Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Harris Hawk over the Garden

In one of the short really sunny spells yesterday, I was down in the Kitchen making coffee (what else would I be doing!) when through the open window I heard the Lesser Black Backs that frequent the canal making a hell of a racket, so I guessed there was a Raptor about.

So I popped into the garden and saw quite high about 10-15 LBBGs mobbing what I thought was a Buzzard. I popped back in the house and got the camera and took a few snaps of the Buzzard. When looking through the camera, I thought it was an unusual Buzzard, perhaps a juvenile.

A bit later when I was processing my raw images I thought, that's not a Buzzard but I must admit I hadn't a clue, so I popped a cut down photo onto the Bird Forum and asked what people thought, I immediately got back that it was a Harris Hawk! I then did I search and checked my photos against the images of Harris Hawks and yes that's what it was:
Of course this must be an escapee, but where from? I can't see any rings or tags on the photos, but it was very high so not the best pictures.

Monday, 29 July 2013

New Bins & Upton Warren

After asking on the Upton thread of the Birds Forum where would be the best place to try out some new Binoculars for Tina we took the advice and went down to the Birders Store in Worcester and came away a few pounds lighter!

Have to say though Brian at the shop was really helpful and we are very happy with our purchases! Yes plural... we saw a great offer on a scope, tried it out and the rest is history!

So as we had to drive back virtually past Upton it would have been rude not to drop in. We toddled down to the Flashes and settled down for 45 minutes in the Avocet hide to see of course the last few Avocets, just 7 left now of the 60 or so that were there (adults & youngsters) at one time:

There were plenty of Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing and Curlew about, plus a few Dunlin, Greenshank and Little Ringed Plover. Not many Black Headed Gulls now (Thankfully as we do find their constant noise a bit wearing!):

After a cuppa we popped over to the Moors (saw a couple of Rabbit on the way), it was pretty quiet, but we added Common Term, Heron & Comorant, GC & Little Grebes plus a few little uns on the feeders:

So a nice short stopover on the way home

Friday, 26 July 2013

On yer Bike! Warrens Hall NR & The Garden

Well haven't posted for a while been a bit busy with one thing and another.

Nothing much to report, I did a quick cycle up to Warrens Hall Wednesday, really to check my bike out as it needs some work doing, but I took the camera with me anyway in the backpack, just in case.

I investigated Bumble Hole, but nothing apart from Mallard and Black Headed Gulls:
I had a bit of a ride around but only saw Coot, Moorhen, House Sparrows and a few Swift flying around, so headed back, a Hybridish mallard was displaying so I took a few pics, just because!

The Garden is also quiet, the Goldfinches and Blue Tits are still visiting regularly along with House Sparrows, Woodpigeon, Blackbirds and Magpies. The Great Tits and Greenfinches are less frequent now.

We had a pair of Magpies nesting in our Leylandii and the youngster was a frequent visitor, sadly I found him in a sorry state on Tuesday, he didn't fly off when I approached. He did walk though behind the shed and out of harms way. Then yesterday he was in a terrible state, I would see near death and being pecked at by one of the adults, although it didn't seem vicious, more like trying to get it to get up.

When I took a break from work later it was still there sitting in the middle of the garden in the blazing sun. So I put some gardening gloves on and picked it up and put it in the shade. By the evening though it had died. I'm not fond of Magpies but very sad.

So to lighten the mood how about some Butterfly pics:

Until next time....

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

RSPB Frampton Marshes & RAF Waddington Airshow

Well the best laid plans and all that.........

The plan was to get to our digs in Swineshead about 1ish, have a cuppa and head out to Frampton for the afternoon. All was going really well, traffic had been brilliant made really good time, we were about 30 minutes from Swineshead and were seeing signs for the Airshow (it was on Saturday & Sunday we had pre-booked for Sunday), one said FULL, ticket holders only. That made me think about our tickets, I had left them at home!!!!!!! Weighed up the cost of new tickets v Fuel and turned around and went back again! So finally arrived at Frampton at about 5:30!

So just had time for a walk around plus a couple of stops in the hides.
There were plenty of Black Tailed Godwits about, none that close for decent photos though:
Some Sand Martins perched:

There were quite a few Avocet,

Shelduck, Lapwings, Black Headed Gulls, Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Mute Swans, Canada & Greylag Geese and Redshank, Plus some Oystercatchers, Teal and Gadwall.

A Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting gave me a couple of decent shots:

The we came across this little chappie, a Juvenile Sedge Warbler I think:

We headed back to the car, very tired after an extra 170 miles driving! As we approached the visitor centre (closed by this time of course) we heard some children running around shouting and bawling as we got closer we saw that they had gone, with their idiot father, over the fences onto the reserve! So any chance of seeing anything there before we left went for a burton!  I'm afraid I was somewhat annoyed and let fly at them with both barrels (verbally of course!) They left pretty sharpish!

We stayed for a few minutes in case anything came back, a couple of Lapwing chicks put in an appearance, just before we headed off:

So as this is a birding blog I won't actually put loads of Aircraft photos up of the Airshow, just the one will do as a taster:

but if you are interested they can be found here: Waddington Airshow 2013

Actually we did see Buzzard, Kestrel, Swifts and Skylark at the Airshow.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Bits and Bobs

Well a quiet week on the birding front so I thought I'd catch up with whats in the Garden and finally have time for a lunch time jaunt around Haden Hill.

So the Garden first, steady flow of youngsters coming in to the feeders, mainly Blue Tit (family of 6), Green Finch, a pair with one youngster, a Juvenile Goldfinch turning up regularly on his own:
and a juvenile Blackbird, perhaps they need to keep their heads down as we have seen a Sparrowhawk above the garden and Buzzards overhead too:
Apart from that pretty quiet, some nice Caterpillars are eating our Buddleia:
Is this a Mullein Moth Catepillar?
So today took a stroll to the Park and returned via the Canal and Powke Lane POS. The park and NR was very quiet, just Mallard, a Lesser Black Back,
Coot and Moorhen (with Juveniles):
I stayed in the hope a Kingfisher turned up, but no luck, instead a Jay came and landed in a tree right next to me:
Very nice too! So a wander down to Corngreaves produced.......... Nowt! So I took a picture of a rock..
Lots of woodpecker damage noted to the nest boxes:
This butterfly stayed still for a bit, although with a 500mm lens it was a bit difficult to get a good close up!
A Ringlet I think (had to search the net!)
So onwards, had a fleeting view of a Bullfinch, heard plenty of song, Chiffchaff and Chaffinch, but saw very little. Spotted a 'hive' though in a tree:
Then like buses another Jay turned up:
Back to the pool just in case for the Kingfisher, but nothing so headed back.
I took a detour along the canal and was surprised to see two Coot chicks still on the nest:
With Mom doing the house work!
So that's it for now.

Off to Waddington Airshow on Sunday so might post some Heavy Metal if your unlucky. We are going the day before and our digs are only 9 miles from Frampton Marshes, so might try and bag a Turtle Dove! I have noted via Bird Forums that they are showing reasonably well on the reserve. Fingers crossed.


Monday, 1 July 2013

RSPB Middleton Lakes

We used to be regular visitors to Middleton, but had decided to give it a miss since our only visit this year back in February, as it wasn't possible to do the Wetlands Walk and there was too much construction activity going on. But we thought as it was lovely day Sunday we would give it a shot and see how it's progressing.

Firstly the bad news we timed our visit with a Craft Fayre at the Hall, so it seems that everyone was adding a walk (with dogs!) to the reserve and even around it. So with dogs yapping and noisy people nothing stayed in the hedgerows, although we did hear plenty! Even the feeders were empty!

So what about the reserve, well the water levels were quite high, so no waders at all! In fact unless you were looking for Black Headed Gulls, Tufted Duck or Mute Swans, you were pretty much out of luck!

So we went as far as we could along the river to a picnic bench overlooking the river and sat and had a coffee and a chill, hoping that the people would disperse a bit.  We had our first bit of luck as we spotted a Kingfisher zooming along the river, took us completely by surprise as we were too busy watching the dragonflies, took a photo of a dragonfly just for the record, almost the same colour as the Kingfisher:

Sorry not being a dragonfly person, don't know what sort it is!

So coffee drunk (for now!) we headed back to continue the circular walk in peace and quiet and were rewarded with a Sedge Warbler in song:
We then added a Reed Bunting and pair of Gadwall, which was nice. There were plenty of Greylags and Canada Geese about, a  colony of Lesser Black Backed Gulls, but after that there were only the Herons to cheers us up!

Having said all that we did enjoy the walk, even though the grass is so high in places you can't see a thing across the lakes.
The works are still in progress (thankfully Sunday was a day off, so we could do the full circular walk) there are a couple of new Screens, although I'm not sure how you are supposed to get to the one there doesn't seem to be a path to it. The new hide is nowhere near completion, hopefully it will be finished for the winter as it looks to be in a good spot for over wintering waterfowl.

So whilst we still enjoyed it, a rather dismal afternoon on the birding front, 29 species in 3 hours! (Including corvids and pigeons and finally some Finches on the feeders as we left)

So we will leave Middleton again until at least November we think.