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Saturday, 28 November 2009

Round Leicester on 28th November 2009

I was very privileged, today, to be introduced by Paul Riddle to his patch. Paul is probably more knowledgeable than anyone about Little Owls in the Leicester area. The weather could not have been much worse for finding owls but Paul managed. He also took me to one of his favourite non-owl sites. Thank you, Paul, for a great day.
Little Owl (female)
Marsh Tit

Great Tit
Bullfinch (male)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

My Garden - Waggy's back!

Every Spring and Autumn, for several years now, we have had a Grey Wagtail in our garden. After a brief visit a couple of weeks ago and then no further sightings, the day after we had two Nuthatches "Waggy" returned and has been visiting us on a frequent basis over the last three days. It can't be the same bird every year as, several times, it has been a 'first winter' bird that has arrived (as is this one). We only have a 'postage-stamp' of a garden, so I am quite surprised that we get a bird regularly twice a year without fail. I suspect they are birds of the same lineage, and it is in the genes. So far, this time, I have only managed to catch him when the light has been appalling - these pics were taken with the lens at 400mm, 1/80 second at 1250 ASA and f5.6!

Monday, 23 November 2009

My Garden - The Return of the Nuthatch

It's a couple of years since I had seen a Nuthatch in our garden so I was delighted when one appeared on 12th November. It returned on a regular and frequent basis for a several days, but I had not seen it for a few days until this morning - and this time it brought a friend! I just missed getting a shot of them both together. I hope that they will both return when the weather is not so dull and wet.

Branston Gravel Pits on 22nd November 2009

With evil weather around (wind and rain), it was never going to be a good day photographically. In the morning I was on one of Dave Scattergood's bird walks for East Staffordshire - this one to Branston Water Park. Plenty of birds were seen, including Water Rail, Snipe, Pochard, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Kingfisher, Redwing and Goldcrest, but no photos were taken. However, afterwards I joined Dave for a walk round Branston Gravel Pits (Dave's 'patch') and did manage a few 'record shots'. There were approximately 600 Golden Plover, 7 Green Sandpipers, 6 and 12 Curlew (on different waters), Redshank, Ruff, and Little Egret.
Yellowhammer (male)
Golden Plover

Staunton Harold on 17th November 2009

As I was passing close by, I decided to drop in on the 'Round Car Park' at Staunton Harold (Calke) for a few minutes to see if anything was happening. I am pleased to say that the colony of Tree Sparrows there seems to be thriving. However, the weather was very windy and so most of the birds were staying hidden.
Tree Sparrows
. Chaffinch (female)

Friday, 6 November 2009

Phoenix Falconry on 25th October 2009

We took our daughter and grandaughter to Twin Lakes, an amusement park for youngsters near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. One of the Attractions here is a superb falconry centre, operated by Phoenix Falconry. The flying display was excellent, allowing the audience to see the birds at extremely close quarters. After the display there was the opportunity to see some of the other birds, not involved in the flying display, in close-up. It was a totally magical time. Whilst I would usually only show wildlife on this blog, I do not think that it is inappropriate to show some of these wonderful birds here.
Ferruginous Hawk (male)
Lanner Falcon
Little Owl

Hooded Vulture (male)

Barn Owl (female)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Eastern Crowned Warbler on 24th October 2009

Dave Scattergood asked me if I fancied the 180 mile run up to South Shields after his morning birdwalk in Staffordshire, in order to see the Eastern Crowned Warbler up there. We set off in pouring rain at about 12.30, and it chucked it down virtually all the way up there. With over an hour's worth of lost time because of stop-start traffic jams on the A1, I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get there before it got dark, but we arrived shortly after 16.00. It was still throwing it down when we entered South Shields, but as we entered the car park, the clouds parted and the sun shone brightly. I managed a few 'record shots' of the Eastern Crowned Warbler (I was never going to get better than this with my equipment at this distance), but I did not manage any shots of the Yellow-browed Warbler that was also there, although I did see it.