Saturday 26 January 2013

Priorslee - Scaup

Well, the drake Scaup has been around long enough! Never close enough for me or in the gloom..... Today, courtesy of a hole in the ice,  I had it quite close :-) in the gloom :-(

Not sure it's worth any more! We shall see?

Thursday 24 January 2013

Meole Village - Waxwings!

I'd always suspected I'd bump into some in time .... Never thought it would be driving back and within 100m of home though, just off Washford Road! Three Waxies caused an emergency stop and lightning dash to get my camera!

As you can see, they were still there when I went back but not for long and despite catching distant views them in two other locations across the estate, they were certainly not settled!

I might have spent more time but got a compelling text from Horsehay.....

Horsehay - 1st Winter Caspian Gull

I was planning to have a much needed day on the PC with talks and image sorting but I had a rather compelling text from Roger Clay at Horsehay. The elusive (for me anyway!!) 1st Winter Caspian Gull.

Problem was - 25 mins drive - would it stay? Agonisingly as I arrived - it had flown :-( Only to reappear a short while later :-)

I hadn't got my converter on so lost a bit of reach here (but I wasn't going to risk missing the shots!!)

It flew off obscured by the rest of the flock and wasn't seen again until...... It briefly dropped in mid -afternoon! A very quick landing it was  too!

Before flying off almost immediately!

Monday 21 January 2013

Polemere - White fronts!!

Saving the best until last. I couldn't have dreamt that the Teal would be upstaged but unbelievably... it was!! My serious 'Shropshire' bogey goose was about to get cooked - not just by one but two little stunners :-)

Yes, County tick and Tunnock's teacake down the hatch after I'd decided to scan the Geese in the field adjacent to the horse paddock. First one.... then another, smaller Grey Goose with distinctive barring on the belly, eventually heads popping up and yesssss - White fronts!

Many more to sort but here's a couple to be going on with.....

Eventually they flew the short distance down to the water....

Plus a bit of foraging in the snow....

What a seriously good day!

Polemere - Fieldfare

Quite a few Fieldfare were present in the fields and with the only stretch of snow-free grass down by the waters edge, one was tempted to come closer!

There might be more.......

Polemere - Redshank in the snow

A Redshank was showing particularly well too (when it wasn't hidden by the hedge!)

Underlit quite nicely from the snow.

Not an everyday sight!

Again, there's more.... these conditions don't occur very often but are worth every minute spent out in them!

Polemere - GWT not skulking!

Quite a session at Polemere today, it's rare for me to stay more than 20 mins and I ended up there for five hours! It will probably take 5 days to go through all the images and I'm up to me eyes with talks and other things but keep looking back.... there are plenty more images to come!

The skulker decided to skulk no more - maybe due to the fox having a nap near it's usual haunt :-)

Now that's what I call not skulking !

Full story to come.....

Saturday 19 January 2013

Venus Pool - Whooper Swans

I was hoping for Snipe in the snow but they were all feeding distantly on the North marsh. Instead, at 13:00, a group of four Whooper Swans flew over the North hide - settling down in front of the main hide - I relocated!

The local bouncer decided not to take them on!

They came close enough for head shots :-)

Just like the Bewick's.... caught them in angelic pose.....

There were at least 70 Common Snipe seen in flight occasionally but I'm rather glad these flew in...

Thursday 17 January 2013

Horsehay - 2w yellow legged Gull

Another 'busy' session at Horsehay and sadly apart from 2 Yellow-legged Gulls the sheer numbers were mesmerising and didn't produce a 'special' one! A distant adult was joined by this 2nd Winter bird......

Hopping onto the ice....

There must have been well  in excess of 1,000 Lesser Black-backs at one stage with quite a few ringed birds amongst them. Most were red letters on blue (which were ringed at Gloucester landfill site) - thanks Roger! Here's just two of them..... Welcome 'AHV'

And HVU...

I remember having a (nearly) heated discussion with a "photographer" (well, he was carrying a long lens!) bemoaning the hassle ringed birds caused him as he then had to airbrush them away! What utter rubbish..... rings are there for a reason and give a amazing insight into the travels of birds :-)

HVU.... was ringed at Gloucester landfill site in Jan 2010, it was then seen in Westkapelle (Netherlands) on Nov 1st that year, returning to Throckmorton (Worcs) on 11th Dec.

2011 delivered  two sightings in Gloucs (11th Feb and 28th Jul). On Feb 2nd 2012 it was at Priorslee lake (Roger Clay) and then the most recent sighting was here..... today,  Jan 17th 2013.

Fascinating stuff, they sure get around and that's a fact.....

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Horsehay - adult Yellow Legged Gull

Quite a bit of activity today and the only Gull of note was this adult Yellow-legged Gull which was within close range.....

 They really are pristine smart Gulls!

One or two Gulls were sporting rings, including this Herring Gull red C:D

Believed to be from the Bristol / Bath area......

One second it was busy, next..... all the Gulls scattered.... It was the local bouncer 'Mr M' - "you lot can't drink here, too scruffy - Clear off"!!

You can't really blame them? (note the body language) That's one mean looking ugly Gull :-)

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Venus Pool - Buzzard feasting II

Another Goose perished at VP, becoming Buzzard fodder for several days. The Goose was not exactly going anywhere buy the Buzzard wasn't taking any chances.....

Tug of war with a stringy piece of meat.....

I watched it for some 45 mins hoping for the departure flight shot?

Which  never came!

Polemere - Green-winged Teal display!

For once, the skulker was out in the open! Relatively speaking and still quite distant!

A nice comparison shot - apart from the stripe, there are quite a few other significant differences :-)

Then, mixed up in some courtship shenanigans with Common Teal. You can try all you like chaps but if the lady isn't interested......

Friday 11 January 2013

Horsehay - Caspian Gull

I bumped into Kris at Candles where there wasn't much on offer and with fog obscuring most of the Gull, we decided to check Horsehay Pool out. Reevsey was there checking out a decent number of Gulls in the pea-soup!

There were quite a few Herring types and I picked out a pristine white head out towards the far bank.....

Eventually, with all the Gulls 'sticking' there were a few moments when the density of the fog eased and the Gull came nearer.... One BIG male bird!

The black primary tops indicated a 3rd Winter bird and eventually for what it was worth,  a brief flight followed!

We thought it had gone but soon circled and returned!

Probably the best view of the session with the fog briefly lifting!

With the closer views cam a little unease at the identity but there was no denying the 'first impression' that it had to be a Caspian Gull. Yes there were a few features shared by 3rd Winter Yellow-legged Gull but many features consistent with Caspian Gull (black band on p4, mantle shade, leg colour and bill. Fortunately Tom Lowe had seen Kris's images and confirmed he was in no doubt that this was a pretty good example of a big male Caspian Gull