Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Garden Brambling

Yesterday, after work I just happened to look out of the kitchen window and see this lovely male Brambling perched in the hazel in our garden. On further inspection a second was revealed! This is the first time that we have had more than one of these finches in our back garden and the first one noted for a couple of years.

The photo above was taken at about 3.45 in the afternoon through a double-glazed window, so not the sharpest photo ever taken, but I hope it shows the lovely colours and pattern of this Scandinavian visitor.

Number 176 for my PBC year list. Will I make it to 180?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Common Buzzard

It wasn't that long ago that these birds were confined to the wilder parts of the country. Now, they are the most common bird of prey in the British Isles. This has led to calls for their culling, most notably a few months ago by certain members of the Tory party, which in turn led to public outcry. Thankfully, this 'cull' was cancelled, but persecution still continues. Huge numbers of this bird are poisoned and killed each and every year, illegally and some people have been prosecuted for this, but the punishment is not severe enough, in my opinion.

Up until recently I have never been able to get a photo of a Buzzard, they are very wary creatures and fly and the slightest movement. Not surprising really! At the weekend success was had by staying in the van and getting lucky.

Below is an attempt at a shot of one soaring. Not great, but fairly pleasing.

We live in a supposed civilised country, surely it is time for the persecution of this and all other birds of prey to stop. I live in hope.

If you want to help click HERE, it is a link to the RSPB website and their campaign to end this killing.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Kestrel at sunrise

An early morning stroll along Central Drove, The Nene Washes in freezing, but dry conditions gave me a chance to photograph this obliging Kestrel and even try to to see if my digiscoping gear was still still useful. The images above are all taken with the new(ish) camera and the one below shows the digiscoped effort.

The scene when I reached the end of the drove after the sun had risen at the start of a cold, but perfect winters' day.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Great Egret

I always wonder why this bird is sometimes called Great Egret, but more commonly Great White Egret? We call a Little Egret just that, a Little Egret, no 'White' involved, although the bird is white and we also call a Cattle Egret just a Cattle Egret, again no 'White', but the bird is that colour. Why the two names and of the most common, why 'Great White Egret'? I only ask?

I digress.

Two days ago a Great (White) Egret was seen in a field near to the village of Eastrea in Cambridgeshire. Its' location was fairly close (as the Egret flies) to where one was seen back in May on the Eldernell part of the Nene Washes. I wonder if it was the same bird?

Today was my first opportunity to visit the area and see the bird for myself. The day dawned dull, cloudy and wet, but I ventured out and arrived at the site to find no bird. After searching various dykes and ditches I came across the bird in a dyke hidden by reeds (the bird, not the dyke). It was still extremely dark, so not the time to go rattling off photo's, so I decided to wait and see if the weather cheered up. The bird flew! Great, where is it going? I thought, as it flew high and east. After fruitlessly looking for the bird by driving around the nearby droves, I returned to the original site where I saw the bird frequenting its' original dyke! The light was better and so I managed to get a couple of shots when it appeared out of the dyke.

I managed to get a short video of the bird fishing, where hopefully, you will able to see it catch a fish.

I still don't understand why it has two names though!?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Bourne Bohemians

Another Waxwing post I am afraid.

These birds were first reported on Wednesday by Josh Jones, whose Mum had seen them from her office window on an industrial estate in the small town of Bourne in Lincolnshire. She initially reported 3, but on my arrival I managed to count 12, but this quickly turned into 21! The birds seemed very nervous and flew at the slightest noise and movement, most unlike typical Waxwings. They were feeding on Rowan and Hawthorn berries, but were also 'fly-catching' from the top of a Sycamore tree, behaviour that has been present in all the Waxwings that I have seen so far this year. It is still fairly mild and with the presence of insects the birds are taking full advantage in order to get a mixed diet.

As can be seen from the photos, the sun was a little bit shy, to say the least, but I am sure there will be more opportunities this winter, one which looks like another 'irruption' year for this crested wonder.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Waxwings still

A flock of Waxwings were still present today in Peterborough, around the same area where they were yesterday, but with the sun shining it led to slightly better photographic opportunities. The flock numbers varied from about 15 to 6 depending on the time of day, although first thing this morning Mike Weedon saw the flock at its' largest of 63.

Looks like it's going to be a Waxwing winter!

Monday, 12 November 2012


As I write, thousands of Waxwings are arriving in various parts of the country, but despite keeping my eyes peeled all weekend none were seen by me in the PBC area. Today dawned fairly bright, but soon changed to drizzle and cloud, not exactly perfect conditions , but nevertheless a flock of 25+ Waxwings were seen close to a caravan park close to the city centre, where they quickly disappeared from, but were then re-located not too far away. Gradually I found these birds, perched high in a tree, fighting against the wind and the rain and showing quite well and giving their 'trill' like call. The weather and light were awful and the birds continued to stay high in the tree tops, but I managed to take the photos below.

This year looks like it is going to be a 'bumper' year for Waxwings, already thousands have been seen and it is still very early for these birds to be showing up. Hopefully, I will get to see some more when the weather is slightly more conducive to photography.

Fingers crossed for a bit of high pressure, leading to clear blue skies.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


This juvenile Hedgehog is still visiting our garden where he is obviously on the look out for some tasty morsel or two. He looks extremely small and I don't think that he is big enough to be able to make it through hibernation and the winter. I have been putting mealworms out for him, which he devours with relish, am I prolonging his agony, or should I carry on feeding him up?

The above photos were taken by using my camera at full zoom, so I wouldn't upset the hog, he didn't seem that bothered by being photographed as he carried on munching away.