Sunday, 2 December 2018

Chelmarsh reservoir - Great Northern Diver

A second visit to the reservoir late morning was a little more productive on the image front... The Great Northern Diver was roaming the whole reservoir but eventually I caught up with it fishing within 100m - a whole lot better then 400m away!!

In fact on a couple of occasions, it came much closer than that!

Not a lot of variety other than a turn of the head!

And clearly heading in the right direction!

It's a juvenile with characteristic fringes to the feathers giving the scaly appearance...

Having spent two three hour sessions over the past 24 hours, nice to get some sort of reward despite the gloom and rain!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Meols - Pied Wheatear

With a talk booked for Friday evening in Burton (Wirral) just 20 mins away from Meols,  I didn't dash over for the showy Pied Wheatear when news first came out! It was risky chancing it staying four days but my luck was in and stay it did! The only problem was the poor light and forecast of rain! Here's a few pics from my two hours there during the afternoon...

I was right about the light! The rain wasn't prolonged...

Yay, I was content to get some decent images as it worked its way along the sea wall, every now and then launching off to catch small insects!

Sometimes, landing ridiculously close!

Maybe he was trying to flush the small group of photographers gathered?

Another view via mobile phone! You can just about see a boat in the background?

Which came in handy to inject a hint of colour into a pretty monochrome day!

It had one spell on the promenade...

Rooting about in the dead vegetation...

And as the wind was strengthening, almost getting blown off the wall!

That will all do very nicely despite the lack of some blue sky! It was virtually five years to the day after seeing my first Pied Wheatear and here's a link to the Collingham Pits female on the 10th November 2013.

This day seems to produce rare Wheatears! Here's a Desert Wheatear at Gorleston-on-Sea on 10th November 2014!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Venus Pool - Pink-footed Goose

A mid afternoon visit was timed to perfection with this juv Pink-footed Goose showing amazingly well in front of the hide! It had been point blank a few moments earlier!

Feeding ravenously on the vegetation...

Then stomping forwards towards the hide again!

Bit of a pose!

Then, it was all too much effort?

Time for a lie down :-)

The Egyptian Goose still present on the middle island and juv Pintail (fast asleep for most of the time)

Friday, 26 October 2018

Venus Pool - Whooper Swan invasion!

After a quiet catch up with guys in the hide at Venus Pool and only the long staying Egyptian Goose to show for my patience, I decided to check the arable field. It was even quieter there but the lack of action was about to be forgotten once I reached the oak tree and checked the fishing pool! First a family group of 5 Yellow billed Swans... then two adults plus a juv... then another four adults... what was going on? Well, after checking a few images, there were... 12 Whooper Swans going on!! (Eight adults and 4 juvs). Dave Chapman  joined me and in between showers, it would have been rude not to confirm the numbers and age the swans plus take an image or two? There's probably nearer 20 images here, I couldn't make my mind up which to use!!

Despite there being different groups, this image was a one off with all four juveniles present tagging along together...

Generally however,  the family 'group of five' with three youngsters would keep together with one or both of the parents always with them.

Sometimes cruising randomly...

Or in a procession!

Eventually they gave some quite close passes in the corner of the pool!

 One to one moments...

Three adults together...

And the three juvs...

A one and only wing flap!

A final solo portrait or juv and adult!

And curiously, this quirky moment is probably my favourite?

 The swans were clearly deadbeat on the water, from time to time simply nodding off!

It isn't always about the rares! As birding moments go, this was right up there with the best. An unforgettable Whooper show!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Land End - Grey Catbird

The Grey Catbird at Lands End had captivated the attention of not just the birding fraternity but local news alike! I'd calmly sat out the storm of regional news / sightings whilst on St Mary's resisting thoughts of flying off... but after the Friday Scillonian gave no chance of getting there in daylight, it was back to hoping there wouldn't be a Friday night clearout!

I picked up Richard Stonier and Ash Fisher who had come on the boat and were staying nearby, before first light and with only a few miles to travel, we were there for the first call! (These pictures were taken much later!)

Another birding gateway to heaven?

And given the first Saturday chance for many, a pretty quiet start to the day!

After flicking about in the distant hedgerow, at 8.15 it finally gave a tickable view! Where's a Tunnocks Teacake when you need one? In the car sadly! It was calling regularly, often as it flew or landed in cover, so never too difficult to find.

This was the habitat viewed from far side of the site - a footpath leading behind the farmhousegains access...

And always seemed to be something in the way whilst pinning down that gorgeous rufous undertail...

Just about managed it here!

And then it was a question of dealing with highly directional harsh side lighting for an image or two?

The gallery number was steadily increasing although there was plenty of room and generally well behaved!

Eventually a few decent images covering all the angles as it emerged from cover!

An this was probably the clearest view I had! It's a relatively easy bird to 'see', getting an open clutter free view however took several hours!

But worth every minute ...