Tuesday 30 April 2013

Longmynd - Whinchat

I couldn't get to the Bee-eater first thing and by the time I did, it was brginning to get very elusive. So elusive in fact, I decided to check the Longmynd for Dotterel?? There were none to be seen after a scan of the glider station and seep fields. A Red Grouse was seen briefly in flight and the only other bird of note was this male Whinchat

Short but sweet!

Monday 29 April 2013

Wheathall - Bee-eater!!

OMG what a local mega, a Bee-eater no less  - a first 'proven' find for the County and it was Tom Lowe, calling on domestic duties at the Condover Industrial Estate late afternoon, who found it. Once again, he manages to routinely find great birds when he isn't birding! :-)

It was settled near to the Industrial Estate, perching in two Oak trees in the neighbouring Rape field prior to launching off pursuit of bees and wasps.

Occasionally it took to the nearby wires!

One or two flight images followed......

And of course, all those Bees create a lot of indigestable matter - I watched as the Bee-eater gagged eventually expelling a sizeable pellet of bee-bits!

Tom found it at 4.20 pm, (well done mate!!) it was last seen at 6.45 by the main gallery and remained pretty elusive thereafter?

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Venus Pool - Lesser Whitethroat etc

Quite a few Warblers getting into the reserve now - my first Sedge Warbler from the fen hide and several Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff......

Highlight was a vociferous Lesser Whitethroat in the hedge adjacent to the car park!

Love was certainly in the air too. With this pair of Mute Swans displaying their emotions

And this pair of rabbits - the buck engaged in some form of ahem...... aural foreplay?? She was clearly loving it!!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Uwchmynydd - Western Subalpine Warbler!

I'd decided the previous evening to hopefully add another lifer with a showy (Western) Subalpine Warbler performing so well at Uwchmynydd. Can anyone out there pronounce that lovely name please?

The only downside was that that very same evening a local tick hungry ringer was running his mist net through his fingers (having failed to do the deed with success when the Subalpine first appeared)  He was determined to put some serious bragging rights on his ringing list!)

He had succeeded today and tried to persuade me that he had done all  the birders a favour!  With such a low fat index - the bird was not going anywhere he trilled! Oh yes it was -  into the undergrowth for as long as possible and as deep as it could hide!

I joined the group of disgruntled birders late morning and a cracking day with the anticipated showy bird turned into an endurance nightmare!

By mid afternoon, the numerous Stonechats were becoming quite tiresome and the only click of the shutter produced this Linnet!

A six hour round trip for a linnet eh. Not impressed and neither were any of the assembled birders, those who had stayed that is! Eventually by a stroke of good fortune, the finder of the bird came on the scene and would you believe it - he refound the Warbler!

In a tangled mass of dead bracken and gorse - yay Subalpine Warbler on the list :-) Not that anyone was feeling in a forgiving mood!

It didn't get any better, it showed briefly on the path, then flew....

It showed again on the gorse, then flew.....

Yeah we should be so lucky! Oh well at least the bird was eventually seen. It didn't want to be clasped in someone's, clammy hand so was not hanging about to pose.

Rant nearly over but there was one more twist of the knife - the 'list hungry' ringing duo had also set their sights on the Woodchat Shrike down the road! You can guess the rest - it had eventually plucked up courage to appear again later in the day over 100m distant. But yes, we should be so lucky to see it!

I've never twitched a 'trapped bird' scenario and certainly would never contemplate one in future. Ringing of tired vagrants is as despicable as the photographer poking his big lens up it's nether regions except.....  it's done in the name of science isn't it. Funny how all the people I've mentioned this to (including some of my ringer mates) have responded in the same manner..... 'it's another one for their list!'.

I did meet some thoroughly decent local birders, those who stuck it out, got the bird but there were quite unanimous in their assessment of the situation - "a law unto themselves" if anyone else had dared to approach the bird.......

I've generally been supportive of bird ringing and know quite a few ringers, they do good work! There is an ethical and  'antisocial' side to the ringing of rarities however . My personal opinion is that a line was crossed here - I'm sure the powers that be will rally round in support  - in the name of science.....

Sunday 21 April 2013

Venus Pool - Whimbrel

I missed one earlier in the week but a big thanks to Rob for giving me the heads up on the second Whimbrel to drop in this week!

Stubbornly distant on the middle island, a brief flight gave a chance of wing detail.

And then, it was joined by the 'confusion' suspect! Except, does a Whimbrel look anything like a Curlew?

Little and large!

En garde!

I mentioned the other day about common birds coming uncommonly close! I was photographing a small fly when unbelievably, a Little Ringed Plover entered the frame!!

That fly was a goner!

As the LRP stood there calling to his mate.

Friday 19 April 2013

Burton Mere - Blue-winged Teal

One of those, 'should I shouldn't I' moments.... News of a  drake Blue-winged Teal came out from Burton Mere this morning. Needing this to keep the life list ticking along, I delayed to see if it settled and by late morning, decided to give it a go! I was nearing Oswestry when more news came out - it had flown!!

Cursing, I diverted to check out the Meres.....

30 mins later, I was watching 6 Arctic Terns performing on the far bank of the Mere, when more news came out - it was back!

Here we go again.... but this time there was to be no turning back. I got there and realised the folly of my delay - the area it was asleep in was directly into the sun - over 100m away! There was a drake Garganey in this area occasionally showing too.

It took about 30 mins before it stirred and drifted out into the shimmery water - this is the best I could do  but at least a (sort of) record shot!

I watched it for about 30 mins, the scope views weren't that bad before once again it flew out with the three Shoveler, relocating on Boundary Pool.

Memo to self - Burton Mere on a sunny day is strictly is a morning venue for the light!

Thursday 18 April 2013

Venus Pool - Common Sand etc

Better light today and one of those opportunities when Common birds come uncommonly close! Like this Common Sandpiper:-)

Here it comes....

Showing nicely in good light.

Probing for a tasty worm

And getting a result!

Some waders just don't get on!

The Arctic Tern is becoming a permanent fixture!

Don't the flies just know it.....

Mid evening saw a second Arctic Tern fly in.....

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Venus Pool - feeling flighty

Awful light and nothing of note around so I settled for racking the ISO up to 1000 and seeing what flight shots were possible?

The Arctic Tern was still present....

I can't remember when I last saw a Heron here (and this one flew straight out!

The Little Ringed Plover duels continue -  as if to say "and don't come back!"

He didn't.....