Tuesday 30 September 2008

Venus Pool - Kestrel

A photo opportunity at last, courtesy of this female Kestrel, initially sat on a fence post....

....then flying off to a hay bale. Various cropped views - can't decide which I like best.....

Sunday 28 September 2008

Venus Pool - birdless Sunrise

A weekend out and about and one of the few I can recall recently without a decent bird image to upload. But that's Shropshire birding for you.....

So, here's a change of subject - a moody, misty sunrise at Venus Pool Saturday morning. Autumn is here, there is mud aplenty but not a wader in sight(excepting a lone Curlew).

The AL/YC/JA team then hit the Longmynd with hopes of Yellow browed Warbler or other decent migrants - ultimately dashed (now there's a surprise!)

Not counting the movement of a few Siskin, Skylark, a lone Wheatear (Northern sadly) little of note except for the exceptional sight of a party of SIX Red Kites flying in a line North seen due West of the glider station!

No cones = no Crossbills at the back of the glider station.

Sunday was even worse, more gloom and not a decent bird in sight at VP so a few chores got done at home.

I have a sneaking suspicion those itchy feet of mine are going to be off somewhere very soon!!!

Sunday 21 September 2008

Venus Pool - Pec Sand!!!

This was to be 'odds on', a completely blank weekend on the photography front. Saturday's SOS field trip failed to materialise anything of note and I had a talk planned in Birmingham taking up most of Sunday! A five minute dash in and out of Venus Pool on the way had me cursing the fact (shortly after) that I hadn't checked out a 'Ruff' reported from the main hide!!

This subsequently turned out to be a Pectoral Sandpiper, thanks to texts from Andy and Rob - a long afternoon was in prospect! Plus, a certain amount of amusement all round!! If history was to remain true to previous VP Pecs, it would still be there on my return in the evening - wouldn't it!!!??

Several hours later......

Not only was it there, it was feeding on the near shore between the public and Memorial hides - how close can you get?? Well, actually not really any closer and still be able to see the bird! It was sometimes difficult to get a clear shot through the vegetation...

Just about every angle recorded in the fading light at 6.00, a cracking bird.....

Here's the Dunlin keeping it company....

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Venus Pool - Ruff and ready

Waders are in such short supply lately, I was hoping to get some decent record shots of this Ruff which had dropped in at VP. Never close enough for feather detail, I won't bore you with more of the same.......

Sunday 14 September 2008

Bridgnorth - Mandarin up close

Garish or what!! One or two Mandarin are regular visitors to the Severn at Bridgnorth and this drake was attracting more than a few admiring glances!!

Some folk are never pleased, it was sheltering under a distant Willow as I arrived.....

And then it was too close!! So, variations on a theme of sheer indulgence - is a brighter, more colourful bird possible?

Photo session over, it was back under the Willow, a quick preen and then 40 winks......

Saturday was vitually imageless! No doubt whatsoever of the highlight however - an amazing TEN Greenshank which dropped onto the main island at VP!! They were well spread out and impossible to record as a group but you can tell from this little taster just how vocal they were!! They didn't stay long though...

Friday 12 September 2008

Venus Pool - Kingfisher relapse

I'm so ashamed, you see, I've been visiting this clinic.....

I thought they could help as I have this problem - every time I see a Kingfisher, I get the urge to photograph it. The rehab had worked, I've ignored them for weeks but today....

I saw one and it hovered in front of me, I tried to fight it but the camera came out of the bag thinking it may do the same again - and it did - for one quick burst!!

Hopeless isn't it - but who cares - cracking little birds aren't they!

Sunday 7 September 2008

Blithfield - another White winger!!

Atlantic Storms have wreaked havoc on Grey Phalarope passage with many birds stranded in the UK at both coastal and inland sites. OK, so I was being optimistic in the extreme thinking one would have dropped in at VP (or anywhere else in Shropshire for that matter!)....

Common sense got the better of Yvonne and myself, opting for a Staffs session for hopefully a White-winged Black Tern as well!!

The Blithfield Phalarope had moved on, or was elusive in the extreme (no-one reported it that day). At least the White winged Tern was still present although always fairly distant. Never mind, this is my second one in three days - not to be sniffed at!!!

Excuse the record shots......

There were at least two other Grey Phalaropes reported in the Midlands the previous day - how about a try at Chasewater???

Shustoke - Grey Phalarope and Terns!!!

Chasewater was a dead loss so it was resort to plan C for the Phalarope at Shustoke reservoir near Coleshill. This wasn't a bad move either as it turned out to be less than 30mins drive away.....

One or two other photographers had the same idea!

Definitely a great move, considering that on arrival we had a Grey Phalarope less than 40m out from the car park!! It came closer too, within 20m and whilst I know this species is particularly confiding - it does look good on the water. The tones of the water and bird seem to blend giving an oil painting type effect - just love these!!

Also great to finally meet Steve Seal doing a great job of keeping everyone posted with the info on this great patch (once we realised 'we' were talking to each other!!)

I suppose there's only so many shots you can utilise in this situation and after a while, I couldn't resist checking out the other nice birds present....

How about this gorgeous juv Arctic Tern!

Or even better, a juv Black Tern landing on the next buoy - the closest I've got to one yet!!

A juv Little Gull was keeping more distant from the bank but just within range for a record shot....

Friday 5 September 2008

Dungeness - in the gloom.....

I'd moved on for my Friday eve talk to Kent.... The forecast was the same as for the last two visits to Dungeness - heavy rain. Except, this rain seemed heavier than was possible and it was an obligatory soaking to get to any of the hides from the car.

The key bird target was the juv White-winged Black Tern, seen for the past few days and I settled down in Makepeace hide to find it. It took a while, mainly as it was feeding right over the far side in front of the power station!! There were plenty of other Terns on view too: Common, Arctic, Sandwich, several Blacks and with white rump shining through the gloom - the White-winger!

It was at least 600m distant and in torrential rain, expectations for a picture were virtually zero but at least this is a sort of record shot!!

Another soaking and visit to the ARC hide was rewarded with a good tally of waders (Little stint, Common and Wood Sand, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Ruff and Greenshank).

Don't expect too much quality given the dire conditions!!

Little Stint:

Two Common Cranes:

Getting closer with a Greenshank!

Plus pretty good views of a Water Rail - been several months since I've seen one!

In a bit of a flap and you can see how slow a shutter speed I was using!!