Monday, 22 October 2012

The Mud Stopper

An affectionate name for the Nuthatch is 'The Mud Stopper', in part due to its' nesting habits. The bird nests in natural holes in trees (although it does sometimes use nest boxes) and to prevent larger birds and predators from entering the nest the female will reduce the size of the hole with mud. The Nuthatch name comes from its' feeding habits, where it wedges a nut or seed in a crevice and hammering it open with its' bill.

A fairly common bird in Britain, although it is more often heard than seen. A unique bird in that it is the only British bird to descend a tree trunk head first.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A Godwit and a Redshank

A couple of obliging waders in their winter 'drabness' from my recent trip to the Norfolk coast. The birds seem a lot more 'confiding' at Titchwell than they do at other sites. Redshank normally fly off at the slightest hint of anything and Godwits tend to follow pretty quickly, but here they were quite happy feeding quite closely to the coast path.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Pectoral Sandpiper

This image is digiscoped
This juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper has been present at a site called Kelling Water Meadows for about 10 days now, sticking loyally to the one pool present. On my arrival at the site, however, the bird was not present. Typical, I thought, but I was informed by a couple of local birders that in the mornings the bird is sometimes elsewhere and will fly in at some point. Half an hour went by and then, on cue the Pectoral Sandpiper flew in and proceeded to feed and show very well.

The photos show very nicely the white 'braces' on the back of the bird and the neat 'scaly' pattern of the upper feathers, which identify it as a juvenile. The adult bird is less 'scaly' and the 'braces' are either more faint or absent altogether. This bird has not been hatched and raised in this country, it will have been blown off course whilst on migration in America. The Pectoral Sandpiper is the most common of all American vagrants to Britain and Ireland and September to October is the prime time of the year for them to visit.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Head shots

Winter may be appearing on the horizon (see previous post), but dragons are still hanging on and in evidence when the sun is shining. They are a little more sluggish with the cooler temperatures, perching more often and for longer periods, allowing me to get fairly close and get these head shots.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Winter is here

The year is starting to wind itself up, the evenings are getting darker earlier, there is a distinct nip in the air, the leaves are turning and falling from the trees and the Whooper Swans have started to arrive.

The 'swaniest' of swans has just started to make an appearance on the local patch, not in any great numbers as of yet, but there were 19 of these lovely creatures on the River Welland today.

Just two of the nineteen on show before they all took to the air as one and disappeared into the sunset.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Red Knot

But it's not red, I hear you cry! True, although there are glimpses of red plumage on this rather confiding Knot that was present at Frampton Marsh today. The bird was on its own, quite happily feeding close to the path and giving me extremely good views. The numbers of this bird will now start to increase in The Wash area as they arrive from their breeding grounds in the north to spend the winter here.

The Knot is a familiar sight to birdwatchers in this country, hundreds of thousands of these birds spend the winter on our shores and they do so in rather drab, grey plumage. However, in their breeding finery they are a rich, brick red colour (giving the bird its full name of Red Knot), some of which remains on this bird on its belly, as is shown on the photo below.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Common Redstart

A few weeks ago a juvenile Common Redstart was at Ferry Meadows, a nice bird in any ones book, but I had already seen one earlier in the year, so didn't rush down to see it. The bird continued to stay and so I thought it was my duty to get a view of this fine little bird and see if I could get a photo of it.

I am posting these photos a little late, I don't really know why, perhaps it is due to the fact that they aren't really that great.

This bird was a juvenile male, obviously from this years young and stopping off on his long flight to central Africa where he will spend the winter.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Common Crane

The Common Crane used to be quite abundant in Britain, several hundred years ago they appeared as part of the menu at royal banquets, but a couple of hundred years ago they became extinct as breeding birds. Until 1981 they were a scarce visitor, less than 50 birds per year were recorded, but in that year they bred in the east of England and have continued to do so since. They have been successful in most years since 1990, but some years produce no young, with predation from foxes and Marsh Harriers being blamed. In 2007 several pairs bred in various parts of the country, including Suffolk, Yorkshire and possibly Lincolnshire.

This year a pair have bred in my local area for the third year on the trot. They have raised one young and all three are now regularly appearing at the Nene Washes in various parts of this site. These birds have done this of their own accord, they have not been introduced, they just saw this part of East Anglia as an ideal place to start a family. They are closely monitored at all times.

Taken with Canon Powershot SX40 HS

The juvenile in the above pictures is the 'all' grey bird, the two adults have black, white and red markings on their head and neck. An extremely tall bird, Britains' tallest, standing at over 4 feet and if seen well cannot be confused with anything else. They have a loud, clanging, trumpeting or 'bugling' call that is given when on the ground and in the air, as the video below shows;

A truly magnificent sight on the flatlands of Peterborough.