Monday 30 May 2016

Laggan - Icterine Warbler

This was a totally unexpected start to my trip to the Scottish Highlands! Despite the fact that I didn't pick it up until late the previous evening, it was still present and on arrival.... singing it's heart out and sort of 'showing well' :-)

See what I mean, showing the pale wing panel here!

It was quite adept at hiding behind leaves and branches but eventually a few 'keepers' emerged with most of the bird on show!

Blue sky as well.....

The long bill, short supercilium and pale lores showing nicely here.....

And back to where we came in! Singing it's heart out!

A Tunnock's teacake was beckoning! There was also a cuckoo on the opposite of the road distracting me on occasions too!

Laggan - Cuckoo

During the moments (and there were a few) whilst the Icky did a skulk, I turned my attention to the female Cuckoo on the opposite side of the road.

It was perched on a wire which often necessitated vertical flight.....

Where it was watching out for caterpillars (and meadow pipits!)

Off we go!

Always nice to capture in mid-glide....

Nothing caught this time, so back up on the wire!

Cuckoos are everywhere!!

Sunday 29 May 2016

Loch Insh - Goldeneye

A stop at Loch Insh on the way up to Grantown-on-spey produced an obliging female Goldeneye...

Busy chasing off another female in the area!

Motivated to protect this cute young family?

Ahhhhhh :-)

Loch Insh - Osprey

In terrible light and drizzle, an Osprey was checking out the loch for fish? Hovering to no avail sadly!

One of those sights I never tire of seeing.....

Taking evasive action from the local corvids....

Showing just how agile they can be!

One more local speciality coming up to hopefully finish the day ?

Slavonian Grebe

The rain started to fall (again) and a class bird to end the day. In fact every day in the Highlands should end with a bird like this? Slavonian Grebe - stunning in summer plumage!

Even in the rain!

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Willow Tit Survey

Willow Tits are in trouble! BTO data shows they have declined by 92% in the last 25 years. They are  'around' in Shropshire at a variety of sites and a species recovery project has been organised by the RSPB but first.... we need to know where they are!

There are a number of sites in Shropshire where they are either known to breed, suspected to breed or have bred in the past. If you feel you can help with some surveying work in 2017, please contact

More details on the survey itself can be found here.

Here's some recent images, taken at Haughmond Hill.....

Busy collecting food and observed from a sensible distance!

Plewnty of small mouths to feed!

This pair were successful in raising young.... How many more are?

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Venus Pool - Little Tern!!!

*** I've got 100's (no 1,000's) unsorted images from the last week which will take a while to process***  These are being uploaded 'ahead of the rest!' So, if you're interested in the outcome of two consecutive 'Ternsdays' keep checking backwards.......

The Tern tour of the North Shropshire area with Mike Stokes was about to come to an abrupt halt with news coming in of a Little Tern at Venus Pool. Crikey, we had both had LT in Shropshire but this was a potential patch tick for both of us so we dashed back to the car and blasted back to VP - question was... would it stick?

Yesssssss! It would :-)

Clearly not on speaking terms with this Common Tern!

And then flying wildly around the pool in search of fish! It was a nightmare to keep it in the viewfinder!!

White sky didn't help for overhead shots!

But it was keeping low most of the time and seen here hovering for fish.....

A composite sequence - can't guarantee it's the same fish and always flying into the wind - away from me!!

Such a pity the unseen fish wasn't visible here, not that would have made my day!

But these flight shots (amongst the most difficult I've ever taken) certainly did make my day :-)

And it was still present late evening......

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Venus Pool - Common Tern invasion!

It was all happening today, it was almost as if the Sanderling got kicked into touch as my attention turned to the single Common Tern which had been present since arrival!

You can't have it all and good Tern days are invariably dank and drizzly....

But watching Terns jink and jive as they catch insects in flight is magic (especially when you never quite know if you'll see them here from one year to the next!)

And before long, I realised there was company arriving!

Three more Common Terns......

Imagine my excitement when after another 30 minutes, it literally rained a new flock of newcomers!

I couldn't get them all in the frame but repeated counts revealed the new (much larger) group numbered 22 more Common Terns

Not enough room on this bit of prime Tern real estate!

And occasionally they would land and spread out on the main island.....

Occasionally flying in and out....

One Tern (probably the original one for the day) kept flying but we were now witnessing the amazing sight of 25 Terns on the deck.

All good things have to come to an end of course and something triggered (I don't think it was the Coots) their eventual departure after 90 minutes or so?

There they were (well, most of them) gone but not forgotten!!

A record count for the reserve - by a mile!!