Saturday, 25 October 2014

STONECHAT

I fancied a cycle and really fancied a Stonechat picture too. I knew thanks to local reports a pair had been showing quite well up at Blueberry Farm at Maidwell. So set off from home in Northampton via the quarry and along the Lamport railway line which for those outside of Northamptonshire is an old railway line that now is footpath/cycle path a small section is still used for a "classic" collection of trains. The cycle path as a result is flat and even and there were a few nice diversions en route. Spring Marsh just after the Spratton Crossing is interesting but as the name suggests better in the spring, only bird of any interest were the odd Reed Bunting. The tall hedgerows were full of berries (no hedge trimming) but no Redwing and Fieldfare. Quite a few Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits overhead. A couple of Buzzards too. I got to Blueberry Farm and bumped into fellow Northants birder Stuart who pointed out where both birds were...far away lol. Though Stuart reassured me they would come closer and had been.
I didn't see the Short eared Owl but think I was in the wrong field. Whilst talking to Stuart we did have a Buzzard and heard a Tawny Owl calling,  given it was quite bright I was surprised. 
FEMALE STONECHAT
 After a while sitting it out on a convenient log pile and the few people around had gone and it had decided to cloud over they popped up right by the track as Stuart had said they would (cheers mate)
MALE STONECHAT
I think there is three and not two, 1 male 2 female. I think the female is the better of the two images some good light would've been nice we did have some good light,  but sod's law no Stonechat. 
To prove it look a Buzzard and blue sky too.
 I was pleased to get the Stonechat. Okay they're not a "mega" but for me they're a bit special. We only get them in Northants in the winter. The special bit for me is that before I was a birder I used to walk my dogs around Summer Leys and I saw a male bird and some friendly birder told me what it was before pointing a female out too. They just ignited a flicker of curiosity at the time. I even remember the birder doing a really good impression of the birds call with just his mouth, no sound recording or "app" very good birder he is. We used get them all over the County but in recent years a bit thin on the ground. I rarely see one at Summer Leys or Mary's Lake these days. So for me I was glad to try and photograph them. Will try harder next time though. If you want to see some proper Stonechat images go and read RICHARDS BLOG
On the way home stopped for a passing and noisy tit flock near Spratton Road and got this Blue Tit, I like to think it's taking a leap of faith into the dark :-)...


20 comments:

  1. Douglas, these are great. Thanks for the link.
    The Blue Tit is a real show off.

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    1. Cheers Adrian, I thought those weathered rocks might interest you it did me.

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  2. Its nice to set off with an objective and achieve it, well done Douglas ! .... I have yet to shoot a Stonechat yet this year although there are a couple at Titchmarsh but very flighty..

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    1. Thanks John, these Stonechat eventually became quite showy. I am going to try again though

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  3. Stonechats are such great birds. I spend ages watching a family group on the heathland cliffs in Cornwall in Summer. From Findlay

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    1. I agree they're a great bird especially the male in it's summer colours. I was quite jealous when I saw yours:-) . Thank you.

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  4. Nice shots of the Stonechat Doug.

    When I visit Wales I'm somewhat spoilt with these. They seem to be everywhere.

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    1. ..I think I am jealous lol. I would love to see more spend the winter in Northants hopefully one day their numbers will increase and we do see more again.

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  5. Douglas, It was worth the bike ride to get those cracking Stonechat images.
    I saw a male Stonechat the other day, as I dipped on the 'local' Great Grey Shrike, he was posing very well on top of a hedgerow..but the light was so dire and I ended up binning all the photos.

    And two birds for the price of one with the last image...a Blue Tit doing a Swallow dive...sorry!...[;o)

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  6. Cheers Trevor, I deleted so many of my Stonechat images from yesterday for exactly the same reason so frustrating isn't it at times...bleedin' winter lol

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  7. My favourite Douglas, and you shot it.

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    1. Thanks Bob, I really like this species alot

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  8. I'd have been over the moon if I'd got those Stonechat images close to home, Doug. You did well, to say the least! They're not the easiest birds to find in these parts, are they!

    Thank you for your kind mention, and link to my own efforts with Stonechat. It seems that they're resident on the Scillies, and like most of the resident birds there, they are rather confiding, so photography was not that difficult, some of the photos even being taken from the comfort of a garden chair!.

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    1. I should be happy really but you can't beat good light, flight shots could've been achieved too, which is what I really would like. I was quite envious reading of the ones in the garden you had, a bit jealous too:-)

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    2. I should be happy really but you can't beat good light, flight shots could've been achieved too, which is what I really would like. I was quite envious reading of the ones in the garden you had, a bit jealous too:-)

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  9. I have spent time recently trying to photograph the exact same Stonechats Doug, I failed miserably as they stayed distant in the field but you managed to achieve some great results, bravo!! Oh by the way, the SEO has been showing in the same field too.

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    1. You know that pile of logs at the side of the track, I sat there and they come up to the ditch to drink.

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    2. You know that pile of logs at the side of the track, I sat there and they come up to the ditch to drink.

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  10. Glorious captures! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada!

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