Monday, 28 July 2014

A flycatching Crake

Down at RSPB Titchwell this morning a Spotted Crake was spotted so I felt it was worth a quick look. On my arrival there were some ten or so people but the bird hadn't been seen for about half an hour. I settled in and waited, then after about 15 minutes I saw a movement in the reeds and there it was. I alerted the assembled mass of now about twelve people and then watched as it crept along the reed edges. A little while later and it started to rush out onto the mud, half flying, half running and catching flies. Very strange behaviour for a Crake. Still here some pics:

 Local Moorhen gets annoyed with the new arrival

Then after work news of a Long-tailed Skua  had me and Oli scuttling down to Titchwell again. Very distant views so over to Thornham Harbour and spent a while watching eleven Arctic Skuas and a superb adult Long-tailed Skua - sadly too far away to photograph but looked great through the scope.
Overall a good day and managed to catch up with Mike Hodgson (ex RSPB colleague) Richard Millington who gave me a masterclass in ID of Icelandic and Continental Black-tailed Godwits and then later at Thornham pointed out a Herring Gull/GBb Gull hybrid (he is very good).

And once again it was really quiet at Titchwell. This evening only about twenty people looking for the Crake and Skua - excellent.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Waders waders waders

In the last few evenings Titchwell has provided some great views of waders. The first quarry was Wood Sandpiper. These were feeding quite close to the path and a quick scan round the mud revealed some six birds then further out on the reserve and at least another five birds but I was armed with my camera and not my scope so probably loads more. While photographing this bird another flock of seven flew overhead calling. The new(isn) hide at Titchwell which has received mixed reviews.

 Wood Sands

 Black-tailed Godwits were in fine plumage still and while a little further out some did fly over the path on occasions.

 showing wing moult
And then there were the Spotted Redshanks, a few still is summer plumage and others in varying states of dress

While watching one of the Spotted Redshanks feeding, it started to have a problem getting it's fish down. A small stickleback had become wedged at the base of it's bill and it took a good ten minutes for the bird to get it re aligned in order to swallow it. Here the bird first catches it's prey.... all looking ok so far....
The stickleback manages to get sideways and with it's spines wedges itself so the Spotshank cannot move it.
There followed a good ten minutes of the bird quivering it's bill in an attempt to move the fish. Heavy crop here, or a blocked crop !
This is where the fish remained until eventually the Spotshank got it down - a relief to the bird and to me watching it. So a quick wing stretch and back to feeding.

Other birds around were Lapwing, Avocet, Little EgretRuff and Common Tern

and best of all.... I was virtually on my own. It seems after about 6.30pm the reserve is almost empty. By 7.30pm I was the only person ( I could see ) on the reserve. Fantastic :)

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Well well....

4 July 2014
An evening stroll at Wells by the lifeboat station and where there is water, mud, dogs and Tom - the combination is assured.
Brown Shuck
 Two bouys
Around the point and the Terns were up, mostly Common Terns but also some Little Terns. No big lens sadly but took some pics with the 70-200 and did a heavy crop - was quite surprised at how well they came out given how small the images were.

Some late evening sun helped to make the beach huts look worth the ridiculous prices that they are charging.......

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Marsh things

All about chicks and Marsh birds today - so good to see after the Storm Surge that the local marshes are recovering (not so further east along the coast sadly). It seems that the deluge of rainwater in the weeks following the storm surge helped desalinate the ground. Added to that the water was taken off as quickly as possible and measures put in to help stop the subsequent high tides re breaching the marshes.

So I was lucky enough to get a quick view of breeding success at Deepdale Marsh. Here some Avocets doing the broken wing display - very convincing

 You could almost feel sorry for them - then off they fly having led you away from the chicks

Also Oystercatcher and Little Egret

and the best was left for the end with Little Ringed Plover
here a juvenile Little Ringed Plover

Bempton Blast

2 July 2014
I had the sudden urge to see some seabirds and with the season progressing leaving only a couple of weeks before they all pushed out to sea I hastily arranged a day off. A four hour drive and Bempton Cliffs loomed. Misty start and some hazy sunshine gave challenging conditions for photography but there were some sunny spells. So here some Gannet images:

 don't think I have ever realised they had yellow lines along the webs of their feet before

such great birds - also on the ledges and making up part of the 200,000 seabirds at Bempton Cliffs