Friday 29 August 2014

Splatt bridge - Marsh Sandpiper

I couldn't get down for this the previous day but once it was confirmed still present, the M5 beckoned for hopefully my second Marsh Sandpiper (259).... It was also my THIRD visit to Splatt Bridge near Frampton on Severn in the past month....  I'd called there dipping Cattle Egret twice on my journey to and from Penzance recently.....

I wasn't going to dip this one though! I managed to park up and having walked up the canal with my scope and got reasonable views, I went back to the car to get the camera gear - I hate leaving without so much as a record shot!

Here's the big problem though! The strip of water some 150m + distant was where the Marsh Sand was associating with a mixed flock of Ruff and Greenshank.

There was only one thing for it - stacked (2x + 1.4x) converters yet again and record shots once again!

Dwarfed by this male Ruff....

And of course even more so by a Greenshank!

So far as individual shots were concerned, there were a couple of 'keepers' from a huge amount of swiftly deleted files!

There were plenty of opportunities for flight, not easy when manual focussing with so shallow depth of field!

I'll settle for this one which will even make the 'identity crisis' talk!

How can these two be mixed up?

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Grimley - "Blue-winged" Teal

Any good bird found in Worcs. is not that far from home and with news of a Blue-winged Teal turning up at Camp Lane Pools the previous evening, it was 'must do' the following morning....

Once news came out, I was there just after 10:00 and so was a group of a dozen locals - watching from the 'viewpoint' conveniently close to the road! The teal was on the nearest (northern) pool with a few Mallard and clearly much smaller. It was as close as it could be but still pretty distant, even for the 500mm lens and all the early views were of it head down, frantically feeding in the shallows!

The occasional wing stretch confirmed the blue wing panel.....

Flushed by the occasional dog walker, one distant flight shot was possible!

One feature which didn't seem quite right was the bill. I had my scope handy and as others had remarked, it was clearly large.....

And as seen in this head on shot, somewhat Shoveler-like albeit smaller.....

A brief wander about more distantly in the shallows gave a chance to check out the legs - no rings and the colour seemed OK in these - appearing much darker against white water, the light seemed to have a big influence on leg colour.

There's more images out there. Check out these better images on the Grimley birding site . LGRE was adamant at the time it was Blue-winged Teal x Northern Shoveler. You can find his observations here

There's also been a suggestion it could be a female Cinnamon Teal (or hybrid of) which looks another reasonable possibility?

It's taken me a while to make time to view / sort these and it will be interesting to see if a definite conclusion is reached? I need to do some web trawling to make my own conclusions but for now it's unclear exactly what it is other than a 'Blue-winged' Duck for now.....

Saturday 23 August 2014

Venus Pool - Common Sandpiper

I'm Still nursing a Scilly hangover and Venus Pool doesn't help that much although there were some 'common' waders coming reasonably close today! A bit of down to earth birding......

Like this juvenile Common Sandpiper! Initially on the mud....

It came up on the bank in front of the hide :-)

Stealthily hunting for insects!

But not having much luck!

And there's more.....

Venus Pool - Common Snipe

A couple of Common Snipe are fresh in and here's the most obliging....

Full frame shots.....

Before disappearing into the ragwort!

It was close!

One more to come.....

Venus Pool - Green Sandpiper

The final wader - one of three Green Sandpipers present today!

One day something decent will drop in??

Monday 11 August 2014

St Mary's - Butterflies

I don't do Butterflies (much) nowadays - they probably had a lot to do with my my back problem (all that twisting and crouching) but I was beguiled by a smart Clouded Yellow which I followed for 50m - only to see it disappear over the cliff! It would have been rude to ignore these two Scilly endemics currently on the wing and in the main looking the worse for wear!

Meadow Brown (subsp. cassiteridum)

The distinct underwing....

Speckled Wood (subsp. insula)

Common Blue

Holly Blue

Small Tortoiseshell

A peaceful St Mary's harbour before the big blow......

The secret (ingredient) of pelagic success....

They were ready in case we got into trouble?

The alternative pelagic - not sure if this will be giving Joe too much competition?

Meagre hand luggage allowance aside, this is another good reason to travel on the Scillonian!

A Scilly hangover will be forthcoming but its only seven weeks before I'm back there :-)

Porthellick Pool - Waders!

No pelagic today sadly but my last day on Scilly was spent wandering around the island hoping for something exciting? Lovely views and big clouds about - I missed all the rain!

Porthellick beach....

Another view.

No exciting birds turned up sadly - just a group of 9 Greenshank and 1juv Common Sandpiper at Porthellick Pool.....The Greenshanks spent most of the time asleep apart from this individual!

In the mood for the camera!

And plenty of food forthcoming, mostly worms....

The Common Sandpiper came right under the hide!

Another worm about to disappear!

Ruffled up after a preen in reflection....

And a reflective moment for the Greenshank.

There were quite a few butterflies about on the cliff walk......