appartment block,rain stopped sky clearing.......grabbed camera,followed swifts up the side of building,to get the light....round the corner they went-round the corner i went,down the other side of the building they went-i went......round the other corner they went and then FUCKED off into the distance!!!! BOLLOCKS!! They came back for 45 seconds and some crap images captured .......40mins later still no sign.......blue sky heading my way...perfect for swift photography and they would surely come back! Never mind said hoppo,the Kestrel is back.....hmmm i said its distant you know......cracking bird though he said.....ok we can come back here later.....blue sky bound to have gone here but it will make the Kestrel view hazy........talk about self fulfilling prophicies (spelling??) I already knew it was gonna be a crap day!! Well lets talk Kestrel what an absolute fucking joke!!! about half a mile away a hawthorn-somewhere there it was........ 1 hour later (with Alpine Swifts and now the Pallid swifts showing well) A fucking hazy rusty coloured shape,seeming to be sat on a post.....was it a bird???? All the time people all around counting its primary coverts and marvelling at its yellow cere !!! FUCK OFF !!!! see my photo!!! Right i was now REALLY PISSED OFF !!! Great grey Shrike was found........bloody hell fire.....that dot in the birch....what a waste of time!!! See photo! Right Pallid swift blue sky...consolation !!?? oh its clouding over now...FUCK!!!! Kessingland......is the Swift still showing?? No mate flew south 20 mins ago!!! FUCK FUCK FUCK !!!! 30mins and 2 White wags later, 5.40pm heavy rain set in.....what a thoroughly BASTARD of a day !!!!!!!!!! We did everything wrong...wrong place wrong time....timed perfectly.........what did hoppo have to say..........we should have set off earlier !!!!!!! AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH And to top it all off best shots of either the Pallid or Alpines was today with the beautiful azure blue skies !!! AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Ok so ive got the last two posts the wrong way around,this was the day before the last post (following me!!?) Anyway,decided to try again for better shots of the Hunstanton Alpine Swift and whatever else turned up.Stopped in at Hunstanton but the Swift had disappeared so went on to Titchwell,not much doing really,good views of Avocet,and pretty good views of a very tatty looking water Pipit,i presume it was wet and in heavy moult -pink starting to come through on the breast.Had just got back to the car park when a Pallid Swift came on from Kessingland Suffolk-hmmm can i risk driving that far with my dicky back....well my hoppo really wanted to see it,so ok off we went.11.45am..............1.30pm-pager message... no sign of the Pallid Swift since 12.15pm !!!!!!! I wish these messages would come on sooner !! Divert-Great Yarmouth-Med gulls!! Hope Pallid turns up........did it f*** !! Plenty of Med gulls on the sea front....lots of weird mouthy youths,apparently randomly shouting obscenities at anyone who would listen,and kids shooting holiday makers with catapults.........and the worst dried up chips ive ever had!!! Glad to go home!!
Well the Great White Egret had been reported every day...albeit very elusive.Appearing to have relocated from the sailing lake/Conegyre farm area to the railway pit.It obviously wasnt feeding out in the open-where it would be obvious ! So it must be feeding down one of the ditches in the area surrounding the lake,as the Little egrets do.....well let me tell you,despite hours of ditch walking-no sign at all (remember i have a right limp at the moment too !! So its not easy....yeah yeah i love to play the martyr!!) Anyway upshot is it was either seen just before i arrived or just after i had left!! im either unlucky or a crap birder.....OI !!!!
Sunday 28th didnt see the Red-Necked Grebe...or the GWE and no migrants either,not even a White Wag!! I did photograph some Little Egrets,Eygptian geese..and a Yellowhammer (often hear calling overhead,not so easy perched for some reason).
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Well,with all these Alpine Swifts arriving,i was hoping one would stick somewhere not too far away from Notts...as it turned out (as yet) that place was Hunstanton Norfolk.Being much more mobile now (under physio) and having been told to try and push things a little bit more....i decided it was a good oppurtunity !! Though im pretty sure she wouldnt have been too happy at me spending over 4 hours in a car !! To be fair though,i did walk about while i was there!!
When i arrived at Hunstanton cliffs,it was raining quite steadily,very grey and looked set in,the bird had been seen early doors but had since disappeared,the one in east Norfolk at moved to Great Yarmouth.....hmmm were they all heading south now.We had 40mins looking,did see a nice flock of Turnstones feeding in the grass, but then decided to head to Titchwell,really needed a piss!
The weather was brightening up now,and we had just passed the visitor centre (nearly had a cuppa) and had just pointed out two Water rails,to a group of 'birdwatchers' when.....Alpine Swift back at Hunstanton !!! I limped as fast as i could back to the car (yep my calf still doesnt work) 10 mins later back at the big cliff top car park....quick scan-no sign,two birders were looking and they hadnt seen it either......drove round towards the lighthouse,pulled up had another scan-yep there it was albeit very distantly over the cliffs at the pines end of the car park.
Anyway to cut a long story short,and after the bird being quite mobile and disappearing for 30min periods,it showed very well around the lighthouse and i managed some shots.Also lots of Sand Martins,and a Swallow through,a few Wheatears at the bottom end of the car park(didnt get a shot too busy looking for the swift) and a few Chiffchaff's singing on the clifftop.
I dont like to end on a sour note......but i was photographing the Chiffy very intently until i stood in a big pile of warm dog shit !!!! and whats more i was wearing pretty nice white Lacoste trainers!!! When i surveyed the situation.......the pile of shit was right next to a dog shit bin !!!! For FUCKS SAKE Hunstantoners......you've really gone down in my esimation!!! I ought to rub your noses in it !!
All images taken with Canon 7D and 400mm F5.6 lens
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Having covered Hoveringham....well hammered it really for the last three months at least,and despite the fact ive been totally house bound for 6/7 weeks......news of a Great White Egret still present this morning,still got the obligatory "fuckin 'ell i dont believe it" !!!! All that effort and i never find anything !! I cant be the only one who feels hard done by just because i visit somewhere on a fairly regular basis...irrational really lol !
Anyway.....having decided i should take things easy today and rest my back,i made a quick phonecall to see exactly where the Egret had been seen and i was soon hobbling to the railway pit !! Apparently its a real ditch feeder,so after doing the ditches of the railway pit,thought ok il try the sailing lake,Just started to limp around when "GWE still between the sailing pit and farm" said the pager,short distance long time for me later,i was informed it had been flushed from a ditch by the farmer and flown over a distant unaccessable row of trees and landed out of sight !! hmmmm
Small crowd gathered,a couple decided to try a path,coming fron the opposite direction,i stayed put ...then noticed a tractor ,surely it would disturb the bird............Grey Herons first,then oooh 2 Little Egrets.....then YES!! there it is.....it flew up..and flew fairly distanly towards the sailing lake,and landed.......god another long walk!! Anyway upshot i knew it wouldnt settle long so got inbetween,where it was and had been....yes it was flushed and yes flew right over me!! 400mm F5.6
Also 5 pinkies mixed in with the feral goose flock,Little Ringed plover.Wished id have found the Egret but then lucky i could get to see it eh .
Monday, 15 March 2010
Finally managed to get out today !!! Have developed a bit of a limp......MRI scan on friday morning will hopefully explain why.Anyway in the style of a 70 year old pensioner,i had a limp around the Sherwood forest visitors centre (thats where the Major oak is) Its a really reliable spot for Lesser pecker...on the right day,right weather i would say 90% chance of being successful...as always you have to know the exact area though,they drum from two trees about 800 yards apart(anyone visiting and wanting exact details,email me) .Didnt stay all that long today and only took the 400mm F5.6,but im just pleased to be back out with the camera ! Female showed well drumming and calling.Robin and Chaffinch were at a feeding station.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Well,still not been able to get out birding yet.....though i am much more mobile now,hopefully in the next few days il be able to have a steady walk at Hoveringham,getting (and sitting ) in the car will be the problem,cant believe i havent been able to get out of the house for 6 weeks !! Friend rang to tell me he had found a Kittiwake on the railway pit yesterday,and that showy Red-Necked Grebe was still showing well,so frustrating to not be able to see them !! Soon,soon i hope !!