Friday, 17 June 2011

Twice Bittern.....

Friday 17 June

A very early morning flit to Titchwell again just in case the Bitterns were still around. The distinct lack of people answered my question, but to my amazement the adult bird was apparently still flying around. Clearly too boring for the crowds - great ! So I gave it a couple of hours, during which time there were two flight runs to feed the chicks. Unfortunately it was rather dull and the birds were quite a way off.

Apparently the female had called the chicks to her yesterday late afternoon and the young had swum across the scrape to the northern section of reeds. Glad I missed that ! Jamie Mc C said it was awesome, some praise from him.

Prior to the Bittern flights however, the Bearded Tits were calling nearby and a group of five young were messing about in the reeds. Note the brown dead reeds, killed by Wainscot moth maggots (caterpillars), - they sound more evil referred to as magotts.

 And then it was time for the Bittern to fly to the young, this time being harassed by a Black-headed Gull.

 being a reed bed everything is a bit brown, the Bitterns are brown, the Bearded Tits are brown, so a nice splash of colour was welcome by a passing Goldfinch (note the brown flanks).

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Once Bittern.....

Thursday 16 June 2011

A quick hour (well normal length hour) down at Titchwell before opening the shop resulted in a great birding encounter. I'd heard that adult Bitterns had been seen at the reserve flying over the track, but on arrival found myself looking at no less than four young Bitterns. Double click on images to see the superb stary eye. You wouldn't want to be a frog walking past one of these !

 and more to the point, watching four young Bitterns with only two other people. Not an experience you would normally associate with the more visited reserve in Britain. The benefits of getting up early.
 The adult female flew over the track and I was expecting it to come in and feed the young, but it was flying to another nest, further away, so presumably a different adult.
 That said these hungry youngsters were alert to the prospect of incoming food and it was necks up as anything flew nearby, in this case it was a Tufted Duck that alerted them.
 After about thirty minutes of watching these fantastic birds they all slowly crept into the depths of the reedbed. I walked back to the car, and in nearby field a solitary Hare was sat enjoying what was to be the last real sunshine of the morning. What a start to a day's work.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Go Gigrin go........

Beginning of June

So it was a great forecast, I had the projected day off and a trip to Gigrin Farm in Wales was planned. I've been wanting to go there for ages and even though in focus holds an annual event there, I've never been. Gigrin Feeding Station was started in 1993 when a few Red Kites were wintering and roosting in the area. The birds were fed and numbers rose from around a dozen to the now staggering totals of about 250 in summer and some 400 plus in the winter.

I mentioned it to Tom "of Cuddesdon" and he rapidly re arranged his patients for the target day, not so much I feel as he relished the opportunity of photographing Red Kites, as he lives just outside Oxford and they are continually either over his house or his allotment, but rather he couldn't bear the thought of me going on my own, such a considerate chap (!).

Arrived and around 1.30pm and a few Kites were about in the distance. Then as it approached 3pm more and more arrived. Below are a few pics, as I took so many I haven't processed them all, but this to give an idea. If you haven't been there, go ! It's bloody amazing !

 The birds gather and thermal round the site, then as the tractor fires up they start to get closer, much closer........
 fantastic masters of flight, a slight twist of the tail, tuck of the wings and they can drop immediately

 not really looking at me, though it felt like it !  but scanning for food
incomming as they say......more on this later. I think clicking on the images will bring them up larger.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Found out !

Ok the secret is out, I never did like that boat to Lundy and anyway this WAS important, so I flew from Norfolk to Lundy......and all because.......well it was a first for Lundy
the evidence caught on camera.... Incidentally the Trumpeter Finch was seen at the beginning of June on the north Devon coast.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Absent from post

So that's the end of May and I posted nowt, not very impressive so I am starting off June with a short retrospective. " I shall never twitch Lundy " I said, and for thirty three years this has been true. But after spending eight days there in May and leaving with a Little Ringed Plover (not literally) it was somewhat of a disappointing trip and particularly hard work in the force seven easterly that prevailed for three days.

So it was a bit galling to hear of a Trumpeter Finch arriving on the island just a week after I had left. Still, abiding by the thirty three year tennant of not twitching I manfully struggled on as I uploaded other people's pictures of the Finch onto the Lundy Birds website. It was just too much so I went, left home at midnight and was back the next day by 5am -  a little jaded I have to say, but a real hoot.......

 a nice enough crossing to the island, although a few passengers were sick. Rumours of a Black Wheatear a Black-eared Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike and possibly two Trumpeter Finches, were taken on board by this seasoned traveller as exactly that. Fellow birdwatchers, about fourteen however were predicting a great day. I told them if we came away with one Trumpeter Finch that would be good enough.
 Despite being older and less fit than many of the accompanying birders I was first up the hill and first to Quarter Wall - I was bloody impressed with that ! But where was the Finch ? As I arrived it flew down the path and over my head !

Ok someone say it...... 
and then it was nailed ! A great little bird on a great little island
 Got some great views and heard it singing - sun came out wind dropped - happy days

 The next twitch didn't fare so well. A quick blast to Welney, only thirty minutes this time, resulted in a dip of the Bluethroat, just a Reed Bunting in the "throats" favourite patch.

And back at home the garden has been productive with a brood of Robins fledged from a nest in the porch, these Blue Tits in a nest box and the Swallows have returned to nest in the garage and pooh all over the cars.
 Last saturday a visit to Rutland produced some close views of the Ospreys.