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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Cockerham again

Short and to the point... Great Crested Grebe at Glasson and 45 Swan on Jeremy Lane, of which only two appeared to be Whoopers the rest Mutes. Too many numpties and dog walkers and no sign of a Snow Bunting anywhere around Plover Scar (Rock Pipit, Merganser, Cormorant, Dunlin, Turnstone, Oyster Catcher, Knot). There was a very large flock of something over (Dunlin?) at Sunderland Point and about 3,000 Pink Footed Geese took to the air over Thurnham as I departed. On the way home I clocked the Little Owls on Gulf Lane just as the light failed and just in time to see a Barn Owl sat on a fence post twenty feet away but couldn't photograph it (I did but they are rubbish). So here are some more Snow Bunting images from earlier this week.

Little Owl (female?)

Same Little Owl

Two at once (click to enlarge), male and female?
Rock Pipit 22.02.11

Rock Pipit 22.02.11

Snow Bunting

One Whooper Swan in a field of 45!
Towards Fleetwood
Pink Footed Geese filled the air
Huge flock of.... off Sunderland Point
So here's an equally poor photo from 2010
And finally is Spring here at last?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Worth the trek?

I haven't been able to get 'out and about', but enough was enough. Having saved up all my pennies for some petrol – have you sen the price of petrol, someone is taking the proverbial! Anyway, I only just cottoned on to the high tides and times and while I fancied Rosall I ended up at Cockerham and environs, thinking it might be quieter. I had not realised all your little cherubs were on holiday and after dropping in at Condor, decided Cockerham might be a better bet – a location I don't know well nor birded previously. As usual it was grey overcast and miserable; by the time I reached Cockerham the sea was well up and all creeks full so I had missed the incoming tide. GREAT.

I set off north along the coastal path and within five minutes had two Rock Pipits, however they were not going to allow me anywhere near and I only managed poor record shots. As I trudged forlornly north I bumped into a kindly gentleman who pointed me in the direction of Plovers Scar with the mention of the Snow Bunting... the reason I had ended up here at Cockerham, so fingers crossed... or needle in a haystack?

Look carefully and you'll see a Rock Pipit and Snow Bunting ... in one photograph!

Snow Bunting (first winter male)

I was fortunate enough, like a fool to spook the Snow Bunting on approach, (maybe that's a bit hard, as I didn't know where it was or where I was looking), but I managed to pick it up more or less straight away... together with two more Rock Pipits and an odd one (5 in one day!). As it might be another 50 years before I see a Snow Bunting I decided to hang around and see if it would return and sure enough I spent the next two hours watching this engaging bird, sometimes the Rock Pipits appeared before flitting off again. So well camouflaged is this Snow Bunting, look away for a second and it is near impossible to find again. Usual coastal birds were in evidence, a skein of about 60 geese headed north overhead, Oyster Catcher, Wigeon, Shelduck and as you can see Redhsank and Turnstone were in evidence. Apologies for the poor pics (and these are the best of about 800!) – the light wasn't good at all and I have tried to show the Snow Bunting from various views and plummage. And finally Pete Woodruff passed on his return journey so having already done the web thing it was great to finally meet – I look forward to doing so again. I may try and add a video but that will take more time and for what it is worth the images can be enlarged by clicking on them. Worth the trek – you bet.

Not sure how well this will work, video is ok on my computer but by the time it is compressed to fit on a blog (automatically) it seems to deteriorate considerably. I'll post in the hope it helps you know what you are looking for!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Testing Times

Not been very far and so I have been doing some photographic tests in the meantime... how readily we overlook what are 'common' birds etc... anyway here are a few. I'm also not sure of the size and resolution to post, so possible further repetition I am afraid. Furthermore the variation of plumage in each species has always intrigued me and if it is possible to identify individuals by plummage. Obviously sometimes certain birds have distinct characteristics, but as yet I have yet to identify such an individual. While not taking much notice of Collared Doves, those I have taken an interest in do seem to suffer with scaly leg and I wonder how widespread or if any research is being undertaken... something else to look into when its raining! Click on any image to enlarge

click on any image to enlarge

I had to include this... wide aperture and a fast speed?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Tinternet kaput

Service Providers... tell me about them! As a consequence, I have been without email and t'internet for a while... a pot pourri while 'out n about'... a few test shots,  nothing to report I'm afraid, the weather and light has been particularly poor most of the time. (click on any image to enlarge)

Redwing, Clifton Marsh (click any image to enlarge)
Test flight shot, Black-headed Gull
Female Tufted Duck, test aperture and speed
Great Spotted Woodpecker – cos I like it
Checking online reproduction, 
Fieldfare, Fairhaven
Fieldfare, Fairhaven
Mistle Thrush, Clifton

Osyter Catchers at roost (click to enlarge)

Roe Deer – Lytham Moss!

Whooper Swans, Lytham Moss