Thursday, 25 August 2016

Titchwell Freshmarsh and Island Hide

18th August 2016

A few days visiting family in Norfolk so time for a couple of hours at Titchwell. As we were walking up the path to the Island Hide my wife Jenny reminded me that a couple of years ago there was a family of newly hatched Sedge Warblers hunkered down in the reeds quite close to the path. Unbelievably as we approached exactly the same spot a small group of people were focusing their binoculars and cameras into the reeds.

And there, just a few yards from the path were three young Sedge Warblers all huddled together, either to keep warm or for a feeling of security. How amazing is that?

Not too much going on in the air apart from the usual flocks of Canada Geese commuting from the fresh-marsh to the salt-marsh in search of grazing.

Once inside the Island Hide there were surprisingly few waders around but luckily plenty of interest right outside the windows. First up was this lovely juvenile Shelduck which came so close that at one point I couldn't get it all in the frame. Also a single Redshank provided some shots as it fed quite close.

In the nearby shallows were the compulsory Avocets which appear to have no fear of hides or humans and continued to strut their stuff. No little wonder that they are the most photographed birds at Titchwell.

But the stars of the show today were the Ruffs which were also very confiding. This adult was in front of the hide, and the juveniles below were further along the track going towards the sea. What an amazing couple of hours and hopefully we will be able to come back tomorrow to have a look at the saline lagoons and the beach, so watch this space.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Lots of Waders at Abberton and Fingringhoe Wick

10th August 2016

The wildfowl menagerie at the Layer Breton causeway has been somewhat depleted of late with no Red-breasted Geese on show, but today saw the appearance of five newly arrived Emperor x Barnacle Geese hybrids. The geese have been on the main reservoir for the past few weeks but have now found the main food source so will probably become a permanent feature.

On the other side of the causeway the first task was to scan the banks for Ruff which normally appear at this time of year, and I was not to be disappointed. For there strung along the water's edge were 5 or 6 birds, all looking resplendent in the morning sunshine. Nothing else of note, so time to look around the reserve.

On the track to Hide Bay, a family of young Whitethroats were flitting around the barbed wire fence, but unfortunately were fairly mobile allowing on only shot to be taken. In the hide a young Lapwing was feeding right in front of the hide and was showing off its kaleidoscopic colours in the full sunshine.

Now on to the Island Hide where unfortunately, due to a small drop in the water levels, the water's edge had receded to 20 yards from the hide instead of the usual 10 yards. Nothing in sight initially but then a Common Sandpiper appeared from behind the point to the left and proceeded to walk towards the hide. After about 20 minutes it had come within camera distance and I was able to get some shots.

Now on the the next leg of the journey to Fingringhoe Wick and was greeted by a number of Swallows gathered on the tiled roof of Wick Cottage. Although many of the birds were youngsters, this adult was still present but it won't be long before it starts to return journey to Africa, leaving the young ones to follow on at a later date.

On the scrape 4 Green Sandpipers were feeding on the edges of the many islands, sometimes coming close enough for a photo. But the stars of the show as always at this site were the roost-time gathering of Greenshanks which on this occasion built up to a total of 25. What a fantastic end to the day.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Hobbys at The Lodge

5th August 2016

Hobbys were breeding at The Lodge once again and the young were soon due to fledge. The original fledging date was predicted to be the 15th August., but this was revised to the 7th-9th so time for a visit just in case they were early. Just as well that I did as by the time I got round to the nest the young had already fledged and were sitting around mostly hidden in the tops of the pines.

This meant of course that the two adults were quite active bringing food in for the youngsters and I had worked out that they would need several dragonflies per day so there would be several visits. Unfortunately the adults had other ideas and were bringing in small birds so far less visits were required.

They were mainly flying in low or through the trees so not many chances for a flight shot, but on one occasion there was a quick fly-past.

And eventually patience paid off and one of the adults came a bit closer allowing some better detailed shots. Then, as if by magic whilst the camera was trained on it, it dropped out of the tree to allow a few action shots to be taken. Mission accomplished.