Monday, 31 May 2010

Ugly duckling

Young Coots really do have a face that only a mother could love !

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Canon 7D

After 6 months i really still dont like it !!! Good features,but bloody hell the images are incredibly grainy !! These Dove shots,were taken with the 500mm lens-no TC,not a patch on the 40 and 50D's.

Scorchio !!

Bloody hell it was hot !! Wandered very slowly around Hoveringham,saw very little,3 Common Sands made themselves apparent,LRP,Oystercatcher,Dunlin,Common Terns.Oh yes life can be exciting on the patch !! All images 7D and 400mm F5.6

Coombes Valley RSPB

With such beautiful weather,and not much doing rarity wise,i decided to visit Coombes Valley on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border......its 19 years since i last visited.It is a very beautiful reserve,a steep sided valley,with mature oaks and a stream running through the middle.I have to say i was a little disappointed with the lack of birds.....i remember Wood Warblers,Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers were quite abundant.No Wood Warblers were breeding on the site this year,i saw one Redstart,a pair of Pied Flycatchers were occupying a nest box...also saw a Spotted Flycatcher very briefly.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Oriental Pratincole is not the sort of bird you see everyday,so a revisit was inevitable....especially with such nice weather forecast.Couldnt believe how many cars were there !! I thought last sunday was busy! The thing good with Frampton is,once you get on the reserve it doesnt feel like many people are there.Started off with some lovely views of singing Corn Bunting,not a bird easliy seen in Notts anymore,even in the their traditional stronghold....i suspect a sad picture repeated around the country.A Temmincks Stint was a nice suprise,and was showing very very well,but had flown just before i got there and was a bit distant for photos especially in the haze.After iniatially being very distant,the Pratincole showed to virtually point blank range around east hide....much to close for the big lens....should have taken the 400mm !! I got some better flight shots than last week,2-3 first summer Little Gulls were showing well there too.Great Reed Warbler in Derbyshire was the next quarry......quite near home too....i didnt think it would take that long to see,considering all the pager messages said 'showing well' Bloody took 4 hours to get a record shot!! It can be very very elusive!! and feeds in the bushes all around the pond,singing only from the tiny patch of reeds its chosen.............amazing the places birds choose to set up home !!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Seven whistlers

An evening walk around the railway pit,looks like the Hobbies will be nesting in the same tree as last year,two birds have been sat in the tree for a few days now.....hopefully il get some good shots over the summer,just a record of them sat in the tree for now though.Suprise of the day went to the three Whimbrel-very wary indeed,the call is very disticntive i find,and i always think of the Shetland/Norse name 'seven whistler' if i recall it has quite a dark connotation,six birds calling for the seventh,if the find it the seventh brings death.................or something like that !!!! Alright im probably wrong !!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Hectic weekend

Decided to have another gentle bird around Hoveringham saturday morning.....just needed to get some fuel first,and that was how it i was filling up MEGA!!! House Finch-Lands end !!!! Bloody hell not the sort of drive anyone looks forward to,but needs must !! Another yankee passerine,and after last weeks White-throated Sparrow,could have potential.......anyway 6 hours later,2.40pm looking at a crowd looking at nothing at swingates house! The bird is not viewable unless you're in the garden.....thankfully the owners were letting 6 people in at a time,the weather was now very dull and the bird wasnt singing as much and was more elusive,but one hour later-we were escorted in and saw the bird feeding on the back lawn.A yellow variant,and actually not particularly attractive,a few record shots taken...and then back out to let more of the growing crowd see it.Rumours of an escape abound,which is normal,but it is not implausable a bird like this could somehow get to this side of the pond,two spring records on Fair isle,now one in Cornwall.....possible?? Long drive home.Sunday morning i thought il try for the long staying Red-rumped Swallow AGAIN at Rother Valley.......this time at least i saw it well,though it was never very close,choosing to feed high up in the sky........hung around hoping for more than record shots,but alas it wasnt to be.Got home and had just had a sip of a well earned cuppa,when..........MEGA !!! Oriental Pratincole, Lincs !!! Now this was a bit of a bogey bird for me,didnt see the Norfolk bird all those years ago,because i was working a very busy summer 12 hour days...i didnt have a pager back then either........and i missed last years bird because i just couldnt get away from work............this work thing keeps cropping up!!!! Anyway this was my opportunity.....just over a little of an hour later,at the lovely Frampton marsh RSPB........after a long walk,and a scare the bird had flown off,there it was !!! sitting partially obscured but majestically !!! At last Oriental Pratincole in the bag !!! I was a very happy times hard to see and at times very confiding,showing really well !! All the features noted though in some shots a very very thin white trailing edge can be seen,is this a feature the human eye cant see,but digital photography being so good its now discernable ?? Or is it another first/second summer bird?? Is it last years bird.I know they think that some of the Collared Pratincoles are returning birds,that summered in Britain.........indeed when this Oriental was first seen it was identified as Collared and i announced in the car shame it isnt the Oriental returning!!!! Dreams can come true......what a weekend.........British birding dont you just love it !!!!!

Friday, 7 May 2010

More like early march !!

Very windy here in Nottingham this afternoon...and decidely cool with it,never nice with a 'nor- easter' blowing !! The Railway pit at Hoveringham is particularly exposed,being a very large body of water........BUT tales of drake Garganies had me wrapping up and making my way down.........low and behold there it was,a delightful bird-trying hard to pretend it was may !!! The big guns out today 500mm, less the converter though.Also had 5 Arctic Terns through to the north.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Wrong again

Well yesterday i uummed & Ahhed about going for the Red-rumped Swallow at Ferry meadows,but with the overcast weather and lack of photos on the net,i decided (stupidly) that it cant have been showing very well and grey skies really dont make for good flight shots.So when a R-r Swallow was found at Rother valley CP this morning-and with blue skies,i thought AHA,i bet this will be a showy one, ok away we go..........hmmmm well when i arrived the bird was showing very very distantly,no chance of photographing it-it then disappeared for c40 mins........eventually, i picked the bird up behind the crowd, over trees bordering the golf course.......had about 10 secs on the bird before it disappeared,sometimes it feels worse to see a bird so frustratingly than not to see it at all !!! Hung around 30mins-no sign,headed home !!! Meanwhile Ferry Meadows bird showing well and great pics now online !! Bad move Mark...bad move ! Consoled myself with the Railway pit at Hoveringham......VERY heavy rain showers VERY brief sunny intervals,cold and windy-very much like FEBRUARY !! Lots of Hirundines (mainly Swallows,and no,no R-RS) Loads of Swifts,a Buzzard came out to dry off,as did Little Egret....Little Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher and that was your lot !!! Basically DOG SHIT !!!!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Very sunny-really quite dull.

I think the one thing that can be said about birding in a land locked county,is very rarely is it exciting......infact 99% of the time it really is pretty demoralising.Yesterday one such day.Quite warm,plenty of sun,first day of may....Hoveringham railway pit.3 Swallows,1 Great Spotted Pecker,3 Oystercatchers,4 Dunlin,3 Ringed Plovers,4 Common Sands,4 Little Ringed Plovers,3 Blackcaps,2 Whitethroats,4 Chiffchaffs,2 Sedge Warblers,3 Reed Warblers,1 Kestrel.....oh and 1 dead dear by the railway (Roe?? any suggestions welcome,presumably hit by a train).