Thursday, 11 July 2013

BITS AND BOBS FROM THE REEDBED

Yesterday (Wednesday,10-07-130) it was overcast and cloudy givivng me a chance to catch up with some processing of images. I had been at the reedbed all day on Tuesday (5:30am-20:35) as a dawn to dusk experiment. I really wanted to get a "feel" for the site, I also wanted another go at the Cuckoo and try and figure out what the Hobbies were doing too. It's the perfect site in my opinion to spend all day birdwatching. Downside's-No toilets, no shops and no shelter from the sun or rain! Upsides-Very few people (farmer and his wife were the only other people I saw), loads of wildlife to have a good gander at. It made me wonder as I sat at the site, why when grants etc are spent to create such a site WHY more people don't venture down there, some of the excuses I've heard have been "too hard to get an image", "too far to walk from the carpark","not much down there" and "no hides". It's four of the most stupid reasons I've heard....EVER! Well if fellow birders and lovers of wildlife aren't going to venture to site like this, then you haven't got a leg to stand on when you moan "we need more wildlife sites" etc!
First up the whole point of sites like this is to create habitats for wildlife, not a theme park/zoo, so views and photographic opportunities HAVE to a back seat, in my opinion views and images are just an added bonus. On Tuesday as I sheltered from the blazing hot sun at lunchtime, my back propped up against a willow sapling with elder trees forming a "sun screen" over my head providing a rest bite from the sun, I opened my bottled drink took my shirt off (too cool down) and closed my eyes and listened to the sounds, Reed Warblers chugging and whirling away from the reed bed, Sedge Warblers constant chuttering, a "squelch" from a Common Whitethroat, calling Buzzards followed by the explosive call of a Cettis Warbler (which still to this day makes me jump every time it starts it's call), a wren ticking away from the nearby hedgerow followed by a very brief view of a Lesser Whitethroat and as for the Water Rail squealing away from the reed bed had convinced me there really is no need for hides/shops or somewhere to go toilet!!! Just use a bit of imagination, the same goes for images...be creative try some good ol' field craft. The site is definitely in my opinion one of the hardest to get images from, but it's not rocket science, for example I heard a Long Tailed Tit flock coming towards me, so I left my shady area and waited for them to come along the hedgerow...to me



 You've played the game or "App" now meet the inspiration to "Angry Birds"...
As I've seen at this site and Welford apart from it being a mixed flock of Tits, there was of course Chiff-Chaffs with them, this adult came to the ground......silly high shutter speed and not enough time to adjust settings means it looks very sharp (too sharp) but the shutter speed was at 1/6000th, way to much, it was only on the ground for a second, so grabbed the image before it flew off to the bushes..bugger!
The next two images came from the 07-07-13 when I managed a few images of the Cuckoo, my excitement meant I never got around to processing them for the blog at the time, not sharp and in composition terms a bit poor, but it made me laugh it was of a juvenile Blue Tit having a wee bit of a struggle with some Lichen.

Sadly the Hobbies did show but on "private" land, those aware of the site will know where I mean about private land, the bloke doesn't really like birders so it's best not to venture on to his land, so was left as "observed" and not photographed...way to far away, I didn't even hear the Cuckoo never mind seeing it, that could be it for the male as they head off south normally about now, so fingers crossed I'll see some juveniles. I managed a few Reed Warbler images but weren't happy with the results so left them unprocessed for now, plus with the heat they were hiding at the base of the Reed stems, though I did get a record shot of a juvenile, which cheered me up (seeing a juvenile not getting a record shot). I did manage a Reed Bunting image, a bird that seems to divide opinion, myself I think the male bird in summer plumage is a handsome looking bird and the species is under-rated, others "just a reed bunting", hmmm people believe it or not used to say that about Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers, when they were numerous and common I remember as a kid Corn Buntings were quite numerous near to where I lived as a kid (remember that Ben and the lane near Sywell country park?) and were described by one birder as "plain,brown,chunky and rather boring looking", the species "falls of the cliff" in number terms and suddenly they're a "desirable" bird again, does a bird have to disappear before it becomes a "notable" or "exciting" species?
"JUST A REED BUNTING!!!"
So apart from the heat draining the energy from me it was another good visit to the reed bed, in fact it dawned on me today I haven't once gone to Summer Leys this spring/summer and have only visited Welford reservoir and Stortons Gravel pits a couple of time and one other "under-watched" site this spring/summer, and I think I can confidently say which site I prefer the most...the Reedbed.
On the walk I managed a few shots of the Buzzards on the site. I noted three things a) juveniles are being encouraged by the adults to leave the nest site b) when the Buzzards fly over the reed bed all of the warblers and reed buntings go quiet and the Water Rails squeal away in a "panic" like call c) one Reed Warbler even has a partial "buzzard" like call before reverting to it's normal call, which is odd and amusing to hear.


8 comments:

  1. Great images - the LTT in particular!! It sounds like a wonderful, peaceful, remote place! I love nothing more that having to walk a fair distance to find an idyllic place like that and seeing noone else! Other than our winged friends! Also I love reed buntings! I totally get what you are saying about people only being interested in things once they have become a rarity! The common house sparrow another good example.. intriguing to watch but so overlooked!

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    1. Thanks Lou, it is a nice peaceful spot shame more don't visit it I've only ever seen two other birders doing their bird survey, the House Sparrow is a another perfect example, in America they're viewed as an introducded pest by some!! Very odd people:)

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  2. A day to remember....sitting watching and listening with the odd picture as a bonus.
    Grand shots as always.

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    1. Cheers Adrian, it was a nice way to waste away a few hours.

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  3. Nice post Doug, with as ever some stunning images. I also latched onto your comment regarding those special habitats are for wildlife and not meant to be theme parks or zoos where the "lazy" birder or photographer ventures....couldn't agree with you more!

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    1. I'm a bit "Jekyll and Hyde" about nature reserves, there are some beauties out there Rutland, Otmoor, Snettisham and Minsmere etc but I do love being out down a public footpath/field/farm etc as every bird you see common or special is like a bonus bird

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  4. Your dedication and enthusiasm for your craft shows through in the brilliant images that you capture Douglas. The series of LTT images are superb!
    Looks like you've found a great site there, with lots of potential?...[;o)

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    1. "Your dedication and enthusiasm for your craft", you wouldn't have written that had you stumbled across me laying down under a tree like I was lol, but thanks. I managed with a new book to ID a Black Tail(ed?)Skimmer beautiful looking dragonfly/skimmer/flying insect thingy:)
      Did you see they're banning all TV crews from pitlane during all sessions in F1, that'll please Murdoch:)

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