Thursday, 31 January 2013

KESTREL ON A POST

 I had a fantastic day today, spent about two hours in the company of a Kestrel that was showing off a different style of hunting I had not really seen too often. It was very windy at times today but I had some fantastic light.
I photographed the Kestrel on two fence posts which wasn't to easy as they were both by the side of very narrow lane, it had a couple of spots I could pull the car into and shoot images from the window with out blocking the traffic, I didn't have to worry about traffic, I didn't see another car or person for the whole two hours. The first two images are on the first post and has a tall of row trees subduing the great light on offer today and images three and four are on the second post and not only had it not got the tall trees subduing the light but is on more level ground.
 As you might see in the second image above the Kestrel was fascinated in what was on the ground below the post. It had a straight line of these fence post (about 40!) to drop onto, I watched as it was travelling from one post to the next post, dropping down from the post onto the ground sometimes popping up with large worms, sometimes empty talon. Each time getting one post closer, each time it got closer I thought it would fly off, for a change it didn't.

At one point I had to switch over memory cards and as I relocated the Kestrel in the viewfinder I thought it had either lost it's head or just got a bit camera shy!
But no it just carried on as normal staring down at the ground, dropping onto it's prey. So even the wind was to strong for the "wind hoverer". Photographing from a car can at times be a bit cumbersome and not much room to swing a cat nevermind a big ol'prime lens but often the results can out weigh the cons, the vehicle offering up a great mobile hide that is often better then an "on foot" approach. I would never had been able to get as close as I had nor the bird stayed put. As you can see in the very first image, the "headless" shot and the image below the bird was quite confident enough to preen itself....brilliant day. In the end the bird was still there when I drove off.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

NOTHING NEW FOR A WHILE.

I have to inform those who read my blog I shall be out of action for a while, I'm not going to go into reasons here on the blog for personal reasons, I shall hopefully try to post a blog post or two but they may involve me having to either use public wifi, which means sitting in some "branded" coffee chain or worse some American burger chain which goes against what principles I have, some did suggest getting a dongle for the duration I'm away which sounds quite good as long as it's not too expensive.
I shall try to keep up to date with the blogs I read as much as I can and sadly my birding activities shall be taking a back seat for a while. Please bear with me as this isn't because of anything that has been said etc but is for personal reasons I wish to keep to myself for now.
It looks like I will not be back to regular posting until at least March! But I will try to get a least one blog post per week.
BARN OWL, PERCHED UP AT SUMMERLEYS NATURE RESERVE

BARN OWL, WIVETON MARSH, NORTH NORFOLK

SHORT-EARED OWL, JUNE 2012,MAIDWELL,NORTHANTS

SWALLOW TAKING A BREATHER, COTTESBROOKE, NORTHANTS

THE GREYHOUND THAT THINK IT'S A BIRD

MACK IN THE SNOW 
GOD I'm bored, I hate the snow, unlike our puppy greyhound Mack. He seems to like the snow and despite my best efforts seems to like bird food too. Having had the dog for a while, we are struggling to figure out how young greyhounds make it alive out of "puppy hood". Seriously they're all legs and run in such a "gangly" manner, daft as a brush and always doing something stupid or "life threatening" but wouldn't swap him for any other dog. Why Mack for a name? Well we're Mac's (Mcfarlane) and he was bred in Scotland so thought Mack was quite suitable, after having four ex-racers (now only one due to the others passing away with old age) we took the plunge and opted for a youngster.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Sorry word verification back on...

So sorry I know the word verification does peoples head in but it seems Google can't stop spammers. Anyone using Windows/IE browser will know Google/Bloggers service is on a somewhat downward spiral. First on Jan 4th anyone using IE was unable to upload images without having to switch to another Browser provider, try Firefox MUCH MUCH better. Then there was the number of images you were able to post then resize to either "small,medium,large,x-large" etc, no such problems on Firefox. And now the spammers are out in force, I thought the problem had rectified itself but it's come back with a full on attack this morning. Nine spams into the spam folder, not bothered about that, it show Bloggers spam filter working ok but three (12 in two hours Google/Blogger not good is it?) made it through to the "awaiting moderation" folder.
Just for the record I don't need online gambling, the government has allowed too many bookies to open up near me so why bother with "online". I also don't need to join someone "doing god's work" he's more than capable/powerful enough of doing his own work himself,  I believe in God as much as I believe in ghosts, and lastly I don't need breasts enlargements......I would never leave the house or even get out of bed.

Friday, 18 January 2013

....AND THE BIRDS DROPPED OUT OF THE SKY

 Okay I have to admit the title for the post is uber lame but I was figuring there would be many posts with snow related puns, but looking around I was wrong. Perhaps I'm not the only one who groaned when they heard it was going to be snowing. I swear if I hear another reporter on the news asking for "viewers pictures of snow" I'm going to scream. I wasn't going to go out in the stuff, no point the vehicle would only get stuck, which was a shame as I've got (thanks to Paul Riddle) a Barn Owl to catch up with that I'm pretty excited about.
So I opted just to top up the feeders and see what turned up in the garden, glad I did. Now I have to confess as a bird photographer my garden is hardly "photographer friendly", firstly it isn't very big, located on a town centre housing estate, and the fact one half of the garden has a metal-style fence stopping the dogs getting out onto the grass during inclement weather thus preventing me having to get mud of their feet when they come running in. There's a yew tree that has Dunnocks,Robins and Goldcrests some sort of non-native tree that's a pain in the arse, no matter how much we chop down and rip it out of the ground the bugger returns and grows rapidly. There's a lot of this bush over the local park so probably spread from there. If you look at the Fieldfare and Long Tail Tit images you can already see that despite the freezing temperatures and now snowit is already budding...grrr.
 So there I was making a cup of tea after getting in from topping the feeders and I heard Long Tail Tits calling I had a quick glance out of the window and saw what I could only describe as a swarm of birds coming into land, I quickly grabbed my camera (switching to a smaller lens) and hung out the living room window. Firstly I counted 13 Long Tail Tits, they came onto the feeders a few times during their visit but spent most of the time nipping away at the buds on this horrible tree, then from all directions ( I swear I've never seen anything like it in my garden) was a mix flock of Great Tits and Blue Tits, sadly no Coal Tits, coming in en-masse, I counted only 5 Great Tits but an unbelievable 16 Blue Tits, normally at one time I would only see about 4 different Blue Tits in the garden, then the ever reliable and always hungry Starlings (56) turned up, I couldn't see the feeders! The Blue Tit and Starling were queueing up waiting for space on the feeders on the top of the metal fence, they don't normally do this because of the dogs. A couple of Dunnocks joined the feeding frenzy and last were 7 Blackbirds but the best came last but as always were very flitty, 8 Fieldfare. That's a new bird for the garden, sadly yesterdays 3 Mistle Thrush was just one Mistle Thrush and flew straight over, probably realised there wasn't much room for it to land! The fieldfare is typical of my garden with the lovely upvc window in the background on the left of the frame lol.
Until this afternoon I normally I hate snow, but it seems to have brought me a big influx of garden visitors, yipee, luckily for me I got big (12.5kg) bag of bird seed for just £4.99...bargain lol, that drew some funny jokes and looks from those that saw the bag, but I'm glad I did now, he who laughs last and all that...hahahah :) I started to hope for Bramblings or even a Redpoll, but sadly not yet. I was surprised to see the sheer numbers of birds and the noise and the fact that no cat and sadly no Sparrowhawk showed up, still we had our urban Buzzard yesterday and that's becoming quite regular as were the Common Gulls that circle over our house, they looked pretty special against the snow filled skies and had a angelic glow to their underside courtesy of the reflected light off snow covered ground.  Great Fun, now hurry up and melt please.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

MISSED CHANCES

COMMON GULL, PITSFORD RESEVOIR.
 Well since the new year my chances of getting out and doing some birding has been limited. A poorly Greyhound (no recovering) and just rubbish weather has halted any ideas of getting out to photograph birds. I had got out to go and have a look at the Bearded Tits down out at Ecton sewage farm. It was great to see these birds again wintering in Northants and is becoming quite regular though mostly at Stortons GP, sadly no decent images from the day, but next time it's bright I'm going back, if they're still there of course.
On Sunday I opted to spend the day down at Pitsford Resevoir, mostly in Holcot Bay and the first hide with the aim of some wildfowl flight shots, sadly the only birds that flew around were Gulls and the Cormorants, there was the odd Buzard and Corvid chance but the only wildlfowl was some Tufted Ducks, 2 female Goldeneyes, Gadwall and Widgeon all sadly just bobbing around on the water. Still I had perfect company in the hide, a Robin decided to keep popping in and out the hide (no doors on the hide) and kept going to the edge of the hides floor were it seemed it was building a roosting spot. I also got a Wren that whilst I was busy watching the Ronins antics popped up on to the window shelf of the hide as I popped my head up to see if I was missing anything it just stood there staring at me before flying off...nice. I did see the Great White Egret that was JUST visible in Walgrave Bay, there was plenty of woodland birds including 6 Goldcrests, 3 Bullfinches, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker,4 Coal Tits but sadly no Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, this bay and the bay with the bird ringing hut in it used to be really good for them, does anyone know if they still there? I regulary read Eleanor and Neils blog and they don't seem to be trapping them during ringing sessions so probably not.
BLACK HEADED GULL, PITSFORD RESEVOIR
 Hopefully if the weather brightens up I can get some decent images, still looking at the image below things could be worse?
A phrase every "petrol head" hates...MADE IN SOLIHULL