Thursday 27 February 2014

Lemsford Springs - Little Egret etc

February turned out to be one of my busiest months ever with talks all over the country and commitments mainly on the plant scene which kept the birding at bay! Apart from a productive Chasewater gull roost on the 18th (Glaucous, Iceland, Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls) this was to be my first meaningful lift of the bins (not to mention the camera) since the Red-flanked Bluetail!!

I was en-route from Herts to Essex and had googled likely stops around the M25? Lemsford Springs seemed a small but interesting site and after eventually finding the place, I spent a couple of hours there.....

The highlight was undoubtedly a Mealy Redpoll with a couple of Lessers on a feeder in the wardens garden - the bins view didn't convert to a picture as they all flew off and didn't return for the next 45 mins!!!

It's a haven for Green Sandpiper due to the millions of freshwater shrimps found in the shallow lagoons there!

Did you know.... A Green Sandpiper will eat approx 8,000 of them a day?!!

At least two Kingfisher were seen flashing around the river but never paused on one of the 'sticks'. Little Egret were a lot more obliging however, even if the poses were remarkably similar!

 Then the sun came out!

I was planning to spend the weekend in Norfolk, with hopes of something more interesting?

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Marshfield - Red-flanked Bluetail

Following a frantic week of talks and plant 'activities'  with minimal birding, it was nice to be back out on the road today - even if it was the M5! The only decent bird from the past week was from a three hour session at Hams Wall where the Hume's leaf Warbler showed well twice late morning but then wasn't seen again? Good views with bins don't always convert to images!

With news of the Red-flanked Bluetail at Marshfield S Gloucs., I was tempted and then succumbed, arriving on site at 11.30. Parking was easier than anticipated (one good reason not to arrive TOO early) but the bird had been pushed by the 'pack' up the stream and was not showing at all (one reason to get there early!!)

Nevertheless, it wasn't long before it was back, working it's way up and down the stream - great views, a confiding bird but limited open bankside so it was hard work!

But had it's memorable moments!

Most of the best opportunities came from sitting and waiting near to the bend 100m downstream of the farm.....

Red flanks always on view and with blue appearing on the wing shoulder, it seems to fit with the popular vote for 1st winter male.

As for the tail, when it stopped flicking!

Various opportunities, not just by the stream!

Even allowing a much better look at the tail and wings!

Head on by the stream.....

Plus a couple of portraits to finish with in differing light conditions......

Whichever way you look at - this is going to be a very popular bird for some time yet! I wouldn't want to witness the parking mayhem likely at the weekend???