Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Eagle has landed

Monday 16 February 2013
And that is how it stayed.... landed. News of a White-tailed Eagle a few miles inland from the shop had me and Tom zipping out late afternoon to see if we could find it (leaving Sam doing the demos) . It had been seen at 1pm but sadly stayed presumably sat on the ground or in a tree and didn't show to the dozen or so people looking for it for the rest of the afternoon.

I did however see a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Woodlark while scanning the skies for a flying barn door ! There were distant Barn Owls but none came close for any decent pictures.
 After a while Tom and I walked down part of the Peddars Way and startled a few Roe Deer
 which disappeared off over the fields with the Barn Owl
Tom then found a Fen trap which we decided was probably legally set, but sprung it anyway as it was very close to the road and the entrance did seem too open, in fact Tom nearly put his hand in as he didn't know what it was. Had he done so it would have surely crushed his bones. I think I will inform the Police Wildlife Liason Officer for that reason alone.

A few more Barn Owls, in fact seven in all, and one quite close so I did the usual creeping
 and as I was creeping along the hedge, the Barn Owl flying off,  I heard a movement turned round and was startled by this stag !
 So no Eagle but a nice couple of hours, even Tom enjoyed some of it ! And a final Barn Owl

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Surprise, surprise

Friday 15 February 2013

So an afternoon off and with the sun out I decided to have another go at the Thetford Dipper. The journey to Thetford from Shouldham is only about twenty miles, but is a route used by every lorry in the world. It is, an absolutely frustrating drive, and as the miles slowly passed by, the sun was replaced by overcast skies.

Still it was an afternoon out and I hoped the Dipper was still there. On arrival I saw a handful of people running alongside the river Thet - strange to have so much excitement over the Dipper as after all it had been present for a good few months. I looked into the river and there swimming downstream was an Otter, with a Chicken in it's mouth !
 This was the first Otter I had seen outside Scotland, and in the last thirty years ! I was so excited I couldn't hold the camera still, that, combined with the speed at which it was moving meant views were restricted to a fast walking pace and rather than photograph it I was just enjoying watching it (  I fired a few hopeful shots though) . It was soon out of sight as the river snaked off by a large private house.

And it turned out I was stood next to Oliver Reville who had been watching it earlier. We had a further look and then returned to look for the Black-bellied Dipper, which was very confiding.

 So after a bit of time with this chap it was off to look for the Otter again. This Rat was trying to get in on the act and didn't really seem to know what it was doing, just swimming up and down, possibly avoiding something larger.
 We found the Otter back where Oli had been watching it previously, and there were two animals present. We watched them scent marking and playing, squeaking and rolling about in the water (in deep cover) and occasionally poking their heads out of cover.Oli got some superb video of them. Blooming brilliant.

Monday, 4 February 2013

It's a sign

Monday 4 February 2013
And the usual drive into work, but on a beautiful morning - sunshine. Ok it was very cold but at least it wasn't raining. Just on the edge of the village and in the stubble edge of a field were some twentyYellowhammers, a great sight and the most I have seen in one group around Shouldham. Then it was the turn of some Curlew.

A bit further on and with a bit of time in hand I tried a small diversion round some fields that look excellent for Barn Owl and where I have seen them just a couple of times. Yesterday I saw three different birds but had left my camera behind. I was hoping they would still be out feeding after the poor weather. The fields revealed nothing ! So I turned into the small village and there on the opposite bank at the side of the road, a white white blob, surely it couldn't be an Owl. Slamming to a halt, taking the appropriate driving precautions of course. And yes there was a Barn Owl in the grass.
Now trying to take pictures from inside the car was proving very difficult, I had to keep the engine running and was continually looking for passing cars. So nothing for it but to creep out out of the car and see if I could get a snap before it flew off. Problem is, when you open the car door the birds always fly off. I tried to predict where it would fly to, but was stumped, big open field or back down the road ? the options were poor and no nice posts for it to sit on. A few cars passed, the blob stayed put. Engine off, hazards on and I crept out. It flew immediately !

But it flew onto the only post around, I hadn't thought of that, it stayed I snapped a few then off it flew. Neither of us had done more than 30 mph or pics.
 Shooting into the light didn't help and I was shaking with excitement so couldn't hold the camera still enough for a sharp pic - but it captured the moment.

 Could be a caption shot ?