Monday, 14 October 2013

Forget the Camera !

Monday 14 October 2013
A very grey and wet start saw me in the shop am, then just after midday I managed to sneak out for a few hours birding before picking up Tom from school. A Red-flanked Bluetail was showing at Warham Greens so I decided to avoid the crowds and try out Burnham Overy Dunes. The track down to the dunes was deserted, everyone at the Bluetail I concluded, but there were huge numbers of Redwings piling through, and loads of Continental Robins. A few showy Robins and then glimpses of many more, greyer backed and duller red-breasted cousins, from Scandinavia. Also they were incredibly difficult to see, let alone photograph. This was the beginning of "why bother to take pictures on a day like this! "
As I wandered down the track, grateful for my solitude, but equally slightly wondering if I should have gone to Warham despite the crowds, I saw more Redwings piling into the hedgerow and then more Robins. It was quite exciting as the numbers increased, then overhead I first heard then saw a Hawfinch, flying quite low and off to the east - fantastic, Wareham could keep it's Bluetail, I was already made up. Not far down the track due to the sheer number of birds and in the bushes I saw a couple of Chiffchaffs, some twenty or so Blackcaps and two Garden Warblers. Looking across to a small Sycamore and a small bird flitting around and suddenly I was watching a Yellow-browed Warbler - brilliant.  It left as quickly as it came, also to the east, into and over a hedgerow and gone.

I had only got about a hundred yards down the track and had been already well rewarded, more Redwings, Robins and Blackcaps. Then the Yellow-browed was back, but hang on solid dark eyestripe, crown stripe and then a blast of it's rump, bugger me I was watching a Pallas's Warbler ! I was alone and euphoric.
I raised the camera and got some truely fantastic shots.......... it's in the middle
Then a combination of poor light and excitement produced these award winners.
 What a rump !
By now I was beside myself, just as well as no one else was around. I spent another half hour trying to photograph the bird but in vain. Robins, Redwings and Blackcaps also managed to avoid the lens.

Then just for a few seconds a Blackcap, Robin and Bullfinch appeared all together and the thing that immediately struck me was the size of the Bullfinch - was it a Northern Bullfinch ? - sadly after a fair bit of searching I didn't relocate it.

So off to Wells to pick Tom up from school but luckily a good hour in hand. On arrival a few people were scoping something by the caravan site, a quick stop to ask what they were looking at and I was viewing a Siberean Stonechat - nice ! Only ones I had ever seen before were Lundy and Portland. So with a bit of time left it was a stroll round Wells Woods. Plenty of Chiffchaffs, Siskins, Goldcrests, single Redpoll and this squirrel feeding kept the enthusiasm going...
Creeping round the Dell and I saw a few people watching a Sycamore, I spied Oli and his mates so went over to see what was occurring. Well another Pallas's and Yellow-browed, that's what was occuring ! Both birds showing well but out of range of photos.. but in keeping with the day's photographic disasters I grabbed some shots. More award winning snaps to add to the collection !
Clearly visible here the pale rump, double wing bar and yellow front to the supercilium - considering this one for Bird photograph of the year
 So I picked up Tom, back to shop and started to re arrange the bird food section with a new display panel that had arrived, Sam joined me to help but we were soon in disagreement on how best to display the feeders so I was banished down the Marsh, in drizzle and poor light, to talk the dog for a walk. After about ten minutes and with several groups of mixed Thrushes, straight overhead one and probably two Ring Ouzels! They belted into the nearby wood and that was that, oh apart from the Tawny Owl behind the shop and finally on the way home in the dark a Little Owl in the headlights.
WHAT A DAY - can't remember too many four hour purple patches like that.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice Richard and even the very badness of the photos somehow conveys the excitement of the moment for you. Wished i had found a Pallas's on my patch