Tuesday, 24 November 2020

On this day (Nov 24th) ... 2014 Purple Heron

On this day in 2014, a Purple Heron was, with a bit of stealth showing (eventually) really well on Anglesey at Capel Gwyn...

A long drive from the North East the previous evening and another early start with the alarm..... It's another bird to try and grip back after failing to see the North Warren (Suffolk) Purple Heron during a long session! The one was always going to be difficult too (aren't they nearly always?) and nearly 4 hours into a long blank vigil, things were not looking good :-(


Everyone else had given up and left..... and then by a twist of fate, I was eating a sandwich.... another birder arrived..... shut his car door.... and what should pop up then land in a viewable position from where it had been unseen all morning.... PURPLE HERON and (298) Punch the air or what!! Birds are all the more sweeter when you've spent a lot of time and effort :-)




After a while it relocated nearer the caravans!



Still tucked away in the vegetation but much more obliging!




Eventually having a preen and rest.....






A couple of closer crops to finish with!





A great day in the end and TWO to go.......

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

On this day (Nov 18th) - 2012 Wrexham Waxwings

Flashback on this day in 2012 for some excellent Waxwing opportunities from a visit to Wrexham 

Another Waxwing spectacular and with the Ruthin birds failing to reappear during the morning, a most effective plan B was formulated....


Jim ended up in hospital (grounds that is) with in excess of 100 Waxwings strutting, tossing and berrying their stuff.....


Quite mobile, it took 30 minutes plus to work out where that were actually feeding?



Yep - there! I won't even try to explain and if it was a weekday, security would have probably asked me to leave :-)


Off they go again......


Let's start with something a little different? Artistic or what?




A straightforward pose.....


Add a berry......


And a little bit of tongue? Welcome to the Waxwing circus :-)


The performing seal routine?




With tongue into the action!


 Front somersault with pike?
 

The sword swallower - how do they get these cannonballs down?




The tighrope walk?


Is this the clown with a hair-raising sized berry!




 I don't think I could tire of  their antics :-) Especially when juggling / tossing those berries!




Could do with some local birds showing well now!

Monday, 16 November 2020

On this Day (Nov 16th)... 2014 Ring billed Gull

On this day in 2014, I was towards the end of my 'Big Year' and closing in on the magic 300 mark. The 16th November was an important with three outstanding south coast birds in the bag, this Ring-billed Gull was an overdue highlight!...

To say this was the bogey bird of 2014 would be an understatement! Whilst in the area, I'd called at Gosport twice in April (coinciding with the Gull's departure from the area) and now dipped it again the previous Friday.


Light was fading and with rain starting to fall, I made it to the boating lake with about 30 minutes of light left. I got out of the car and..... Yessssssss, the Ring-billed Gull (296) was finally  there on the grass below the car park!!

I'd photographed this bird back in 2008 (in summer plumage) so nice to get the winter plumage!


It then flew onto one of the boating pool buoys....




Then onto the water.....




With some unusual late afternoon reflections!




A final close up and then......


The long drive back to Shrewsbury! This had really been a make or break weekend and with four more birds to go, a few more miles to travel :-)

PS here's the same bird in Summer plumage back in March 2008!! What a stunner :-)


Wednesday, 11 November 2020

On this day (Nov 11th)... 2010 Pied-billed Grebe

I've resurrected the Lockdown 'On this day' series for the rest of November starting with this transatlantic mega...

On this day in 2010, it was another mega in the shape of Pied-billed Grebe at Hollingworth Lake North of Manchester...

Whilst it was likely to be a 'stayer', I was not going to take the chance of the Hollingworth Pied-billed Grebe doing a flyer. My only opportunity over the next week or so was to be this afternoon (on one of the stormiest days of the year!) So, with a lunchtime finish to work, I headed North amid blue skies and storm clouds.... Hollingworth lake is at a reasonable height and it was even windier there! Nevertheless the Grebe was settled in the South-East corner and once I'd walked there from the visitor car park (it was now 2.30) there was not a breath of wind - completely sheltered by a hill and trees!! I joined the small gallery... 

  
The Grebe was quite mobile and spent quite a bit of time sitting in a patch of water vegetation on the far bank.... 

  
The obligatory record shot followed as it had a bit of a preen for me (another lifer too, I feel a Tunnocks teacake coming on!!) 

  
I'd have settled for that but it then moved out into open water.... 

 















And decided to come much closer..... 



MUCH closer!! 


In fact TOO close!! It started fishing under the bank and out of view. It retreated occasionally and was in full view, just a matter of avoiding reeds in the way!!

  
































The light was fading fast by now and most of the 'fish shots' were suffering from motion blur, nevertheless, a few keepers..... 

















 

What a little cracker and just look at that stonking bill with just a hint of a band present! 

  
Unbelievably, the rain held off and the Grebe was still sat there on the far bank at dusk - dozing after consuming a rather large Perch......