Monday, 18 January 2021

On this day (Jan 18th)... 2011 - Waxwings!

On this day (January 18th 2011) I spent my lunch break photographing Waxwings!!

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! I was just leaving work for lunch when I got a text reporting 'Waxwings at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital' the previous day. Now for those of you who don't know where I work, my office is within 200m of where they were seen! 

Walking to the car, what should fly overhead.... a small flock of Waxwings, eventually at least a dozen and quite obliging they were too! They were feeding on rose hips, quite astonishing to watch these giant fruits being forced down 









Down it goes...... 



The digestion phase was carried out on the small trees nearby and quite a change to have one or two on the same 'level'.....


 


They were pretty close too! 




A final burst was reserved for one bird nicely perche with a distant grassy bank behind. Gone are the distracting tangle of twigs and branches normally encountered.... 



Wonder if I'll ever tire of them?

Sunday, 17 January 2021

On this day (Jan 17th)... 2010 - Black Kite!

 On January 17th 2010, I was in search of the 2010 Black Kite at Gigrin Farm...


A late morning diversion for one of my bogey birds - Bean Goose, turned out to be another Runner Bean! Or even a 'has bean' with not even a Canada in sight - just a flock of Mute Swans on the fields by Baskerville Hall near Hay on Wye.... Onwards to Gigrin farm then and surely the Black Kite wouldn't disappoint? Following the cold snap, Red Kites are present here in the 100's and the biggest problem for photography would be isolating individual birds out from the crowd? The feeding frenzy began - even as the meat was unloaded!! 

 
Whilst the Black Kite was my ultimate aim, you just couldn't ignore the impressive sight of 100's of Red Kites diving and feeding some 50m away! 


Always nice to see the upperwing seen here to contrast with one particular Gigrin bird..... 


A very pale 'White' Red Kite - a partly leucistic bird - not as pale as some clones but by far the easiest bird to pick out.....

 

Then at last, it all came good - a one and only chance to nail the Black Kite - a quick burst as it collected some food before disappearing over the back of the hides.... 

  

It did return later but by now the light had gone and very difficult to capture against the milky white sky.... 

  
A bonus shot in one of the trees adjacent to the feeding station to end the day!!

 

Saturday, 16 January 2021

On this day (Jan 16th)... 2014 - Yellow-legged Gulls!

January normally means Gull watching but I'll have to be content with previous posts for now! Depite being relatively common locally (Telford) their 'smartness' always stands out...


Still no white-winger on offer but a creditable 5 Yellow-legged Gulls (3 ad / 2 3rd w) in a frantic 'in/out' pre-roost wash today! I managed to pause the scan to catch three of them.....

Two adults....




Plus a 3rd Winter....


Classy gulls which still stand out amongst the hordes of now  'white-headed' Herring Gulls!

Friday, 15 January 2021

On this day (Jan 15th)... 2012 - Short-eared Owls!

Probably some of the best moments I've had with Short-eared Owls on this day back in 2012...

It doesn't necessarily pay off to return to the scene of a good day's birding but I took the chance an even better display would be on the cards today! I'd decided to try a change of tactic by sitting in the car away from the main gallery and hoping for a 'fly past'? Four hours later at 3.30, it had been a complete no show and whilst nearly nodding off, I was beginning to question the decision..... Then, at 3.40, one Shortie got up and started to hunt. It wasn't long before it was looming larger in the viewfinder (a few cropped images on the closer images).

Ever nearer......Eyes gleaming in the warm glow of the setting sun!Eventually it was quartering right in front of me, I missed a lot (it was not easy from the car to keep up with such a fast manoeuvreable subject with a 500mm lens!) I'll settle for these though?What a moment :-)Finally, moving into the direction of the light as the sun set....

Good night!

Thursday, 14 January 2021

On this day (Jan 14th)... 2017 - Scaup trio!

 Flashback to Jan 14th 2017 and more wildfowl, this time three Scaup at Colemere...

I was on my way to the Mere gull roost, stopped off at Colemere and with the 3 Scaup right out in the middle of the mere, decided to check out the wood? A few Redpoll and a Treecreeper were the only worthwhile birds seen and with the clock ticking away, I retraced my steps... only to find the Scaup had now paddled within camera range!!!


I literally gave them 5 minutes but still managed to get some half decent record shots in the gathering gloom!

Ladies first - the female...




And the first winter male showing off his developing plumage!




The adult male always an irritating distance behind the youngster, impossible to get them both in focus!




But just about managed all three as they drifted away....


The Mere roost beckoned, only a few minutes lost!

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

On this day (Jan 13th)... 2008 - female Ring-necked Duck!






On this day... 13th January 2008 there was a female Ring-necked Duck at Monkmoor Sewage Works. Give that most folk can't get in there now, I sometimes wonder what has been overlooked...

Here's the original blog post (from the dark ages of formatting! some pics do not resize...)

A return of the female Ring-necked Duck to Monkmoor, a kind offer from Geoff Holmes to open Fort Knox! Same bird, same attitude - asleep or just lazing there - pretending to be asleep. Than a bit of a stretch, preen and yawn.....


























 






















Then a  circuit around the island - some wideawake views (in the gloom)! 



























Poor light but not an 'everyday' bird for the Shire!??