Saturday, 3 January 2015

STONECHATS

What a swing in temperatures, the last few days have been in the minus numbers and my riding has been hazardous. My road sits in shade until about 2:30'ish in the afternoon so had about three days worth of build up of frost and my route to the quarry wasn't much better especially the cycle paths. One lane I always head down is called Spectacle Lane, one half is tarmac and the second half is mud with a ford halfway down it.  I found a Woodcock here the other day on the way up to the quarry. The quarry itself has been a bit quiet. The Kestrel is still there. 
 The odd Snipe are still about too, this is about as good as I've got of the Snipe here so far, this one flying in from roughly the direction of Pitsford reservoir.
 Quite a few Wagtails keep dropping into the quarry floor, using the puddles that weren't frozen for drinking and feeding, the Greywagtail was really hard to get close enough for any real good images, just no cover to sneak up to it, so a dubious record shot.
The Pied Wagtails, though it might be a White Wagtail I can never tell was a bit bolder and came close to me negating any need to crawl on my hand and knees. The first one is slightly back-lit which was fun to expose, think I got away with it! 
 The next two show it successfully finding food (second image) you can also make out the ice from the frozen pools of water too and not frost.

With blue skies and sun on the 2nd (Friday)  I wanted another go at some Stonechats so headed for Blueberry Farm and the log pile. It's a long bike ride but a pleasant one along the old railway line, plenty of Fieldfare, Buzzards though it was windy which made it hard going at times. I was hoping for some owls but found none, the wind probably didn't help matters. I could see the two Stonechats (male and female) some distance off in the target field but knew if I sat it out they'd come closer. 
 At one point they were both feeding off the track but horribly back-lit, I didn't get away with exposing it correctly tthis time.  A 4x4 sent them back to the field and so did a dog walker or two. It got a bit closer as people disappeared. But with long periods of time passing, each time it flew off into the field, the time it took to come back got longer....and longer. I got this one a little bit closer.
 However the track was busy with many enjoying the nice sun, who can blame them it got a bit closer and below is the best I got, which I'm sort of happy with...
What and where I really wanted the bird to be is perfectly demonstrated by this Robin. 
 It wasn't to be on this visit, luckily there's plenty of time to get what I was after.
For a "robin" I'm quite happy with that. Wish it were the chat though. 
The other bird that caught my eye was the three Buzzards circling overhead, one glided in close. I also saw two Kestrels but a bit quiet, but still worth the cycle even if my leg muscles differ. 



13 comments:

  1. This is a great bag today. The Buzzard is a beauty.
    I'll keep these images as a standard for mine. All mine are minus Douglas Bird Standard.

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    1. Cheers Adrian it came quite close and low. I do enjoy photographing them

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  2. HI Douglas I have just arrived home from the I.O.W. where it was very frosty for a couple of days although blue skies. Looks like you had the same there but you did manage some good shots. Love the Buzzard and Stonechat shots. Have a great weekend

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    1. Thanks Margaret I think I like the cold starts despite the treacherous cycling conditions better then the rain and mud that we have today

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  3. Great selection Doug.
    Love the Stonechats, and the Wagtail, (looks good for a White to me, but I know nothing), and the star for me is the Snipe. Hard enough on the ground at times, but in flight, well done.

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    1. Cheers Keith the Wagtail always get me :-) a decent flight shot of the Snipe is proving elusive so quick in flight. The Stonechat is such a favourite bird to me, I even cycled 20 miles in total to photograph it... I need help lol

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  4. Beautiful set of images Douglas, you're off to a good start for the new year!
    I'm sure that once you've got those Stonechats 'trained' they'll sit up perfectly for you?
    All we want now is for the weather to 'play ball' !...have a good one...[;o)

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    1. Thanks Trevor (got the name right this time) I've tried training the Stonechat but it keeps flipping the bird at me :-) one day, still I like the rain today saves me washing the mud off the bike manually, did you catch the Beebs review of the Nico/Lewis dual, pretty good.

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  5. As always Doug a fine set of images and absorbing narrative, best wishes for 2015, keep them coming !

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    1. Thanks John, I got a guilty feeling when I saw your blog post about the stonechats yesterday I think we've been spoilt with them this winter here. Have a good 2015

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  6. I got Stonechats as well today, but I wasn't expecting any. My pictures were nothing like as good as yours though even though they sat up high for me.

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  7. Oooh Stonechats, ya gotta love em! Nice post with some more brill images Doug.

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    1. Cheers Paul, they're one of my favourites this is the first winter in a long time we've had so many showing across the county.

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