Friday, 31 March 2017

Yellowhammers at Little Staughton

17th March 2017

After our success with the Little Bunting at Great Barford, the objective of going to Little Staughton was to try and see the Great Grey Shrike that that been there for the last couple of days. I did indeed see the shrike but it was fairly distant and, as is the norm with shrikes, disappeared as quickly as it appeared.

But luckily there was a small flock of Yellowhammers on hand to provide alternative entertainment. They were feeding on a ploughed field and when spooked flew up into the nearby hedge, each habitat providing the opportunity for a few shots, albeit a little more distant than I would have liked. A nice way to round off the day.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

More of the Little Bunting at Great Barford

17th March 2017

After dipping the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Sherrardspark Wood it was time to move on to Great Barford to have another look at the Little Bunting. Since our last visit the cover crop had been ploughed in but the area close to the trees at the side of the field had been re-seeded so luckily the bird was still showing very well. In fact, from a photography point of view, it was much better as the bird was now feeding on bare ground and therefore much easier to pick out and photograph without it being obscured by vegetation.

Here are the results.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Nuthatches at Sherrardspark Wood

17th March 2017

I was actually waiting for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker to appear but was distracted by a pair of Nuthatches clearing out a nest hole in a tree nearby. The hole must have been full of debris as the birds took it in turn to bring beakfuls of litter out and discard it outside. This gave some superb photo opportunities.

Then one of the birds arrived at the nest with a huge beakful of mud and proceeded to use it to make the entrance hole smaller. I knew they did this, but this is the first time I have witnessed it.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Wood Larks at Santon Downham

13th March 2017

OK, the reason for going to The Brecks today was to try for the Lesser Spotted Woodpeck and Otter on the Little Ouse to the west of Santon Downham. Today neither were obliging but there were other species during the day to make life interesting. First up was this female Siskin which came down for a drink as I walked along the river and back at the car park a Goldcrest was quite keen to have his photo taken.

On now to Cavenham Heath to see if any Stone Curlews had returned for the summer and a chance to walk around the heath for Linnets, Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Wood Larks. Well, two out of four wasn't too bad and I did manage a few shots of a female Stonechat as she posed on the Gorse, and a Meadow Pipit on the heather.

But by far the best moment of the day was when I stepped out of the car at St Helens car park and could immediately hear a Wood Lark singing. I walked over to the edge of the car park and scanned all the fences, posts, bushes, and clods of earth to no avail. Then after a few minutes, I realised it was moving and turned my attention skywards. After a few minutes I did manage to pick it up and watched it until it dropped to the ground and managed to get these rather distant shots.

When it eventually flew there were three birds, although I never saw the other two on the ground.

Monday, 20 March 2017

More Water Pipits at Rainham Marshes

4th March 2017

Today there were two Water Pipits flitting around the islands in front of the Butts Hide, but always fairly distant making photography difficult. However, when I got to the Ken Barrett Hide I immediately found a third bird feeding on the far muddy bank to the left of the hide. Still a litle bit distant, probably about 25 yards, but close enough for a few record shots.

12th March 2017

Today all the action was in front of the Butts Hide where a single Water Pipit was feeding on the margins on one of the islands. Then it flew to the island right in front of the hide and proceeded to walk along the back edge and then along the front, just 15-20 yards away. You can see that it is starting to moult into its summer plumage. How good is that?

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Grey Wagtail and Water Rail at Lemsford Springs

9th March 2017

Time for another visit to Lemsford Springs to try and get some better photos of the Water Rails that have been showing well there. Unfortunately no sign when I first peered out of the hide, but all hell was let loose when a couple of Moorhens were having a territorial dispute and the referee lost control. With those sharp claws it is always amazing that there are no serious injuries.

Another Lemsford speciality is the Grey Wagtail and one individual spent the whole afternoon trotting up and down the cress beds. What cracking birds.

And eventually just one of the three Water Rails showed up and was feeding below the bank on the far side. When it was tucked under the overhang or in amongst the reeds it was in shadow making life difficult, but on occasions it would leave the cover of the bank and feed in the sunshine allowing a number of shots to be taken. Not bad for a supposedly secretive bird!!