Sunday 29 May 2011

Upton Warren - Red-necked Phalaropes

I just couldn’t resist it! I had resisted one Red-necked Phalarope but news of TWO at Upton Warren today raised the twitchomone levels in my blood and despite having a ‘year off’ UK listing, I was on my way there mid afternoon!

I then realised why no-one had put any images out – they were spending all their time, very mobile, feeding on the far side of the flashes. Record shots only then....

Eventually, one of the brief Avocet induced flights gave a slightly bigger target!

The Avocets are doing really well here. I was told 18 chicks had fledged from 8 pairs and despite the fact that any incoming wader is gonna get a hard time from them, this really is a success story for the reserve!

I even totted up the UK year list I’m ‘not keeping’ and I’m currently on 188 – I nearly weakened on one or two occasions but it’s a rocky road I'm not going down this year?

Venus Pool - Sanderling

The end of May is a classic time for Sanderling turning up in Shropshire and (about time too!) after sitting watching an ‘empty’ pool for half an hour or so, what should pop out from behind the shingle island boards?

It remained at the pool all day and after returning from Upton Warren, a brief flight in front of the Memorial hide and pose in the evening sunlight....

The Shelduck chicks are getting bigger.....

Saturday 28 May 2011

Anglesey - Cemlyn Bay Terns

My annual trip to Cemlyn Bay, no sign of the Roseate Tern reported midweek but plenty of Common, Arctic and of course Sandwich Terns.....

More to come

Anglesey - Black Gillie

What on earth is this Black Guillemot eating? Answers on a postcard......

Saturday 21 May 2011

Atcham - Damsels and Demoiselles

I was hoping for Common Clubtail but a check of the fishermans car park near Atcham produced good numbers of Banded Demoiselles on the riverside vegetation.

Males with their iridescent abdomen and wings glistening in the patchy sunlight.

Females – less showy to us but quite attractive to male Banded Demoiselles nonetheless!

See what I mean.....

There were just as many (mostly teneral) White-legged Damselfly about too.

More images to follow......

Monday 16 May 2011

Back in Shropshire!

Apologies for ther break in posting. Jim's been to Scotland with the SOS party and had a great time. Great birds and birding but given the light and conditions not so hot on the photography front. There's a lot to come and I'll feed the highlights in over the next week or so.

Landscapes are uploaded at a slightly larger size so don't forget to click and enlarge the images......

Sunday 15 May 2011

Day 7 - Farewell Slav

The long 400+ mile journey home beckoned, not before a final bit of local birding!

Avielochan finally produced some decent views of Slavonian Grebe from the car....

The Osprey seen the previous day returned, circling one or two times before drifting off. I wont bore you with more 'white sky' images!

A walk in the Abernethy Forest near the Forest Lodge produced two Crested Tits but not a lot else and eventually by mid afternoon , the looooooooooooooong drive had be done! And it was.....

Saturday 14 May 2011

Day 6 - Red Grouse

Another day with a finish at Lochindorb, another Red Grouse.....

And this one actually showed itself completely but it didn't do much!

As you can see.....

All things considered, another fantastic day – the weather, the birds all performed bringing the final full day to an end.

I finished up after dinner, near to Dunlain Bridge, in the evening drizzle, trying to get an ‘arty’ riverscape. This was pretty representative - using the highest f number I managed to get a really long exposure of 3 secs to blur the water......

Shame about the rain but a nice ending?

Day 6 - Findhorn / Loch Ruthven again!

A pre-breakfast cruise of the woods near to Loch Garten failed to produce Caper But at least a few Black Grouse (five in view overall) had the decency to show (distantly) at Tulloch Moor.

Findhorn Valley was the venue for the morning and after parking up, it took less than 20 minutes to be into not one but two Golden Eagles bringing up the ‘100 species’ mark for the trip!. These were distant as ever but enjoyable scope views were had as they interacted with one another! Other raptors showing much closer were a pair of Peregrine, Kestrel and Buzzard. Dipper and Common Sandpiper showing well along the river.

Loch Ruthven produced the expected goods with Slavonian Grebes from the small beach. Red-breasted Merganser, Red Kite and a fly over Hooded Crow were also added. Two Red-throated Divers midway across the Loch.

Jim's having a read whilst attending to the call of nature?

Oops, wish I'd read that first! Mind you I've never seen a combustible fountain in fact I reckon that last thing you're likely to find in a fountain is a fire!

Unbelievably, a group of neoprene garbed divers (turned out to be open water swimmers) took to the water just before we left, the effect on the Divers was somewhat predictable – they left too!

A drive around the single track road taking in Loch Ashie etc was very productive too! Red Grouse from the car, at least six Hooded Crow......

Stonechat finally nailed here, plus an obliging Cuckoo!

The day ended at Lochindorb with a Treecreeper bringing up what was to be a final tally of 108 species!! Plus more Red Grouse......

Friday 13 May 2011

Day 5 - Can Ospreys swim?

Some good birds turned up today - the rarity factor was certainly provided by several Parrot Crossbill in the Skye of Curr area. They were quite flighty and certainly not photogenic!

Avielochan provided Slavonian Grebe again and in an attempt to answer the above burning question, an Osprey dropped in! Despite the poor light, the record shots obtained tell a little story.......

A few circles before fishing revealed it was bearing a blue ring!

Heavy cropping (and with the eye of faith) I think the letters are XD. The rings are read from the feet upwards

This Loch is stocked with large Trout for fishing and one of the 'monsters' was too prove a bit too much for the Osprey! Whilst Front Crawl or Backstroke may be out of the question, treading water whilst clinging onto a large Trout is definitely an option! It seemed to be in the water struggling for well over a minute!

You can just about see the head of the Trout in the fist picture below but whether the size or just distraction from the Gulls was too much - the catch was dropped :-(

Once clear of the water, the local Gulls continued to give the Osprey a hard time!

He/She flew off, smaller fish and less aggro from the locals would prove to be an easier option.......

Thursday 12 May 2011

Day 4 - Dolphins and Dunlin

This was the first day of the SOS trip proper and my photographic activities had to take a back seat! Two Black throated Divers got proceedings off to a good start but a drive to Burghead failed to produce a repeat show of the White-billed Diver! The only images of the day came at Chanonry Point......

This has to be the premier location in the UK for getting Dolphins up close and personal! I failed miserably to get the shots I wanted with a 300mm lens - too long a focal length!

Never mind, these will give a sense of what might have been?

At least one parent with calf close by!

Before the Dolphins got into their stride, I amused myself with a couple of Dunlin nearby - at least the light and conditions were perfect for them - or maybe I should stick to birds!

Feeding in the shallows.....

Then posing.....

It was goodnight from him.....

And goodnight from the Dolphins (for us) We had to leave as the display was still in progress!

I reckon I have unfinished business here......