Monday, 27 March 2017

SHALL WE START AGAIN?

Life's been a bit hectic since my last post, but apart from saying that I got a full refund on my Audi A4, also £300 compensation from the debit card company for the length of time it took, didn't ask for it they just did it, fair play...went to a half decent garage at Sywell range called Mawsley Motors. No pushy/arrogant salesmen, pretty straight to the point and honest ie no smarmy/butt licking liars unlike those at USED CARS SALES, FENLAND BUSINESS PARK, PETERBOROUGH (incase you or friends happen upon them). Walked away, after a full AA inspection, think the engineer said "I'd buy it if you don't only the cambelt needs changing, great car", Audi A6 Estate it's been flawless.
I had Crufts with my greyhounds and Whippet
My mum was judging the next day. It was great achievement for her and I was actually really proud for her. The appreciation for her judging appointment came with the second biggest entry for the breed Japanese Chins with 187 dogs entered, it was the biggest entry for 30 years. She even got her name mentioned on the television coverage. The amount of exhibitiors that came over to her afterwards and thanked her (even those whose dogs didn't win) said it all to me, well done Mum lol.
A curious bird fact and the NEC or specifically the Marriott hotel (the Kennel Club put the judges in there the night before they judge so they don't get stuck in traffic) EVERY balcony as what are either HOUSEMARTIN nests from last year or Swifts nests, now a 'proper' birder disputed a swift would build such a nest but when we lived in East Grinstead the Swifts used to build nests on our house like a HOUSEMARTIN does. These on the hotel look to big for Housemartins, but either way obviously they don't knock them down during the breeding season easily counted 26 before having to go home. So fair play to the Marriott.
With the weather lousy of late I stretched the cars cogs and headed up to Norfolk.
Had a brilliant day, the trip up there was packed with sightings, so many Hares were darting across the road and visibly chasing each other in the fields I wasn't surprised on the journey home to see a few road kills.
My first bird of the day was a Barn Owl, of course but it wasn't the bird I came for, not my best efforts but it's fair to say that I'm a bit ring rusty with the camera.





My attended target was actually Bearded Tits. I did not really have to many images. I also planned not visit any reserve but park up in one of the villages carparks that hug the coastline and follow the costal path until either I got bored or had a heart attack. So the Barn Owl really wasn't planned for but a bonus bird.
Courtesy of Google earth I selected my planned yomp to include mixed habitats of reed bed, small pools etc.
Didn't take to long at the first reed bed section to locate some interesting birds including Bearded Tits, a lot of Bearded Tits,  for me anyway 11 birds ain't bad.
But they weren't the first bird I actually photographed here. Apart from Turnstone, Curlew, Redshank flybys against blue skies (a bit boring image wise) it was a Marsh Harrier gliding low over the reed bed that got my attention but it soon disappeared into the reed bed. I saw an uninteresting Coot at the edge of the Reed bed about 16 foot away but was trying and failing for the Meadow Pipits chasing each other around. When I heard the reed bed crashing, honestly I was expecting a muntjac or perhaps a Chinese Water deer, I wasn't expecting the Marsh Harrier attempting to snatch the Coot.
The Harrier nailed the Coot and was plucking its feathers (look in it's bill) but the Coot lived up to it's nature and fought back with it's feet and got out from underneath the Harrier and ran off in my direction as did the Harrier on foot!!
It took off and was coming my way before it notice me in my limited cover and veered off, but the closest and most breathtaking encounter I've had with a Marsh Harrier ever. I couldn't believe my luck
 

 So the Bearded Tits finally came to the edge of the reed bed and despite the stiff breeze some ventured to the tops of the reeds (mostly the males) whilst two of the females stayed low down, more in attempt to avoid the males who were also busy establishing dominance.
Plenty of flybys but to quick for me but the camera locked on them in the flight sadly they were either missing heads or tails, expect a poor photoshop cut 'n' paste in the upcoming odds 'n' sods lol
 The male, who says British birds are boring
And the female.


I got so many to through,  it made a pleasant change and real treat just to be able to sit on a grass bank and enjoy the company of some Bearded Tits. I watched a very distant but sizeable flock of Brent Geese head off out into the North Sea and out past the windfarm. Saw Avocets in a nearby pool but opted to not bother as I had no cover and wouldn't get near enough for a decent image without spooking them. So walked on to where the footpath branches off heading towards another nearby village there was several pools not to far off my chosen route, some were dried out,  some channels and ditches, but being a footpath had wire fencing either side and gateways, some not so natural cover. I opted for a bridge that crossed a small channel that looked favourable but unfortunately meant awkward side lighting. Sat down and waited to see what would drop in, messed up the exposure on a male Stonechat, barely got the exposure right on a Redshank.

Think this is a Meadow Pipit, that just flew up onto the fence right in front me.
I've got tons to through good, bad and ugly but my final bird is probably the least shy.
The Turnstone, I stumbled across 4 busy feeding. They looked up, I thought they were going to fly off but they slowly wandered over towards me, sadly I had no food to share. I stopped photographing due to their proximity and just watched the within centimetres of me. Up close they're so small. Not the prettiest of waders but easily the friendliest.