Wednesday, 20 February 2013

THREE SPECIES OF HARRIERS

It took me a while but whilst contemplating what to photograph next over here it dawned on me that I had actually managed three species of Harriers and only one now eludes me. Sadly I think unless I venture further then the UK I'm not going to find the last one, the Pallid Harrier (circus macrourus).
So what an excuse to post some more Marsh Harrier images and some rather dodgy record shots of a Hen Harrier and Montagu's Harrier. You're privelleged, so rubbish are the Monty' and Hen Harrier images you'll only find one of the images in Birdguides (Montagu) the others never made the light of day.
MONTAGU'S HARRIER (CIRCUS MACROURUS), WING TAG INDICATES IT'S FROM FRANCE



MONTAGU'S HARRIER (CIRCUS MACROURUS), MINSMERE 14TH MAY 2011

Then my favourite but one Ben and I only got four very distant record shots of is the Hen Harrier (circus cyaneus) at Salthouse marshes in Norfolk. A fluke discovery it glided very quickly through the long grass after a wader flock in one of the small pools, typically no-one else saw it but left me and Ben telling everyone we bumped into on the way back to the car "Look what we saw"...shame the image is pants, no laughing now......
HEN HARRIER (CIRCUS CYANEUS) SALTHOUSE 8TH APRIL 2011 
The sad fact is I'm not sure how long this bird will be a breeding bird in this country with so many going "missing" courtesy of irresponsible gamekeepers persecuting them.
And finally in the trio a Marsh Harrier from St.Ouens Bay/Pond in Jersey
Sadly the light was bit off today and the wind was very cold but you can tell I'm on a "break" as I broke my rule of ignoring Redpolls and got some very close up images of a feeding Redpoll and a Bullfinch (the Bullfinch being a Golden Rule of mine to never ignore). Sadly the light was poor but luckily were quite close to the ground and not stuck up in a tree.
EURASIAN BULLFINCH (PYRRHULA PYRRHULA)

COMMON REDPOLL (CARDUELIS FLAMMEA)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

MARSH HARRIERS AND BITS AND BOBS

 Well the above image was taken from the back of a ferry on the crossing over to Jersey and is one of the reasons I've suggested before that if you are ever to go to the Channel Islands, go by boat, no worries about excess baggage limits and if you time your trip right you'll see plenty of migrating terns whilst on the boat. The above Gannet colony is just before you dock in Guernsey and as you can see is well used, plenty of guam and not snow! Imagine what it's like in the breeding season.
I'm not going to bang on about the wildlife on Jersey, you'll just have to visit but it has left me pondering exactly what is going "wrong" on the main land when a smaller island has a better and far wider variety of wildlife and fauna but compacted into a smaller area. Sure there are problems, for example I read a "tweet" that said on Guernsey the number of Purple Sandpipers had declined by 99%, which answered one of my questions about why I was struggling to find any large number of wader flocks, sure I've found Turnstones etc, but not in numbers I was hoping for.
 Whilst on the island I've come down with a severe fever, the doctor has diagnosed me with having "marshus harrrierium feverium", translated to Marsh Harrier fever, I've become obsessed with them. It's not as serious as owl fever. Firstly they're not as shy or easily ready to fly away from you the moment they see you, in fact in some cases they come quite close...as long as you don't run towards them! It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself "I'm going to get a Red Squirrel image today" or "I'm going to photograph anything BUT a Harrier", what happens weather permitting I end up watching and pointing my camera at a Marsh Harrier. I can't explain how many times I've found myself JUST watching these birds soaring around. I even have a favourite spot where I simply sit down and watch them glide at eye-level....magic.

 When not getting blown away by strong winds and the cold weather I've found plenty of interesting stuff, Little Egrets moving off rock pools as the tide comes presenting a photo with a crashing wave, makes a change from the normal images of Little Egrets I normally take, I think I found a Rock Pipit too (see image below and let me know what you think). I've seen Kestrels, Peregrines, Rock Doves, Short-Toed Treecreepers, Cirl Buntings and Meadow Pipits. Hopefully, time and weather (and other factors) permitting I shall get some good images of the above mentioned birds and hopefully a Red Squirrel or two too.
Very poor image of possible Rock Pipit, what do you reckon?