Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Singing Nuthatch

I popped over to Grimeshaw Wood, Bretton, Peterborough, this lunchtime. The highlights were my first singing Chiffchaff of the year and this singing Nuthatch – not the most typical pose for shots of this brilliant species (click it for a bigger pic).
Canon Powershot A95, Kowa 823 + 32xWLER

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weekend shenanigans

I had a weekend of dipping stuff from the north of the PBC area. Without my own car I scrounged lifts from Kevin Durose, and Katie and Darren and headed for Woodwalton Fen (no Green-winged Teal, no Bittern, no Garganey, no Lesser Spotted Woodpecker), the Nene Washes: Merlin plus the first Black-tailed Godwits on territory, nowt much else, plus a twitch of Little Stint at Deeping Lakes and the northern pits (no Sandwich Tern, Grey Plover, Rock Pipit, White Wagtail, Shag or Sand Martin). Still, mustn't grumble.

Marsh Harrier (male) at Woodwalton Fen (25.3.06)

Teal (drake) at Woodwalton Fen (25.3.06)

Little Stint at Deeping Lakes (26.3.06)

Yellowhammer (male) at Maxey.
Canon Powershot A95, Kowa 823 + 32xWLER

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Watch at Ferry Meadows

Cormorant on guano-painted trees on Overton Lake

Robins in Bluebell Wood. Perhaps this bird was ringed at Ferry Meadows by Chris Hughes and Katie Fuller (Bogbumper). Unfortunately, it was rudely wearing its ring in such a way that you can't read the number...

Great Crested Grebe on Overton Lakeon Overton Lake

Wigeon and Snipe on Heron Meadows
I had a very interesting morning at Ferry Meadows (19.3.06) today, helping lead a group of young wildlife enthusiasts from the Oundle Watch group, along with my friends Katie, Darren and the group's usual leaders Rupert and Hilary. We saw some great birds, including getting scope views for all of Kingfisher, and loads of people seemed to have digital cameras, and one or two definitely seemed to have picked up the digiscoping bug. Here are some of the bird shots I took – most if not all clickable for big versions. Enjoy.
Canon Powershot A95 though Kowa TSN-823 + 32xWLER

Same Ice, new shots.

Second-winter Iceland Gull, CEGB Reservoir, Peterborough. 18.3.06
Canon Powershot A95 though Kowa TSN-823 + 32xWLER

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another Iceland

I found this second-winter Iceland Gull at CEGB yesterday evening, which made getting freezing cold worthwhile. When I got out of my car in the fading light, I thought "Do I really need a camera? Probably not, but you never know..." The pic is ropey, but it is better than nowt, methinks (and not that bad for 1/25s, ISO200 and miles away in the dark!). I really went there to see Med Gulls, but found none.
Here is the caption I wrote for the PBC Gallery.

"Thousands of gulls, predominantly Black-headed, come down to the water of the 'Teardrop Lake' of CEGB Reservoir in the Fletton/Hampton area of Peterborough in the fading light of evening. This one shone like a beacon from the masses. It is much paler and purer white than the rather creamy-brown first-winter Iceland Gull that has been seen at Dogsthorpe Star Pit since 12.3.06, and also seems to have a less-butch bill and a gentler expression. This CEGB bird is a second-winter, with only light streaking, pale grey feathering in the scapulars and a much more contrasting black-tipped pale bill (and doubtless a pale eye). All would be visible on this shot, if only it hadn't been such poor light! This bird was probably the one seen distantly by Brian Stone at Eye Tip on 14.3.06. This shot was taken on 15.3.06."

In the last couple of years we have been getting more Iceland Gulls locally and they have been lingering well into the spring. I think last year, there was one into May at Flag Fen (Ice would make a cool bird-race bird!).
Canon Powershot A95 though Kowa TSN-823 + 32xWLER

Monday, March 13, 2006

Little Owls

Pair of Little Owls, near Deeping Lakes LWT, 11.3.06.
Canon Powershot A95 through Kowa TSN-823 + 32xWLER

Iceland Gull

This first-winter Iceland Gull at at Dogsthorpe Star Pit, Cambs, was found by Peter Herkenrath and friends at the wildlife trust reserve yesterday. The tip and this pit remain easily the best places for gulls in the PBC area.
Canon Powershot A95 through Kowa TSN-823 + 32xWLER.


Sleeping Shelduck, Deeping lakes LWT, 11.3.06.
Canon Powershot A95 through Kowa TSN-823 + 32xWLER


Great Crested Grebe, Maxey pits, 11.3.06.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Saw a Sora

Sora, Gibraltar Point, Lincaolnshire, 7.3.06.
All photos Canon Powershot A95 with Kowa 823 + 32xWLER
Not great shots, but a very pleasant pre-waork twitch. If only I hadn't gone off with my wife's car keys, it would have been a very smooth operation... Thanks very much for the lift and company, Brian and Tony.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Frozen Woodwalton

I had a brilliant early morning in the frost today (4.3.06). I headed down to Woodwalton Fen, which is always at its best when frozen (at least at this time of year). On the way, I passed Holme village and slammed the breaks on to enjoy a pair of Grey Partridges just by the side of the road. These are rather scarce locally, so always a treat and looking magnificent in the low morning sun.
The Great Raveley Drain was frozen solid when I arrived at Woodwalton, and a Kingfisher was perched on the concrete bridge over the only bit of open water – an ideal opportunity for digiscoping. Here are a few of my best shots. Click for monsters.

After filling a couple of memory cards, I went into the reserve itself and immediately had a close view of a ringtail Hen Harrier being mobbed by a couple of crows.
The reserve itself was buzzing with small birds. In a month's time the woods will ring with the sound of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps . Today, though, the woods reonated with two distinct sounds – the drumming of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and the compelx song duets of Siskins, dozens of them.
I photographed one of several Muntjacs I bumped into. I presume it is a doe, as it is antlerless.

In my favourite woodepcker spot I watched a pair of Great Spotteds courting with curious snake-charmed twitst of the neck. I stood and listened (without success) for Lesser Spotteds, and as I stood still a Weasel popped out from the base of a tree a few yards away (sorry, not photos).
I wandered back to the mers thinking that it was a pretty superb morning, when I flushed Woodcock, one of my favourite birds.
Back at the meres I counted 140 Teal on Rothschild's and finished my photography off with a shot or two of a pair of Dabchicks.

After a couple of minutes enjoying Lesser Redpolls at the entrance Iwas off, but as I passed Holme Fen once more, I picked up a Red Kite close to the road. As I said, a great morning.
All photos Canon Powershot A95 with Kowa 823 + 32xWLER