Monday, 24 August 2015

THIS AND THAT AND SOME WADERS TOO

I'm really struggling to compose a blog post at the moment. A multiple combination of weather, work and woes have culminated in little birding. The times I've gone out has resulted in very little about. I'm not a bird snob and will point my camera at most stuff even if it's just practice shots. Yet I'm struggling.
The Little Owl's at the quarry have been keeping their heads down emerging just as gets the wrong side of 'bad light'/darkness or as the sun rises going to roost. Two main reasons the female Sprawk seems to be fond of the juvenile on one visit I was setting up (getting the camera out of the bag) when the juvenile popped down onto the rock a nano second later the sprawk was right behind it, the juvenile taking cover in between the gaps/crevices and the sprawk frantically grabbing at luckily thin air it flew off empty talon, Phew! The juvenile Buzzards (two nearby nests) are currently getting pushed away from the nests and again the Little Owl (both adults and juvenile) seem to be tempting targets for them. It is however providing great low flyby's when the weather plays ball.
The quarry so far has been a bit of a let down this Autumn, the flower meadow didn't really materialise like last year resulting in fewer Butterflies. I was hoping after the good'ish spring migration to see some Wheatears/Whinchat/Yellow Wagtails/Redstart but so far nothing. Last year even saw drop in Green/Common Sandpipers....nowt so far! However plenty of scruffy looking Chiffchaff still linger but not much else, I still live in hope on this weird site though.
I did catch this dubious record shot one evening on the way home, I actually from afar thought it was a swift and only realised at the last moment what it actually was, BUGGER is the censored version of what I said taken at the top of Spectacle Lane/Moulton College
Probably the best species I've seen since my last blog post, a definate bonus that left me chuffed to bits.
A Wren on the log pile was pleasant


I've given Brampton Valley a bit of a wide berth, shooting season has started, one particular landowner seems to be using a Howitzer this year, at least that's what it sounds like it even reverberates around the dam end of Pitsford reservoir some mile and half away not sure if he's shooting pheasants or elephant's!
Pitsford reservoir has been my second home with my bike, there was this very bizarre struggle off the dam wall
I say bizarre as the fish was still alive, just. Occasionally flapping yet the gull managed to drag it ashore. There was plenty of that horrible blue/green algae so perhaps the fish had been struggling for oxygen making it prime target for predation? It struggled for easily 10 minutes or so but even the crows got in on the action once ashore.
There was some distant waders including Ringed Plovers and Common Sandpipers the odd Yellow Wagtail and this ringed Grey Wagtail the angle of me at the top of the dam wall meant I didn't take too many images (horrible point of view/angle).
So off I cycled to the causeway and join in what feels like the M25 for cyclists. Some like me are just enjoying the views and pleasant cycle, slowing down for walkers and joggers but there are SOME who've I've termed 'NAZI-CYCLISTS' not due to any right wing leanings but their attitude. A 'get out of my way at all costs' and 'I'm going to cycle at speed like an absolute hooligan, forcing people off the footpath' type attitude/stance. I'm all for going fast, trust me it's a real adrenalin rush but adrenalin can be addictive and like junkies they have a really selfish attitude to getting their 'high'. I wouldn't be to bothered but the vast majority turn up with bikes attached to cycle racks which in turn are attached to cars. I really don't get the point in driving 4 to 5 miles only to cycle a couple of miles, someone please tell me the point as I'm bemused/confused. None of them park in the Pay 'n' Display carpark opting to block up the causeway instead. So they don't even contribute to the upkeep of the reservoir pathways but yet act like the own the pathways! Rant over.
I got to causeway not much was there at first, plenty of Lapwings and a handful of Starlings.
Lapwing
Juvenile Starlings.
 A juvenile Common Tern.
The skies were getting darker and the promised rain of the biblical type was on its way when I got the next two treats sadly I was at the wrong end of the causeway when these 4 Godwits flew over. They knew the rain was coming too I reckon.
 And just plain made a mess of this incoming Ruff. I did see the Great White Egret but was on the farside of the reserve and forgot my bike lock otherwise I would've ducked the biblical rain shower in the hide rather then getting wet, perhaps I need a bike rack for my car lol. Still I did dip out on the Wood Sandpipers but yet managed to roll over my "birding by bike" list to 109 just 11 shy of my target of 120, I'll get there I hope.

I will leave you with this phone camera shot taken at the brewery today, juvenile Mallards taking their first swim in one of the drains on the yard, made me smile sorry about quality: rain+phone=crap


11 comments:

  1. What a wonderful variety in this post Phil and even a bat! The gull tackling that fish is amazing.Love the juv.Buzzard with its gape open.

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  2. HI Douglas Sorry I think I called you Phil in my comment.

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    1. Cheers Margaret, I've been called worse to be fair lol. The Buzzards aren't happy at being kicked out of their nests by the adults some great noises coming from them at the moment

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  3. The Bat is a superb shot.....I am full of awe.

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    1. I wish it was sharp but this occasion have genuine reasons. I was really, really chuffed to see it. Best sighting all week personally.

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  4. Hi mate, I went to Pitsford the other day and noticed a couple of dead fish. I got talking to the local fisherman and they told me that there is a disease that is killing off alot of the local population. They seem very worried.
    Did you get my number?

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    1. Makes sense to me mate, fin rot, blue/green algae poachers not good for fishermen and fisheries at the moment. Got your number I'll give you a call Friday night/evening

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  5. Well considering you opened up by saying you'd not got enough material to do a post, well I totally disagree!! This post was a great read starting off with all the goings on down at the quarry, it also seems you've had some excellent viewing down at the reservoirs, let's not forget your ranting about the shooters and bikers (it wouldn't be a Doug post without a rant or two ha ha ) and all accompanied with some great images, but I have to say the bat image is BRILLIANT!!!!!

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    1. Cheers Paul, to be honest that's two weekends worth in one blog, but birds are now starting to move around a bit so hopefully it'll pick up. The poor old little owl at the quarry seems to be getting it from bot quarters especially the sparrowhawk. It deliberately looks for it now!

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  6. Great set of images, Phil. If you see Doug, tell him that the Bat image is one of the most amazing things I've seen this year - only a master cameraman could have taken that (even if it was by accident!) !!!!!

    My very best wishes to Doug ;-} - - - - Richard

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    1. I feel for Margaret that's twice she's called me by another name, still no harm done. That bat almost never made it onto the blog because it was soft focus but due to the species I thought it warranted publishing. So happy to see it, best species of the year for me

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