Sunday 27 November 2011

Chelmarsh - Red throated Diver

I'd decided to make sure the RTD didn't feel ignored and with hopes of the wind easing, called in at Chelmarsh reservoir first thing.

The diver was showing well, the light was a disaster - it was always backlit!

Never mind, awesome views of this classy newcomer....

If you can't beat the light, how about making the most of the shadows and this dramatic silouette of the only Perch caught!

I'd given it a couple of hours of precious Wheatear time, it was Titterstone Clee next stop!

Titterstone Clee - Desert Wheatear (a little more)

I didn't dash up there first thing as the Red-throated Diver got my initial attention but by late morning I was on site enjoying the calmer confditons, brilliant light and one, now very popular, female Desert Wheatear...

I waited nearly two hours with another photographer hoping it would land on these particular two stones and perch up - eventually it did! (Sorry you missed this Steve!)

More to come.... lots of 'unseen' images (haven't even sorted the previous day either!)

Saturday 26 November 2011

Titterstone Clee - Desert Wheatear !!!

Who would have thought I'd be ignoring the chance for more images in better light of the Red-throated Diver? All that changed with an intriguing report of probable Pied Wheatear on Titterstone Clee!

It all started when Jason Kernohan aka 'Shenstone Birder' toook a late afternoon stroll on Titterstone Clee and you can read about it in his own wortds here. The initial throughts were Pied or Black-eared Wheatear??

I picked up Rob Stokes and we were up there at first light with a few Shropshire/Worcs birders. By 8:00 most of us had glimpsed the mystery Wheatear. At 8:17 I got my first (dodgy) record shot! The first (and worst) of many 1,000s for numerous photographers and digiscopers. Glimpses of the black tail had now emerged and Andy Latham got the news out - we had a female Desert Wheatear!!

The black tail fanned!

Closer still.....

The light was dire and I don't know when I've photographed in windier conditions than this, it was howling a gale! Hats were lost, scopes bit the dust but I managed to hang on to the gear for more record shots....

This close encounter came whan the Wheatear landed about 5 metres in front of me on the path!

The aviarazzi looking as though they were defending the hilltop!

You showy little stunner :-)

I don't know who called it a day first - the blown away birders or this tired little Wheatear?

A cup of coffee, celebratory Tunnocks teacake and high fives from Rob, Ian and Dave......

OMG what is goin on in Shropshire......

Friday 25 November 2011

Chelmarsh - Red-throated Diver

The only certainty about a long overdue RTD for Shropshire was that Martyn Owen would find it, a superb adult Winter bird too....

Just a shame about the rain and the light but I was absolutely delighted just to see it! I had to wait ages before it threatened to become more than a dot in the scope let alone the viewfinder!

Eventually, the Diver started heading in the right direction!

Ever closer and I could see why this bird had gained a reputation already for being confiding!

Problem was - the light! Never, ever happy am I :-) I can't choose between these so I'll leave them all in.....

My favourite image from the session! Nicely posed.....

I shall be back!

Thursday 24 November 2011

Priorslee lake - Yellow legs

A quick call at Priorslee lake this lunchtime found 4 adult and 1 2nd Winter Yellow-legged Gulls present.

Often distant, this very obliging adult Winter bird dropped in quite close

Had a bit of a wash....

The 'take off' moment!

As it flew off!

You have to be quick, the whole episode was over in 30 seconds or so......

Sunday 20 November 2011

Chew Valley Lake - Sharpie

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper wasn't on my radar yesterday but it certainly was today and with both myself and Mike Stokes wishing to add yet another class wader to the life list, it was Chew Valley Res next stop.....

Two hours later, we joined the hustle and bustle of Herriots Bridge, quite a gathering and we immediately found out why there hadn't been any pictures of this bird posted! It was sooooooooooooo far away. I've never let that get in the way of obtaining a record shot but this was going to be tough - small wader well over 100m away - cue stacked converters and cue record shot of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper!! (I Had enough practice with the Steppe Shrike)

OK it's rubbish BUT it's a record shot - all the features are there and I'll look back fondly on yet another lifer for the year!

Even some flight shots with the dark upperwing of the Sharpie quite easy to pick out amongst the Dunlin.

Even at this distance - the sharply pointed tail feathers stand out!

A couple of Long-billed Dowitchers were also present and thank goodness for 'landmarks' - quite a few newcomers queried "where's the Dowitchers"? Just look between the hoops - simple!

Another trans-atlantic visitor was roaming the dam wall of Herriot's pool (but never coming within an angle for photography) - Spotted Sandpiper no less. Quite a day for waders then, with a Little Stint also present with the Dunlin flock!

Saturday 19 November 2011

Stubbers Green - Caspian Gull

It's Gull season again folks! Another three or four months of watching these tantalising birds off and on. A puzzler or good bird in every session :-) Today there was no puzzle, just a classic adult Winter Caspian Gull!

A few hours were spent trying to get some decent images of this adult Caspian Gull which must have fed well early in the day as it was there on arrival and still loafing about on the water when I left for the Chasewater roost.....

The light was awful despite the forecast of a 'blue sky' day, Oh well, at least I got the bird!

This is one Gull that stands out from the crowd!

At this time of year all the Herring Gulls have streaky heads, with Caspian Gull just a little faint streaking around the hindneck.....

A horse spooked the flock briefly creating a flight shot opportunity. Again, a distinctive pattern to the primaries

A couple of preening shots, the first showing the distinctive inner web to P10 - a long white tongue, separated from the white mirror by a sharply defined black bar which extends as a narrow band up the outer web.

Large white mirrors on P9 and P10

All this hanging around is quite boring!

Time for a drink.....

Pose of the day?

Before taking to the water....

Like a couple of bouncers on the door - looking on a par for meanness, with this Great Black backed Gull .....

The final and most distant shot with upperwing pattern nicely displaysd!

Thursday 17 November 2011

Norfolk catching up!

A reflex few images were grabbed as an Arctic Skua shot by - to start off Day 4 of my Norfolk trip - the highlights of day 4 (one more to go....) are posted here

Quite a few waders on show.....