Monday, 29 August 2011

Chelmarsh Artic Skua

Just a quick one. I thought I'd post a few record shots
of the Artic Skua from Chelmarsh. I managed to get out
to see tonight for a couple of hours. It remained distant
for my stay but good to see.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

High Winds

I made my regular visit up on to the Malvern Hills yesterday.
I took a quick look around Chat Valley, pretty quite really
a single Wheatear was the only bird I could manage. A bit
different from in the week when I found Stonechat and Redstart

Next I made way over to the Beacon but it didn't look good.
Low cloud hung onto the hill and it looked as though it was
there to stay. I made my way up anyway hoping it would soon
clear. I reached the summit and the low cloud hadn't budged.
I looked around anyway struggling to see through the cloud
but there was very little about, a single Wheatear (this one's
been here for most of the week) and a single Meadow Pipit.

I stayed for a while hoping the cloud would clear so I
could have a better look around and maybe try for a few more
shot's of the Wheatear but it didn't look good. Not wanting
to waste anymore time I headed over towards North Hill.

The Wheatear.

North Hill was pretty quite, nothing on the summit itself but
there was a few Kestrels hunting along the slopes. It was
extremely windy up there but It made good for the Kestrels.
I settled down and attempted to get a few shot's, it wasn't
easy in the high winds but I did enjoy it. While watching
I had glimpses of drifting Peregrines and two almost white
Buzzards, these remained distant though mainly hunting over
Sugarloaf Hill.

After a couple of hours with the Kestrels I made my way
down, I couldn't stick the wind any longer. It's hard enough
getting flight shot's anyway without the added wind to deal with.
On the way back I found two more Wheatear at the bottom
of the hill but that was it, pretty quite all round.

I was hoping to find something a bit special on the hills but I'm
probably a bit early yet, hopefully the coming weeks will be
better. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Red Necked Grebe

News of the Red Necked Grebe up at Gailey was too much to resist.
I've stayed locally over the past few week's with not much about I
thought I'd concentrate my efforts on the Redstarts that have been
so obilging over the past few months.

Saturday morning came and as usual I left nice and early arriving
at Gailey for 6.30am. On arriving I had a quick scan of the lake
with the bins but couldn't locate the bird at first. I slowly made my
way around the lake trying not disturb the fisherman who were still
tucked up tight in their sleeping bags.

I continued to scan the lake but couldn't locate the bird
anywhere, I'd virtually gone full circle before I came accross
it, amazingly feeding some 15 feet off the bank. It noticed me
straight away and before I could rasie the camera it dipped
and the next time I see it, it was about thirty feet away - Boy
can they motor underwater.

I waited in the hope it would return and it did eventually. The
bird seem to have a route mapped out heading down the lake
to the island and back again. Before to long it was close again.
The light wasn't great but I managed a few shot's before it
moved off back down the lake.

I was joined later by Pete and we settled down waiting for
Grebe to reappear. It came close on occassions but the light
had gone, making for me noisey shot's. I've been quite impressed
so far with the 7D but in overcast conditions I've noticed that
you really need to step the ISO down.

That said most of the shot's I got were fairly big crops 70% and
more at times so I'm probably being a little hard on the camera
really. I do try a keep as low as I can when photographying my
birds and today was no different using the bank as much as I
could. Mind you, you do have to hold your nose sometimes - It
can be a little smelly especially lakes.

The only other problem with lying on the bank is bugs and there
were plenty crawling around at Gailey, Including a Wasp that took
a fancy to me, so much so it decided to give me a kiss - Bloody

A few shot's from the trip.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

No Wheatears

With reports of Wheatear on the Malverns
during last week I thought I'd go a take a
look. I popped up on Thursday and found
a total of six. It was good mixture of adult
and juvenile all looking in good condition
and feeding quite well.

I did try for a few photo's but there was
very little light in the evening. The whole
was more or less in full shade. I thought I'd
leave it till the weekend.

Saturday morning came and I tried again.
I made a good search around the valley but
all to no avail. The only thing I could find
was a flock of Linnet. The Wheatear had
obviously moved on, I thought back to the
previous year and I could remember a
good amount of Wheatear beening around
for most of August. Hopefully this won't be
the only chance I get.

I moved on to where the Redstarts have
been for the past few months breeding not
really expecting to see them, thinking they
may have already moved on, but to my 
surprise they were still a few in the area.
I settled down and waited in my usually
place and like previous times before the 
first bird on the scene was a Robin.

After a few mouthfuls of mealworm the 
Robin disappeared. It was long after the
first Redstart appeared - A female.

She only made a quick visit. She picked
up as much as could in her beak and
retreated quickly to the nearby bushes.
It wasn't long before she returned making
the most of my free offerings.

I stayed for few hours watching and waiting
for more to arrive but none did. They were
around, I could see juvenile males, at least
two in the vicinity and an adult male but
they kept away, obviously got better things
to do or maybe just sick of Mealworm.

Hopefully I might just squeeze another trip
in before they leave for on their long journey.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Blacktoft Sands and Far Ings

The plan was a trip to Blacktoft first for the Marsh
Sandpiper and hopefully the Marsh Harrier then onto
Far Ings in the afternoon.

Richard, Ron and Alan picked me up at 5.15am
on Sunday morning and we set off for Blacktoft

On arriving we got ourselves setup and made our
way up the path towards the Singleton Hide.
The Singleton Hide is located at the far right of the
reserve and this is where the Marsh Sand had been
seen. It didn't take us long to locate it although
distant we had some relatively good views at
times as feed along the near bank.

Photographing the Marsh Sandpiper was difficult
though, no matter what way I tried I couldn't get a
sharp shot. Record shot's was going be it...

Apart from the Marsh Sand there were good
numbers of Greenshank, Ruff and Black Tailed
Godwit. The Marsh Harriers remained distant
for most of our stay with the odd one drifting
accross occasionaly.


With a few shot's in the bag we made our way
onto Far Ings. For anyone that's not been there
it can sometimes offer very close views of Marsh
Harrier and this was what we were after.

To cut a long story short the Marsh Harriers
didn't show, at least for the few hours we 
were there. Although no Marsh Harriers
we did get a visit from a Kingfisher.