Saturday, 4 July 2015

WAGTAILS (Yellow & Grey)

Slightly frustrated after this evenings outing for the Barn Owl.
It's my fault I built up my expectations that the owl would hunt in the same area, rather then the reality that there's huge areas for it to hunt unobserved, aren't owls fun? The valley floor enables good uninterrupted views over large areas so was disappointed not to get even a glimpse.
Still I had company whilst I stared like a lunatic into empty fields, first a record shot, in my eyes a worthy image for airing. A Yellow Wagtail
An unusually early one for me. I'm certain/been told some still breed sporadically in the county but often only on migration do I stumble upon them.  I sadly couldn't get near it we were at opposite ends of the bridge. I only saw it once :-(
There's a Grey Wagtail under this particular bridge, it always reminds me of a grumpy ol' troll demanding monies for crossing it's bridge.

Maybe it was the brief Yellow Wag' straying onto it's bridge but I reckon these Mayflies were the real reason for it's boldness and excitement.
Taken as usual with the 500mm, great macro lens ;-) the Greywagtail changed position I don't like the direction of the light but still like them

 There were also loads of Goldfinches. This section is always good for them quite an sizeable flock.

Friday, 3 July 2015


I don't get to write to often about Barn Owl's on this blog. Definately one of my 'permanent' favourite birds other favourites come and go. The actual finder of this bird kindly told me via Twitter he'd seen one recently really frustratingly before my accident on the bike this was an area I'd cycled/explored and always thought ripe for an Owl, I mean look at this camera phone image one smallish area of a much larger hunting area

For now I'm not going into to much detail. To be fair it's a well trodden path popular with many walkers, joggers and cyclists like me. It's box which it is feeding young has two major problems firstly it sits directly above another footpath so vulnerable to disturbance though weirdly it is a very noisy and busy area, secondly I was convinced this "box" was a pheasant feeder an unconventional but deliberately converted by someone.
My favourites first

Just kidding here they are in order of the encounter.
Distant at first

Off back with a catch, looking into the late sun
Despite standing on a bridge (small hint)  I didn't even bother hiding as it kept going over the footpath right in front of me and at times other people. Which in turn meant a lot of pleasant chats to passerby's which was actually nice.  It kept coming and going though, weirdest Barn Owl encounter by far.
Definately a rat for dinner on the above image. I got talking to one couple who nicely gave my another sighting of an Owl that I will be checking out in the car. Like I mentioned it's a very popular pathway, which eventually got quieter as the evening went on, I checked my watch, sent a thank you tweet (won't mention whom in case he gets flooded with enquiries lol) it was 8pm and the sun was dipping behind the hill but was rewarded with some better chances.

The sun had dipped behind the hills by now,  being in a valley (no more clues by the way) that's always a problem so the last three suffer in image quality to be honest

I stayed on the bridge until 21:45 watching and enjoying this really showy bird it knew it was safe with a river (ok last clue) between us. It went and hunted another field so decided to go myself, I had a train to catch (lol)hopefully more to follow.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


I would've posted this yesterday but thanks to one or more of my greyhounds that  chewed up my CF card reader which meant downloading via a USB cable direct from the camera, 375 images in 3 hours, jeez. I wouldn't have minded but I knew a high percentage would be deleted. Oh well.
It was an exciting start to the day at the Sandmartins colony and some questions answered. As I arrived I could see most of the flock circling and calling in front of one of the holes. I couldn't figure what was going on, no predators that I could see, I placed my bike down and started to get my camera out. Suddenly out of one of the holes a Stoat ran out and in a flash scaled the sheer vertical face of the sandbank as if it was flat, it tried taking two Sandmartins but dropped one...
Out of all the nesting holes I'd thought this particular hole was one of the safest from the clever Stoat, gutted by equally impressed with the Stoats agility, I think the Sandmartins are well used to the threats which was equally demonstrated once I had placed the dead Sandmartin away from the colony. A Sparrowhawk came flying through after the Sandmartins it was aiming for the nesting holes wings swept back before it clocked me and pulled up, circled and flew away. First sighting of the bird in ages so was quite happy just to see it

Sandmartin image wise it was a struggle there was some juveniles taking their first flights somewhat nervously flitting around close to their nests. Juvenile Sandmartin
The rest are adults in order of favourite to least favourite

 More work required for "backgrounds" I think.

It was getting hot so I took myself and the bike up to the Doug's Cave to cool down
Managed to get a strongly side lit Green Woodpecker flying onto the telegraph pole. It was being chased about by a Buzzard.
The Little Owl was in it's oak, every time the Buzzard flew past the tree it would alarm call.