Saturday, 29 November 2014

MOULTON QUARRY 29/11/2014

What's the saying? What a difference a day makes. What a difference too. Sunny,  blue skies and warm too the digital temperature gauge on the phone peaked at 16°c.
I headed off to Moulton Quarry and my self named pit. Bird wise it was bit slow. Two Snipe that never broke cover, two Teal, Kestrel, Grey Wagtails, three Meadow Pipits, Sparrowhawk, two Buzzards, 1 Little Owl, just five Fieldfare, Song Thrush and other common stuff.  Didn't bother counting the Linnet, Finches and Tits too many.
I was disappointed in the Fieldfare numbers as one long hedgerow on the site is screaming out winter thrushes. It has plenty of berries and even apples waiting to be scoffed up.
Good numbers of Reed Buntings too.
MALE REED BUNTING

FEMALE REED BUNTING

FEMALE PREENING 
The other good photo opportunity came courtesy of a Blue Tit feeding from a Bull Rush.


I kind of filled by boots with this little chap quite enjoyed watching it so I'll apologies for a bit of repetition here.

And the last two...


ECTON SEWAGE FARM 28/11/2014

I was getting a bit of cabin fever the last few days. The weather has been so lousy sitting it out in the shed, if you thought it was boring reading and looking at images from my urban garden in the last post, how do you reckon I felt.
I like getting out on my bike, exploring what's around and visiting the less popular sites, I can handle grey skies for photography as long as the grey clouds are reasonably high it's not a problem, I even love frosty mornings. But I can't stand misty, murky and damp days. This has been the weather around this way for the last few days.

But this morning I thought I'd venture to the lakes and reedbed behind the Ecton sewage works. It's an interesting area and the last few winters Siberian Chiff-Chaffs and Bearded Tits have loitered. It's not to far away from my home in Eastfield if it was to rain hard I wouldn't get that wet . I knew having looked at the weather forecast photography was going to be limited so along with the binoculars I dusted the scope down and squeezed it all into the camera bag.
I went via the Billing Aquadrome marina and up into Cogenhoe and entered the site via the campsite. A few vaguely interesting birds like a Greywagtail and a Grey Heron were near the canal locks at the campsite. I crossed over the small concrete bridge scanning the hedge and the wooded section. The track leading to to the lakes was boggy to say the least, pushing the bike was a real struggle an inch of mud and leaves coating the tyres and clumping up the brakes....ah cycling! Plenty of common birds, plenty of Fieldfare, a Cettis Warbler heard but not seen, a few wrens were the best.
I made my way up to the reedbed, hoping for Bearded Tits but not before washing the mud off the tyres in puddles and "un-clumping" the brakes with a stick. I had a quick look up the stream at the entrance to one of the lakes, just mallards, moorhens, kamikaze swans (more to come on that) and a Kingfisher.
I got to reedbed didn't hear nor see any Bearded Tit during the two hours I was there, but got a very vocal Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, another Cetti's Warbler and a Wren in a voice off with each other the Cetti's obviously won that one. Got the camera out, 1/10th a sec shutter speed (ISO 1600,500mm f4) so didn't bother just sat and watched as Wren bullied a Cetti's Warbler chasing it around the base of the reed stems. A smaller flock of Fieldfare flew over head and up the lane towards the very nearby A45. Also got a crow bullying a Sparrowhawk. I walked up to the next "pool" were I managed to get two Snipe.
I sat on a concrete bridge that crosses over a ditch which carries what I guess is the treated water from the sewer works. This as I sat is where I stumbled across the kamikaze swans. I know fellow birder/Blogger David James has encountered these here too. The swans fly low around this area and occasionally expect you to move out of the way. I watched in both terror and awe at two Mute Swans flying up the ditch one quite a safe height, the other straight at me at head height and not making any real effort to gain height.



It passed over about 3 foot above my head, so glad it didn't drop a present!
PLENTY OF GOOD FIELDS FOR GRAZING MEANS LOW FLYING SWANS

After about an hour I headed back to the lane walking parallel to the ditch and field, got another Cetti's making it three for the day. I headed up the lane and stopped at the concrete bridge where the ditch meets the river and flushed a Green Sandpiper that was resting on the concrete embankment, wasn't expecting that so was happy to see it but gutted I flushed it.
The weather wasn't improving so headed home but not before having a quick look at a pocket park on a housing estate called Ecton Brook. Quite impressed, I got Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker, it's an interesting park worthy of another look next time I visit the sewage farm.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

SACRIFICING A GOAT

Well no work for two weeks, yippee. Yet I was soon deflated as I drew back the curtains this morning..grey,damp and misty....bollocks. So tonight I've kidnapped a goat, built an altar in the shed and have sharpened the meat clever the goat will GET IT tomorrow if we don't get some sun, you have been warned!! Talking about sheds I did get some time in it and the garden. First up is the Goldcrest, on our local park, Eastfield Park, I see a lot of these whilst walking the greyhounds. There is also one always in the garden.
GOLDCREST,BACKGARDEN 15th NOVEMBER
I can get quite close to these and am thinking of slopping the 300mm f2.8 to get some flight shots, though this was taken from the shed using the 500mm in between sips of tea and bacon sarnies..yum
GOLDCREST, BACKGARDEN, 19th NOVEMBER 
The other nice surprise is the Chaffinch, OK very common. However last time we had any in the garden was a couple of winters ago and we had heavy snow which in turn brought in loads to the garden, currently upto 7 at any one time, weirdly all but one is a female. 
FEMALE CHAFFINCH

FEMALE CHAFFINCH, "NOT COMMON OUT UNTIL YOU STOP PHOTOGRAPHING ME" 
GOLDFINCH

BLUE TIT
Won't bore you anymore with common stuff from the garden for now. Hopefully my next post won't be about a messy end for a goat...maybe :-) oh and check out John Finlayson's blog out he's been getting some excellent starling murmaration at his local reserve Titchmarsh, his blog can be found on the list down the side of this blog or here JOHN'S BLOG

Friday, 7 November 2014

THE POTTING SHED

STROPPY GREENFINCH

GREENFINCH
  Just a few from the shed. I've struggled to get out recently. Mostly down to weather. And the good weather coinciding with my shifts..git.
BLUE TIT


BLUE TIT

GREAT TIT
COAL TIT

COAL TIT

STARLING

STARLING

WREN