Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Reed Warbler

A bird that is more easy to hear than see. A skulking small, brown bird that comes to this country in the summer months to breed and spends the winter months in sub-tropical Africa.

A bird that I have never really been able to photograph well due to its habit of staying in dense reed beds. That has now changed.

It's a shame that in the bottom photo the bird is facing away from me, but I am quite pleased with the results. These two photos are crops of the originals, which are below. I put my fieldcraft `skills` into good use with this bird, hearing and seeing it first and then sitting still and waiting for the bird to come to me. At times he was less than 3 feet away, singing and just perched.

As always, click on the photos for a larger image.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Spotted Flycatcher

It says something about the state of this bird that you now have to `twitch` one in order to get it on your  year list, but that is exactly what I did yesterday morning.

The Spotted Flycatcher is disappearing from our countryside at an alarming rate, so consequently after Brian Stone reported that he had seen one in the village of Elton on Saturday, I made the short journey to see this little bird for myself.

On arrival at the church yard in the village I could hear the bird `singing`, but couldn't manage to find where it was singing from. I then looked high in a tree and there, on a dead branch was my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year, singing his heart out.

Always to far for a decent photo, but I managed a few passable shots, some of which are below.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Here we go again!

I can't believe that this is happening again. A year ago there were talks of 'controlling' Buzzards, a wild indigenous bird, in favour of Pheasants, an introduced non-native bird. This was thankfully curtailed. Now, Natural England have granted a licence to destroy Buzzards, their nests, eggs and chicks on a shooting estate in Britain, read this and weep!

The great British public need to rise up again and show the few what the many feel. Below is a link to a petition to stop this atrocity from happening. Please sign.

We live in a country where 0.5% of the population own 99.5% of the land and that 0.5% don't care about what the other 99.5% think or feel. Show these few what the many feel.

An interesting posting on Alan Tilmouth's blog here is definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

White-winged Black Tern at Ferry Meadows

Ferry Meadows seems to be getting more than its fair share of good birds just lately, the Common Scoters and Black-necked Grebe of last week and then yesterday came the news of an adult White-winged Black Tern patrolling one of the lakes. Crikey!

My photos are less than satisfactory, being on the wrong side of the lake, but I am posting them as a record (again!), but Mike Weedon has kindly allowed me to use one of his stunning photos to show you what the bird should look like! Click on Mike's name above to see some more shots.

As can be seen from above, my shots do not do the bird justice, but below is one of Mike's photos. Much better!

copyright Mike Weedon
What a bird and a PBC lifer to boot!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Common Scoters at Ferry Meadows

Time for some more dodgy record shots of an addition to my annual PBC (Peterborough Bird Club) list. This morning I received a phone call from Mike Weedon to tell me that there were 2 Common Scoters at Ferry Meadows, a new bird for the list of 2013 and not a common bird in these parts by any measure. I have only seen one of these birds in the Peterborough area before, so this was a chance to double my total!

The weather was not conducive to any sort of photography, but I thought that I had to try and get some sort of 'record' shot of these two drake birds. As can be seen from the photos above (hopefully!), one bird has slightly less yellow on the bill than the other, but they are both male.

A bird normally seen on the coast and so this was a nice 'tick' for an inland, landlocked lake.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Whinchat at Maxey

It must be something to do with Wednesdays. Last week there were two of these superb little birds at my local patch of Maxey pits, but they were gone on Thursday morning. Today, another one of these birds was present, constantly distant and always on the move. I wonder if he will be there tomorrow?

Maxey is looking pretty good at the moment for a nice wader or three, the water levels seem to be under control and so there is a lot of mud exposed, just waiting for something to drop in. As well as the Whinchat, this morning there was a Grey Plover in almost full breeding plumage, a scarcity in these parts, although it was my third one of this year. Always a nice bird to see though, especially in their breeding finery.

Crap photo, great bird!
Hopefully, a sign of good things to come.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Common Tern

A graceful, elegant bird that breeds in the local area. Many people see them and say 'Black-headed Gull', or even worse 'Seagull'! Of course, these people are wrong in so many ways, as I have said before, there is no such bird as a seagull! A bird that will spend its' summer here and then fly south for the winter, either to west Africa or even as far as south of the equator.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mr and Mrs Blackcap

This pair of Blackcaps have been visiting the garden for the past week or so. First the male arrives to make sure everything is okay and then his mate flies in and feeds whilst he surveys the area and then finally feeds himself. Not stunningly rare to have these birds coming into the garden, but this is the first time an obvious pair has been seen. They are nesting close by, fingers crossed for some young of this lovely warbler to pay a visit in time.