Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year, a calendar!

So it wasn't the last post, just thought I'd select a monthly highlight, not always the best photo, just great moments!
Red Squirrel, Loch of Kinnordy
Eider, Stavanger, Norway
Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Glencairn, South Africa
Osprey, Scotland
White-winged Black Tern, Lesvos
Avocet, Upton Warren, Worcs
Fallow Deer, Charlecote Park, Warks
Javan Pond Heron, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Baird's Sandpiper, Upton Warren, Worcs
Pygmy Cormorant, Skadar Lake, Montenegro
Curlew, Thornham Marshes, Norfolk
Buzzard, Kinver Canal, Staffs
A Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Last Post (for 2016!)

We have been for a couple of late afternoon walks in the last two days, Clent and Sandwell Valley.

Clent was glorious as the sun was going down,
although the whole experience was somewhat spoiled by the huge numbers of marauding out of control dogs! I have never seen so many people out with dogs and having total disregard for what their mutts are up to! I love dogs but their selfish owners are another matter! It also appears a number of dog owners are illiterate. The National Trust have put up loads of quite obvious signs on paths in certain parts to say dogs should be kept on leads, but obviously there must be a lot of 'special' people who are exempt. Anyway rant over..... birds were very few and far between, too many ...... dogs!

Sandwell Valley though was much better, not too many dogs! Just,
 two pairs of Snipe,

 and plenty of Black-headed Gulls,
Great Crested Grebe

along with Pochard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, and all the other usual suspects.

Happy New Year

Monday, 5 December 2016

Kinver Canal

We had a very productive day out on Thursday last week. We drove to Kinver and went along the canal heading south towards Whittington, it was cold and frosty so the birds were a bit more active out foraging. 

We first came across a Little Grebe,
sorry! very corny I know, but couldn't resist.
It was a day of close encounters, we hadn't gone much further and there was a Kingfisher sitting just feet away on a branch over the adjacent River Stour, it flew off pretty sharpish though, then immediately after we had a terrific Buzzard sighting, it came out of nowhere on the far canal bank carrying what I think is a Moorhen,

it disappeared around the bush on the left of the second photo couldn't be seen for a few minutes, then a walker came along the other side of the canal and flushed it out, without the Moorhen. It flew around a few feet over our heads before settling down again on the other side of the canal, with a bit of Moorhen that it promptly wolfed down,
then posed for a bit before we walked on. Next sighting was a Wren on the ice, thought it was a Warbler at first with the prominent brow over the eye.
Where the sun didn't reach you could definitely tell winter is upon us,
Our next find was a Goldcrest near the sewage works just past Whittington Lock, the letter beggar wouldn't stay still for the camera and always chose to stop with it between the camera and the fierce low sun, so no photo for that one!

Some Mallards we snuggled down in the frost, 
 while others were climbing out on to the ice.
The resting Mallard were then chased off by these marauding domestic Guinea Fowl,

another Buzzard then did a fly by,
So a lovely day in the cold sunshine
 with a Song Thrush giving us a final farewell
before heading back to the Vine in Kinver and an excellent Beef and Horseradish baguette

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Norfolk, The last bit!

Day 5 of our Norfolk trip, had us looking for Shorelarks, the weather had improved so walking around the Beach at Wells and Holkham was on the cards, followed by spending some time in the two hides at Holkham. We bobbed in to Brancaster Staithe as usual, plenty about again but nothing we hadn't seen before, but couldn't resist another Turnstone photo:

From there on to Wells and using the scope scanned for any activity around the beaches there, no Shorelarks, just plenty of Brent Geese, Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Godwits and Gulls. So after buying a lovely Crayfish sandwich from the cafe at Wells we drove back to Holkam and paid up for a days parking £6.50!! We walked on the shore side of the woods again looking for Shorelarks, but yet again no sign. It looks like this will be one bird that will continue to elude us. Before crossing through the woods and going to the Washington hide for a coffee we did some sea watching from the nearby platform with the scope, but even with that the tide was to far out, so all we saw was some unidentifiable specks.

After coffee we walked down to the Joe Jordan hide to spend the rest of the afternoon and have a late lunch of our delicious sandwich purchased in Wells before finally returning to the Washington hide for sunset and Geese.
Egyptian Geese,
 A pheasant resting right next to the Washington Hide,
 Greylags on flypast,
 Curlew following suit,
 Buzzard in a tree top,
 Starlings going bonkers after a Sparrowhawk interrupted their lunch,
 the aforementioned Sparrowhawk,
 a disappointed Sparrowhawk!
the Kestrel says this the way to do it after bringing its afternoon snack to a nearby gatepost,
 then afternoon tea finished flying off to find supper.
 Pink-footed Geese arriving as the sun sets,
 Sunset over Holkam, a magical place in the winter.

In addition to the birds mentioned in the above bit, we saw of course Marsh Harriers galore, hundreds of Cormorant coming in to roost (same spot every year!) and a year first a single White-fronted Goose among the Greylags. Net to mention Swans, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard and Teal.

Day 6 and our final full day, we drove around the countryside a bit looking for what we could find, plenty of Brent, Pink-footed and Greylag geese about feeding in the fields, one field was found full of Red-legged partridge,
and another with Grey Partridge. We continued on to the hide at Abbey Farm, Flitcham, where plenty of Teal and Red-legged Partridge were to be found along with some woodland birds,
 and Rabbit.
A search for Brown Hare seen around here before proved fruitless this time. So four our last goose event we went to Snettisham this time. Again before the Geese arrived, there were plenty of Waders and Waterfowl to admire. With the star being a single Scaup that upped and left about two minutes after I found it in the scope, Tina managed a quick look, but it was a dfot in the distance before Jo or Jimmy got a chance to see it, so no photo as a record!
A bit of a dull afternoon, but the gaps in the cloud with the sun forcing through were awesome,
 Golden Plover,
 Cormorant, Lapwing & Teal,
 Lapwing on fly by,
 Knot in the distance,
 Mixed flock of Waders on the move,

So that's it the Geese came in on schedule and were a fantastic sight and sound as they came in right over our heads a great end to a great week.