Sunday, 22 November 2015

18th-22nd NOVEMBER

Should've known the minute I was looking forward to a few days off I'd be hit by a double whammy, rubbish weather and DIY around the house.
Now I've not had a proper cigarette for two months and "Vaping" instead being my sole nicotine joy the house needed a lick of paint, the better half wanted a new basin and new taps in the bathroom. I did of course sneak out in between visits to the DIY store.
First outing found me lurking around the Billing pub, not much on the marina apart from gulls...hardly any geese or swans which was odd. Saw a Kingfisher couple of times but the only thing that presented itself was this Grey Wagtail
Having done my domestic chores and no leaky taps my next outing (Friday) was on the bike. Obviously along the Brampton Valley railway and up to Pitsford reservoir. The railway section provided out of focus images of a male Merlin, such a tricky bird to keep in frame, I've managed that bit just got to get it in focus now lol. Plenty of Fieldfare and Redwing and quite a large flock of Linnet circa 50+ but rather quiet I headed up Merry Tom Lane towards Brixworth/Pitsford, still some Skylarks about, a couple of distant Red Kites and Buzzards (too far away) worm hunting in the fields made it worth the cycle up the hill from hell.
At Pitsford reservoir there was three Little Egrets, plenty of Pied Wagtails, Little Grebe and a Green Sandpiper but what caught my eye was a distant (poor record shot coming lol) Chiffchaff probably a Siberian Chiff-Chaff, it definitely stood out and caught my eye considering the distance it was from me
The light was annoying me one minute sunny then the wind would blow over a grey cloud, no better example then on the way home just below the water treatment centre this Kestrel flew right in front of me and hovered for ages, check the horrid grey sky
 Then as the grey cloud moved over/away the Kestrel flew off....typical of late
Saturday saw me purchasing a ticket of my mate and watching my beloved but bedraggled Chelsea. I think I was the only fan not singing José name, can't believe others were and to prove that indeed I've slipped into a parallel universe Leicester are top of the league...fuck me I don't like this universe....
Sunday was spent doing my Goldfinch survey for the BTO. Still 31 birds eating nothing but sunflower hearts, I have never had so many Goldfinch on the garden. The tame female Chaffinch is still in the garden
 As are plenty of male and other females. The only way of separating the tame bird from the normal skittish Chaffinches is it doesn't fly off when I venture out of the shed
 The boss. Greenfinch.
Other good garden news is along with myself four neighbours have created a Hedgehog "gap" between the fences. None of us wanted cats (plenty of them) taking advantage so we opted to dig holes under the fence panels on the theory the cats won't want to crawl under....time will tell.
Great Tit

Hope you all have a good week.

Sunday, 15 November 2015


Well my sum total of images for the weekend is two so, so images of a Kestrel.
I could only manage a dodgy outing to the quarry today (Sunday) as Saturday was a washout. Today I wasn't much better cycling into a peak wind speed of 24 mph seemed hard going and wishing I hadn't agreed to do my birding by bike rather then car...only a month to go and the bet is over.....maybe.
There wasn't much going on at the quarry, given the poor light and wind hardly a surprise.
A few Redwing at the entrance, a mini flock of Pied Wagtail (6), a fly over Buzzard was seriously low but up against a dark grey sky meant it might as well be doing cartwheels. A single Snipe was also present. But the quarry was so quiet I didn't even locate many common species such as Dunnock...proper bad visit.
I watched the Kestrel land just above the Sandmartins colony. I wasn't happy with the angle nor the horrible bit of rubbish present so risked moving a bit closer and a slightly better angle, not easy with next to no cover of the quarry floor
Still I have some days next week off so at least I don't have too long to wait for some decent permitting.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


I'm going to be vague about the exact dates as earlier in the year I pulled a sickie off work. I had a terrible virus (if I remember rightly) but now my boss at the time has departed for pastures new I'm relatively but tentatively confident I can say I was lying lol.
I woke one morning and thought "fuck work" looked at my car and camera and headed out. It was bloody early the sun wasn't due to rise for at least another 3 hours, not sure why but I headed for Norfolk.
I made the carpark at Cley Marshes as the sun tried to burn through some low cloud/mist. I had to close the car window to muffle the calls of a nearby Skylark and distant waders as I called in sick. Job done I switched my phone off. I got to the hide nearest to the carpark and stood outside. I could hear then see Bearded Tits on the far side of the channel. But it was a distant Marsh Harrier that presented a half decent photo chance

I knew this near the hide would mean not many waders or wildfowl would be immediately out the front of the hide but went in.
Another togger told me I just missed a Spoonbill close to the hide. It did return but distantly and stayed with the other delights.
Still I couldn't help thinking if I get rumbled by the boss it was worth it and it was still early. Not slagging off reserves but as each visit to reserve gets ticked off the less appealing they are. Of late I have got accustomed to walking and love the 'freedom' it sometimes brings. It was still early and it was getting a bit busy so walked back to the car, I could stretch my legs at Salthouse not before snapping a Reed Warbler the first pulling apart a web

I bumped into a "Salthouse" local togger who happened to be "sick" too (lol) who told me of the havoc winter had done to the pools so I opted to head for breakfast at Brancaster Straithe. I love this harbour and even more the fried breakfast. It's good for waders mostly flying through and terns. Not my best efforts but a Little Tern flew through. Sadly getting close to rarity status these days...

The boats in the harbour are marmite, personally I like them. Others I've talked too reckon they detract from the image, hmmm.
The waders, well being a small working harbour draws all sorts in. I got loads of Curlew images to go through. I'm really struggling composition wise with those at the moment. Plenty of Redshank, Ringed Plover, just two Grey Plover, plenty of Sanderling and Turnstone though. I struggled to find a pure white Sanderling I found one that had me checking my book which set it off differently to the others

Compared to the majority still in spring plumage, being vague on time of year, I was assuming these were leaving soon for breeding but other Sanderling were still in spring'ish plumage of sorts...maybe it was an age thing....

The Turnstone will be a clue to exactly what time of the year it was to birders though, blasted Turnstone's, I love them though.

I took a wander searching for anything small and scarce but only got more of the same and an Avocet not really happy with the picture though.

What I hadn't realised after a good day was how ill I was and how it (the virus) would strike again, conveniently for a part two....