Thursday, 18 March 2010

I'll be back....

18 March 2010
Eagerly awaited and it's the return of the Marsh Tit, back at the feeders. Also the Green Sandpiper has been present on and off for the last couple of days. It is incredibly flighty and any movement in the garden by me or next door and it's off. But it does return so I suspect it has a series of flooded fields that it visits.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Two much

16 March 2010 8am (again)
This is almost too much, Two Green Sandpipers now on the waterlogged field behind the garden and then a third wader which was chased off by one of the Green Sands, but not enough time to get on it! Birds a bit flighty this morning and flew off as I ventured into the garden. I think they'll be back.
Here a couple of rubbish flights shots. White rump and dark underwing.
Now I wonder what that other wader was???.... Solitary Sand ? ..... Spotted....... Hmmm off to work.

Evening surprise

15 March 2010
The Green Sandpiper still present this evening.

And then some sort of blob resembling a duck also on the waterlogged field, of course it had to be a Mallard, but wait a minute, it looks a bit small, quick check through the scope and there it was a Teal ! I couldn't believe it, just the other side of the fence.

......and then to round the day off, one of the local Muntjacs popped in to have a look (obiously needed Teal on it's list) .

Ok none of these pics will win any awards, but it's a way off and most importantly it's just behind the house. I'm made up !

Monday, 15 March 2010

It's back

Monday 15 March - 8am
I said it was eagerly awaited and it didn't disappoint. A check of the field out back while readying Tom for school and there was a small wader on the waterlogged field. The Green Sandpiper had returned, or at least I presume it's the same bird and not an early Spring migrant. Clearly seen here !

and with the wonders of cropping....
one Green Sandpiper. Other birds present were two Moorhens, five Woodpigeons and two Mallards. All happily feeding away. The Green Sandpiper stayed for about an hour before this (below) great gullumphing thing wandered over. Strange to think that just under forty years ago I used to hitch up to Norfolk from Kent to twitch these, and now, not only Norfolk but Pentney is full of them - Egyptian Goose.

Subtle they are not!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Blasted Barn Owls

Saturday 13 March
The forecast said a sunny day, but in reality it was grey skies early on. Given the dull conditions I quickly put the camera on the back seat and set off to work. Just outside Grimston and suddenly at the side of the road a Barn Owl sat on a post. I drove past slowly, pulled in and grabbed the camera - Hmmm the dull conditions had relaxed my preparations so when I got hold of the camera I found there was no card in it ! Grasping around the car I found a 4MB card - excellent - put it in, and it said card Full ! crisis now as I could still see the Barn Owl. Found another card and turned the car round. Slowed down as I approached it and of course it was looking away !
and then it saw something in the grass......
the shutter clicked and it heard, looked at me and flew off. It's still not the great shot of Barn Owl I have set my heart on this year, but for a dull day and with just a couple of seconds, it's acceptable.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A touch of the Med !

7 March 2010
While off to dump a load of garden rubbish at the Abbey and pick up some well rotted cow manure a quick stop at The Lakes provided me with a real bonus and a Pentney tick ! Two Mediterranean Gulls were on the water and then flying around. Rubbish photo below of them at long distance, but you can make out what they are, all white upper wing, stubbier bill than Black-headed, and that distinctive drooping head appearance. Also the flight action was stiffer than the accompanying Black-headed Gulls

a less rounded head than the Black-head Gull. This one here is an adult summer bird
and this one (below) still to get it's full black hood, no sign of black on the wing (apart from outer primary) so I guess an adult winter coming into adult summer, rather than a second winter bird. Crikey I really do dislike ageing Gulls - find them really difficult.
Med Gulls have been reported at the lakes before, but I've never caught up with them so this was a right result as they say.

Salthouse revisited

6 March 2010
With a couple of hours spare before a rather tedious trip planned to Ikea in Milton Keynes a decision had to be made. A walk round the village and to the old barn, or an hour at Pentney lakes ? So straight into the car and off to the coast ! Snow Buntings here we come (again). Glorious morning and on arrival there they were, feeding away on a little mound of grass.
These little birds really are fantastic and I make no apologies for my ramblings, both verbal and in distance to see these, so to that end more pictures..........

Ok that's enough. Other birds included a feeding group of Turnstones

a Ringed Plover

and a Common Gull
Time was ticking on so after about forty minutes I left calling in briefly at Walsey Hills car park to look at the Brent Geese.
and while doing so an elderly couple told me there was a Crane flying overhead, or was it a Stork !
I tactfully pointed out the main id criteria and we then agreed it probably wasn't. In fact as it flew right past us I was able to convince them as to it's real identity. They thanked me and left to see if they could find the Black Brant at Wells. Now some people would have been quite critical of their approach but I was happy to chat with them and I feel that such interactions are all too few with modern birding. Those who have good id knowledge can often be all too condescending and treat others in a very off hand manner. These two people were a lovely old couple that spent their time out bird watching. Great stuff really.

Not a Crane, not a Stork, but a Heron

Thursday, 4 March 2010

British Rail

4 March 2010
The weather forecast last night was good for the morning so I left home early to do a pre work walk at Titchwell RSPB reseve. I arrived in glorious sunshine to an empty carpark. Onto the reserve and not a sole to be seen. Where was everyone ? this is supposed to be the most heavily visited reserve in Britain now and I couldn''t see anyone, empty hide and only one person further down the path. This place is normally heaving, even first thing. looking onto the lagoon and here was my first clue - no birds, well not by Titchwell standards. Then I remembered that site management was taking place. So I had to be content with this Reed Bunting, basking in the sunshine. A few Ruff a long way off but other than that not a lot.

Then as quickly as it came out the sun disappeared and the temperature dropped. That combined with a ticking clock had me heading back to the car. As I neared the fisherman's car pull in, a small movement caught my eye in the ditch and out crept a Water Rail. It was well hidden for the first couple of minutes but slowly edged out of the gloom into a little less gloom, poking about for worms. It stayed in the shadows feeding quite actively. then rushed off into the undergrowth (as they do). Given the dark conditions I was lucky to get these shots.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

A boootiful morning......

2 March 2010 we say in Norfolk. So nice to wake up to a day without rain and by 7.30am the sun was breaking through. And a very alert Robin making sure any other intruders were put down.

A quick check of the feeders, the usual suspects plus now frequently Long tailed Tits

And then in among the Blue and Great Tits someone was playing peekaboo, and that someone turned out to be

Yup a Marsh Tit, there for a few seconds and then gone. I await it's return...eagerly !
I look out over the field and see something larger moving slowly along the hedge.

...a Muntjac
and then overhead a flock of birds that weren't corvids, now this is a surprise and what's more they were not Woodpigeons,  instead quite a rare sight, a group of about fifty Lapwings, part of the flock here

and finally around the front of the house, another mammal but smaller this time as the Harvestile Bank Vole made another appearance, albeit at high speed ! I am sure it's getting smaller.