Tuesday 27 November 2012

Venus Pool - Common Scoter

72 hours had elapsed since the Martyn Owen bird finding service had sprung into action! After finding me a Shropshire lifer Great Northern Diver, a Black-necked Grebe for the yearlist (which eventually got it's picture taken) it was more good news......

Today's find was to banish the bogey and get Common Scoter on my Venus Pool and environs list :-) I've seen a few on other local stretches of water but patch ticks are always nice to come by!

I never got within 100m of it on the water sadly, it was the most flighty local Scoter I've seen... Hmm, thinking back,  I've never seen one fly in Shropshire (they wait until the stars come out!!) This one was constantly in flight on arrival and with milky white sky and intermittent rain a nightmare to get usable images even though on occasions, it flew overhead!

This is the best you're going to get on the water!

Strangely, it was not being spooked by my presence - on occasions flying straight towards me! Gunshots nearby didn't help but it was just one jittery bird generally! I like Martyn's, description - 'anxious' yeah, that's the one!

Here we go, for the record flight shots....... It was clearly a fem / juvenile but which? First impressions for everyone was that of a female but adult or juv??  looking at this image it has quite a pale belly....

Overhead, no doubting the pale underside?

To and fro.....  It was at times like watching a tennis match :-) Pale fringes now visible on the upperparts.

Eventually, this shot was the clincher for me, showing quite clearly how pale the belly was -chacteristic of  a juvenile bird....

Never mind the wind and rain, the dark birding days of November have certainly brightened up over the past few days :-) Oh and the VP life list creeps up to 163 :-)

Sunday 25 November 2012

Allgold - Waxwings

The Centurion Park flock was a nightmare to photograph (mainly due to the dire light) so I was hoping for something remotely decent from the Belvedere mob? I arrived to find just five in a tree overlooking the usual tree....

Problem was, they were clearly using a  tree in someone's back garden!! With Geoff Holmes present having originally found roaming birds in the area, we counted up to 30 - relocated in a large birch near to the feeding tree.

Having waited for 30 mins or so with nothing happening, it was nice of one of the residents (David Peck - a regular at VP) to invite me into the back garden where at least you could see the tree they were feeding on - over his garden fence! No point in posting lots of 'already done that' shots but here's the least cluttered images of the 10 mins or so when the sun shone - I deleted the rest!

Caption competition? I wonder how many entries would read 'Where's the berries then'?

There were some left, going fast though!

Twice as fast now!

Cheers David and Pat!! I will hopefully return..... Oh and the maximum count was 35 Geoff!

And if you haven't scrolled down to see the Wrexham circus show here's a quick link

Chelmarsh - Black necked Grebe

The Diver appears to have disappeared overnight sadly. Rob and Mike Stokes checked out the reservoir thoroughly first thing before I got there and it wasn't 'turning up' out of the blue for me either!

That left one key bird to check out and after virtually 'blanking' it on Friday (I only had eyes for the Diver) , I gave the Black-necked Grebe a good flog.....

Whilst it was in view on the far bank, would it remain with the boats getting ready to sail?

It did......  tagging onto this Little Grebe.......

I couldn't believe my luck when it actually turned and swam towards me :-)

Always remaining at a respectful (or is that respectable) distance. At least 150 metres closer than my last session here!

The light was good and maybe at it's best in the 'bluer' section of the water?

 I thought the dark water would show it off even better? It didn't!

Eventually, just about everything on the water sensed the imminent arrival of sails. Guess who led the way.......

I was going to try and catch up with at the causeway but news of Shrewsbury Waxwings (well I haven't exercised my shutter on local birds yet) won the day......

Friday 23 November 2012

Chelmarsh - Great Northern Diver!!

I might have dashed from Shropshire to Lincs. for an Oriental Pratincole on one occasion but having stopped in Lincs. overnight after a plant talk, the lure of Shropshire was simply too great :-) I never thought I'd see the day I'd be dashing the opposite way!.

Especially when Martyn Owen contacted me having just found a Great North Diver and Black-necked Grebe at Chelmarsh!

Clearly a juvenile with the scaly upperparts... Apologies for the quality, the diver was always backlit but I'll settle for these :-)

Always nice to see a Diver swimming in the right direction - towards you!

The closest encounter.

Before swimming off and eventually lost to view. 'Bump' on fore-head showing particularly well!

There was also a Black-necked Grebe which was literally too far away! I mustn't forget to sort those Wrexham Waxies pics either :-)

Sunday 18 November 2012

Wrexham - Waxies by the 100!

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!

Saturday 17 November 2012

Ruthin - Waxies

A plant talk took me to North Wales and an overnight stop with friends (thanks John and Pam!). A wasted few hours: firstly in Llandudno town centre (the Llandudno mob had stripped the town centre clean of berries), then at Conwy chasing Firecrests to no avail set me on Waxwing trail again.

I caught up with another flock of 20+ in Ruthin......

It was after 2pm so I had less than an hour of  available good light.....

With the local residents rapidly running out of their food supply ....

The local berry police were on patrol!

Plundering a few windfalls of their own!

Toss and catch!

I'd better get back to the reason I was there! Waxies showing and doing what they do, amazingly well.

Various poses......

This is the 'I've eaten too much and unable to fly' pose!

Not the most attractive of berries but one can't afford to be too pickie!

I know they have a rapid digestion system but this berry is popping out raw!

They can adopt some interesting stretchy attitudes when reaching for berries.....

Coming to my favourites from the brief session. There's something about this picture I rather like!

Or the 'arty' use of rear car lights to give a surreal feel to the background?

Plus the obligatory berry toss! A grotty berry but doesn't it match the pink of the mouth / black throat patch nicely.......

They drink as well.....

The light had gone sadly, before I latched onto the puddle! Worth another try?? Amazing what you can pack into an hour :-)