Saturday, 19 December 2009

Fill yer boots......

Saturday 17 December 2009

Well yes, fill yer boots, but not with snow !  Left them out at the wrong time and woke to eight inches of snow. Garden looked great and walking around first thing had that muffled effect, no traffic and all sounds very distant - great. Walking on the crisp snow sounded like walking over egg shells covered by felt.....well all very muffled anyway.

A look to the bird feeders revealed some very cold tits. Clearly in need of food they chipped away and soon the garden had over a hundred birds including, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Wren, House Sparrow, Goldfinch. Magpie, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon and Jay to name just the obvious ones.

here the Coal Tit breaking into a frozen feeder.

and here a Blue Tit choosing some less frozen nuts

and very protective of it's nuts in the cold

so after walking round the garden at the back and the normal area of bird activity I was surprised to see some movement on the front lawn, seemed to be bits of vegetation flying into the air. I crept round and saw some snow moving, could it be the moles returning for a Christmas fling, no surely too cold, then up popped a head, almost as surprised to see me as I was it, three seconds, a quick flick of the head, and away

this fine female Green Woodpecker ! I guess someone's got to get through the snow to feed, males have a red centre to the dark moustachial stripe and are usually found back at home waiting for the food to arrive.
So garden done and off round the lanes, with hundreds of Redwings and Fieldfares stripping the bushes of berries.

but unfortunately very jumpy, shame as the Fieldfare is a truely great bird and when you see them up close the apricot colour of the breast and the intricate flank markings make them a wonder to see. So a bit of wandering round hedgerows with plenty of Red-legged Partridges about, and finally a Hare legging it off up the track (good ol' Hatrley).

the short day length and domestic duties (including snow fights with Tom) meant very little time for any proper wildlife viewing, but that said a nice hour or so and all on the doorstep.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Play Misty for me...

Friday 11 December
A very misty start to the day, and birds using the feeders must have felt as nervous as Clint Eastwood in the film, play Misty for somethng was watching intently. Can you see it in the tree ? I saw it from the kitchen and then ensued...where's the bloody camera?... do I take a shot through the glass, yes, crap, so I crept around outside trying to get a shot, tripping over the dog, furiously wiping condensation from the lens and trying so hard not to be seen (professional it wasn't)

The gazing continued by both me and the Sparrowhawk

and the waiting game continued

this time I thought it must see me, seemed to be looking right at me!

but no, just eyeing up any potential food, and then it made a stab at a Blue Tit (too quick for me) and missed, so off to nearby tree. Then along came a Jay (not a spider) which sat behind it knocking a peanut on the branch.

this unnerved the Sparrowhawk and it stretched out and went.

Why do such things happen in such poor light, still it was a good start to the day.
But the fog stayed and it seemed to get greyer and greyer so a quick flirt to the coast and still it was grey, until just one mile from Titchwell and the sky turned blue, the sun was shining and not a cloud to be seen. A walk at the reserve yielded two Water Pipits a fleeting Bearded Tit and this Turnstone.

stepping out on a lovely day

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

December dabblings.....

Tuesday 1 December 2009

So I started off in the garden on a fine morning, once the mist had cleared. It turned into a beautiful day  sunny and with little wind. This Blue Tit was also enjoying the change from horrible weather. The usual suspects were about and some migrant Redwings and Fieldfares, but nothing much else so I decided to venture further afield

Looking up in the trees and no thrushes close enough to be photographed, but a couple of Black headed Gulls took my fancy, one an adult in winter plumage and the other a first winter bird (right). Then to my left a small brown job turned out to be a wintering Chiffchaff, too quick for me and it disappeared as fast as it appeared. A bit more creeping around to a small lake with some duck on it... so fired off a shot at this fellow...

a fine male Pochard with almost blinding sunlight glistening off it's back. I should have stopped down a couple of points really, to bring out the full colour. Scanning round and the usual small lake things about, more gulls, three Teal, stacks of Mallard and then........ some movement in the reeds and slowly, ever so slowly,  drifting out, a brown blob

which manifest itself as a Little Grebe ! admittedly in rather scruffy winter type plumage but unexpected,  and, on such a lovely day it's reflection was almost as clear as the bird itself Double click on the image ) . A good day curtailed early by cloud coming in and the wind getting up, and then a bit of drizzle and then...back to wet and windy.