Thursday, 22 September 2016

Willow Tit survey in Shropshire

Willow Tits are in trouble! BTO data shows they have declined by 92% in the last 25 years. They are  'around' in Shropshire at a variety of sites and a species recovery project has been organised by the BTO but first.... we need to know where they are!

There are a number of sites in Shropshire where they are either known to breed, suspected to breed or have bred in the past. If you feel you can help with some surveying work in 2017, please contact

More details on the survey itself can be found here.

Here's some images, taken back in May this year at Haughmond Hill, one of the sites successfully surveyed.....

Busy collecting food and observed from a sensible distance!

Plenty of small mouths to feed!

This pair were successful in raising young.... How many more are?

The original post is here

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Upton Warren - Baird's Sandpiper

September usually turns up a decent bird or two in the Midlands and Upton Warren once again scored with a Baird's Sandpiper found on Friday evening. A talk on Saturday afternoon scuppered any chance of going but with all my Sunday morning PC chores done, I set off.....

The reserve was looking amazing in the afternoon light!

I'd not wished to join the early 'scrum' and there was a bit of an exodus in progress as I arrived early afternoon - and NOT because the bird had gone! It was showing really well - in a birding sense, it was always going to be record shots given the location and size of the bird!

Having spent much of the previous two days on the far side, it spent virtually all the time I was there on the near bank. Clearly showing the typical Baird's long primary projection and scaly plumage pattern characteristic of a juvenile.

Let sleeping Lapwings lie?

Or this happens!

But it gives a great opportunity for flight shots :-)

A lovely view of that dark centred rump and uppertail....

Returning to feed once/twice more.....

An occasional preen.

And some images from the closest approach.....

Looking superb in the early evening light......

'Almost' a reflection!

This was my third Baird's Sandpiper, the other two were both seen in 2009. They were seen at  Traeth Dulas (Anglesey) plus an amazing experience with the really showy Marazion bird

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Venus Pool - Blackwits feeding up

Back on the 6th June 2006, an amazing group of 68 Black-tailed Godwits dropped in at VP! I remember it well - a sight not likely to be repeated - ever?? But at least today's small group of six was an improvement on the singles normally coming through.....

Feeding up like there would be no tomorrow!

Followed by a spot of bathing......

And wingflaps.....

I sort of knew what was coming next.... and they did, heading south behind the island, soon lost to view......

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Kingfisher at work again

A bit of a 'catch up' from last month and a Kingfisher doing what they do in glorious sunshine - probably a composite sequence.....

From the dive....

To the landing....


And then aligning the fish!

Nice eye to eye contact :-)

And down it goes.....

So many nice 'just posing' shots deleted and then looking back on those cloudy day realise it's not worth taking the camera out of the bag! :-)

Venus Pool - Blackwit up close!

The most likely decent wader to turn up at VP  just lately is Black-tailed Godwit but they usually remain distant! With a Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper and 10 Common Snipe now present, this juvenile Blackwit was the star turn.....

Preening but just about to be harassed by a Lapwing!

The landing was brief as yet another Lapwing gave it some grief....

I wasn't complaining, just struggling to keep up with the affay!

Eventually allowed to settle down and feed - another tasty worm......

A wader a day, keeps Jim happy :-)

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Venus Pool - Common Tern juvenile

News of Terns at Venus Pool caused me to take a break from image sorting and whilst there was no Black Tern present, camera backs didn't reveal one either.....  Oh well, there was a smart juvenile Common Tern however, which after winning over the doubters, I decided to spend an hour or so with Rob Stokes to see if it would come close?

Classic trailing edge to underwing and that distinctive long bill, it remained stubbornly distant.....

Occasionally landing on the middle islands!

But then, tired of being stomped by the Geese or harassed by the Lapwings, it came a bit closer!

Landing to the right of the hide!!

Oh dear, I use up another quantum of luck on a Common Tern!

Another flap before......

landing on the island in front of the hide!

Then slowly terning to give me every angle!

Looks like he's having the last laugh?

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Venus Pool - Bar-tailed Godwit!!

Having a break from seabird sorting so thought I'd let this one jump the queue!  It's been a bird a day on the local Patch since returning from the Scillies! This one was the best of the bunch as Bar-tailed Godwits are none too common in these parts!

It was in fact 'a Godwit' for most until I confirmed Tony's hunch from the camera back in the car park, before hastening to the hide!

Where  it was showing rather well!

By the side of the Memorial Hide.....

Just as I was hoping he'd do something about the mud on the end of the bill?

Clean again!

And then after a short flight onto the nearby island, befriending a Common Snipe....

Showing off nicely despite the lack of sunshine!

A nice Purple Loosestrife archway!

And then these were the last few moments before it mysteriously vanished!

What could be next?..... Curlew Sand, Knot and Little Stint - all seen here before but not for a few years! Maybe I should aim higher? Come on you mega!!!