Friday, 29 April 2016

Spring at Walton-on-the-Naze

17th April 2016

When looking for Spring migrants what better place to try than Walton-on-the-Naze. Even as we left the car park there was a lot of birdsong, not from migrants but the usual selection of residents including Starlings, a Wren and a Dunnock.

Further down the slope a pair of Linnets were prospecting for a suitable nest site allowing a few shots to be taken including a rather unexpected flight shot and a more typical pose on top of a sprig of Gorse.

But so much for the residents and now on to the migrants. Amazingly, despite the time of year and the enormous size of the site we didn't see or hear a single Willow Warbler. There were a few Blackcaps and Lesser Whitethroats around, but these were all keeping deep inside the bushes preventing any photos to be taken. At last a Chiffchaff became a little more cooperative and posed briefly for a single shot.

But the star of the show today was this male Whitethroat which not only sang virtually continuously to advertise its presence, but also posed a number of times on brambles and also some Blackthorn blossom which provided a great back-drop.

I have been coming to Walton for a number of years now, including the nearly five years that I have had my camera and although it doesn't often turn up much really out of the ordinary, it normally manages to deliver a number of good photo opportunities.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Spring, Warblers.......and Nightingales

13th April 2016


.........and that birdy today is the Nightingale. There are a few sites where Nightingales can still be found, but I think the most reliable for hearing them, possibly seeing them and hopefully photographing them is EWT Fingringhoe Wick.

All boded well when I stepped out of the car and could immediately hear a Nightingale singing down by the picnic area so off I went. Many other birds also had a spring in their step including this male Great Tit and male Blackcap.

Just past the picnic area the adders were once again on show, this time a pair featuring a rather splendid pale male.

But back to the main business of the day. I have been to Fingringhoe several times in the Spring and on most occasions have heard the Nightingales, usually catch a glimpse or two, but have only once managed to get a reasonable shot, but today was different. It was a nice sunny day, the birds had only just arrived and were all intent on staking out their territories so were singing loud and clear from the tops of trees and bushes. It was helped of course by the fact that most trees were not in leaf, the only exceptions being Elder and Hawthorn which were starting to green up, which provided a nice back-cloth to the photos.

WOW. What a day!!!!

Friday, 22 April 2016

This Week I've Been Mostly Photographing Marsh Harriers

6th April 2016

When I was a boy there was only 1 pair of Marsh Harriers in the UK, at Minsmere under the watchful eye of Bert Axell. Now there are numerous sites in the south, south-east and east of England where you can go and virtually guarantee seeing them. At some winter roosts the numbers exceed 60 birds. So, as it is now approaching that time of year when their thoughts turn to breeding, it seemed a good idea to try and capture some shots of them nest-building.

At this particular site the pair was a young male and an adult female. They were carrying in reeds and sprigs of bramble to a number of sites, but it appears that the males only build platforms and it is the female that builds the nest when she has selected a suitable site. So that explains why there was so much activity without any obvious interaction between the birds. Anyway, time now to just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

What a wonderful way to spend a morning.