My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
To view pictures in larger format, just click on any picture for the picture gallery....

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Norfolk... Birds... Cold!!

I hadn't planned much this weekend so when Pete said "Norfolk?" I said "Yes!

As we drove the sun came up.... a precious thing that, regrettably, wasn't going to last. Pete spotted a Marsh Harrier - woo hoo; I was driving so - no spot for me - boo hoo :)

We stopped for breakfast at Walker's.... yummy bacon, sausage and egg rolls and a cuppa!

We reached Salthouse and got out of the warm car. The wind, coming in a north-easterly direction howled off the sea. But a small flock of Turnstones, turned stones in the sunlight.

Later on, a couple of Golden Plover were spotted!

And in one of the natural pools, a singular Redshank scurried about.

We drove off in pursuit of a more sheltered location and enroute, we pulled up in the road to watch two or three flocks of Brent Geese coming into land! There's always something that gives that frisson of excitement seeing birds en masse flying like that! Lovely.

We went on and duly arrived at Skulthorpe. It's mostly wooded which gave some welcome shelter from the wind. As we walked, the birds were scarce

We arrived at the Whitely Hide and there the birds were numerous! Chaffinches (dozens), Coal, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, a Reed Bunting..

A Water Rail that, as usual, stayed mostly hidden and when it did venture out it broke the speed records in its dash to cover at the next clump of reeds...

Typical! :D

A group of 12 Long-tailed tits arrived... lovely :D

And then, another year tick, a male Bullfinch - the colours are amazing.

A female soon appeared..

and a couple of Bramblings added to the variety around the feeding area

On the way back a buzzard flew whilst another sat on the fence at the road side.

Most enjoyable day out in good company.... and had dinner cooked for me too.... :D

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Flutters and a Fisher!

Well today I was going to have a day in sorting out some music on a couple of CDs that have just arrived..(Delius: Complete Violin Sonatas and Officium). These to put on my MP3 player and send to a friend for his.... but..... the sun came out.... so I headed off to RHS Wisley where (for a few weeks) they've got some rather exotic flutters in the Glasshouse - so I didn't really get any music sorted (ooops : sorry Pete... tomorrow...)

I had lost a part of my tripod and was wondering whether to replace it or not (there were no spare parts available from the originator or any other make!!)

Last time I went to take pictures of these flutters, I had to wait about 40 minutes for my (camera) lens to get up to temperature to avoid steaming up. This time, I kept the lens warm in the car and rushed through to the glasshouse. Still wasn't enough but I didn't have so long to wait. BUT I was using the macro lens at times and yes, I did miss my tripod!!

Eventually, I could see (through my glasses) and the camera could see (through its lens) and I finally managed these. But by now, the glasshouse was packed with people and getting any shots wasn't easy.

By now I was extremely hot having been in very humid atmosphere for some time, so I headed off for the birdhide.

After about 20 mintues, the obliging Kingfisher put in an appearance. At first it was quite near but very hidden.,

Eventually it moved...

and after some unsuccessful fishing, it perched elsewhere

until eventually flying off up the river..

Elsewhere, an Egyptian Goose claimed it territory from a lofty perch

and on my way out, a wonderful Robin serenaded me from its lofty perch
Now - there's something about Robins that I just can't resist!

Got some food shopping and then.... well I'd really missed not having a tripod so I headed off to London Wetland Centre to the In Focus shop for a replacement - which was reduced in price so - not a bad day all told :D

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Waxwings... just!

The sky is - Blue!!
The sun is - Shining!!
I am - awake!!
No - I am dreaming!!

Never mind, despite the grey and drizzle I duly arrived at London Wetland Centre (and had breakfast :D - best value meal there). Some of the regulars were already breakfasting and John and Therese very kindly offered me a seat in their car as they were off to (hopefully) see the Waxwings that had been frequenting a Homebase (other stores are available ;) ) car park in Osterley. I accepted their kind offer and together with another couple of friends we headed off.

In a rather messy corner of the car park we waited - together with some other familiar faces that had arrived before us. Well - three Waxwings duly arrived but perched up high against a dull sky - not really conducive to good photography.

But hey - nothing ventured nothing gained
(so herewith another set of record shots - perhaps before 2011 is over, I will have managed a picture that isn't a record shot!!)

Having watched the 3 for a bit, a small flock of them flew over and...... continued going!! harumph!!

Whilst we stood and waited, a couple of Redwings came down into the bushes.

We headed back of to Barnes. Nothing much about although one of the Bitterns was showing - intermittently!

A Shoveller - shovelled

had a bit of a preen....

and a scratch

and tried to squash that itch!!

A little Grebe swam into view.... hunting for food

which it found...

but what it found.....I've no idea
(if you have, I'd be pleased to know what the Dapchick's meal was?)

And that was it for the day.... I came home.... and the sun? Still noticeable by its absence!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Kingfisher at last!

Well today started rather well. I had an appointment at the latter end of the morning so was able to spot, when walking into the sitting room, a Reed Bunting perched in the bush waiting for the feeders. Woo hoo.... this is only the 2nd time I've seen one in the garden and it brought the total number of species up to 20 for 2011!

The Garden Year List so far:
Long-tailed Tit
Great Spotted WoodpeckerJay
Robin (3 at one time!!)
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Feral Pigeon
Ring necked Parakaeet
House Sparrow (this is great news - hopefully they are returning after a considerable absence)
Blackcap (female)
Grey Heron (flew over)
Reed Bunting.

On a previous post, Graham Mc had mentioned about the hide at RHS Wisley having re-opened. Thanks for the reminder Graham (and if you read this, could you drop me an email please? I'm not sure which Graham you are) and having had to re-arrange today's outing I decided that, given I'd a couple of hours to spare this afternoon, I would pop down to Wisley.

I'm glad I did. Initially (from the hide) 2 x crows and 4 x mallards were the most I'd seen until I heard that all too familiar call of a Kingfisher!! I waited and finally it flashed past and landed on a branch opposite in the distance. Yet another record shot but, to date, the best record shot of a Kingfisher so far!!

The light was beginning to fade as I headed back to the car park, but the Mallards came up trumps as usual.

Water off a duck's back? A bit of an illusion but nonetheless...

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