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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Chiffchaff and Grey Wagtail

No apologies for repeat performance, I once again spent an hour looking for the Grey Wagtails and managed a brief glimpse of a Chiffchaff. The images do not reflect the urban location or detritus about the site so I have included an image that does reflect the crap we throw in our waterways. For those non-birders the male wagtail is the one with the black bib, afterall you have to spill your tea somewhere huh?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Grey is the colour...

I thought I'd go mad again and dispense with the layout and make the pictures bigger. This is a site I know very well and visit sometimes two or three times a day, depending on the time of year etc... this is one of those times. Male and Female Grey Wagtail have used up all my lunch breaks! But I don't care, lovely birds, although she's looking a bit rough around the edges. I like to try and include the odd 'flight' image and the last one herein just reminded me of one of those mad Mexican Wrestlers that wear face masks...

Overlooked and a Peacock

I have been meaning to upload some 'common' birds for sometime, the ones all around us that we so readily overlook, so here is a male chaffinch and three variations on the theme of a greenfinch. Over at Newton Marsh the Buzzard was still doing its thing, a male Reed Bunting checking it's territory while the count of Shelduck had increased to 68.

Male Chaffinch
I think this may be a young female Greenfinch

I think this may be a young male Greenfinch

Male Greenfinch

A few of the 68 Shelduck
First Peacock of the season but I have not been looking very hard

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunny Sundays!

Weekends are not my favourite days of the week for getting out and about but sometimes you just have to make journeys. I thought you, dear reader might like to see the beach at Knott End on a sunny Sunday. While on the way home I clocked these three hares, two were passing through and I'm guessing a male following a female while the one at the back ('said everone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz') captured my attention. Just as well, a Buzzard appeared out of the hedgerow and flew some twenty yards away from the hare upon a kill  (I don't do metric). Regular readers will have seen my earlier posts about Buzzard and Hare and here again I was witnessing the same scene as the hare ran towards the Buzzard – better the devil you know I assume. Meanwhile back at Newton Marsh I counted 52 Shelduck attracted by the farmer planting his crops and my friendly Buzzard that I have been following for some time was on scene and once again appeared to be feeding on frogs/toads. The last image isn't going to win any photographic prizes does appear to show a frog in its right talon.

Knott End beach, Fleetwood in the distance. I'm saying nowt!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Newton Marsh

With the clocks changing et al, it has been easier to find a few quieter moments. The Wigeon appear to have moved on, the lapwing setting out their territories and a pair of Reed Buntings getting together, otherwise as always, a bit quiet...

Grey Partridge

Grey Partridge

Lonesome male Teal at sunset

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

First Chiffchaff

He's back... the first Chiffchaff at Ribble Link for me today, high up singing, setting out territory, another singing in the distance. Not a very good photo but you should see the others. Hours of fun ahead, I can envisage.. best do it before the leaves are on the trees. Small Tortoiseshell too. Off to Manchester...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Two shades of grey

A few photos from out and about. As you will see for every decent photo, there are an awful lot that aren't so good. These are primarily a record of what I've forgotten. A brief walk at the Ribble Link/Savick Park turned up a Grey Wagtail. Early morning at Newton Marsh, before the wagons arrived, despite the whole country being bathed in sunlight, it was cloudy, overcast and very low light levels (and I certainly hadn't compensated accordingly) produced five Grey Partridge, a pair that decided some grit would help their digestion along with a brief dust bath, a male Reed Bunting, the usual Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, a few Teal, Shelduck, about 200 Wigeon, a number of Redshank fighting and running around like demented clock-work orange legs, a dozen or so Lapwing doing their aerial display and chasing off the opponents, 4 Canada Geese, two pairs which I think are probably visitors from Fairhaven who show up on the marsh at this time of year but breed elsewhere. A single Curlew flew in. One or two pair of Oystercatchers. A male Wigeon had lost his mate and was whistling across the marsh, whereupon finding each other again they decided to consumate their relationship. No smoking but a round of applause! And finally the sun came out again and I caught the Great Spotted Woodpecker sneaking around the tree as usual.

There are always a number of Gulls down there, at least one pair of Herring Gulls, along with Lesser Black Backed and a Greater Black Backed Gull with the usual flock of Black-Headed Gulls (depends on the tide times), along with a flock of Starling. Out in the middle there may be others, but beyond my sight capabilities.

Grey Wagtail
Grey Partridge (male)
Grey Partridge, male and female – a quick dust bath
Canada Geese (a pair)
Two headed Wigeon
Well I'm happy

So am I

Lapwing defending their territory

Spooked from their feeding ground

The sun came out again! Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

Friday, 18 March 2011

A Buzzard story

'Let me tell you a storwie...' in the words of the comedian Frankie Howard, in reality a continuation of where I left off last time; that is regular readers will know was about the Buzzard and the Hare. Well I'm not sure but perhaps this story is about the Buzzard and the Frog (which didn't turn into a Prince). I've been watching this Buzzard for some time and was surprised it was happy to get its feet wet, as I found it in this wet patch of ground, (for a second time) hence the poor photo for evidence ... just to back up the story, (lousy pictures at distance, shooting into the sun etc). Flying from wet ground to a view point, whereupon it again flew down into other wet ground and made a kill. That is landing feet first upon the poor individual, grabbed with the feet, disesected by the beak.  I am assumng it was a frog (wet ground) as it spent five minutes taking it apart and eating whatever it had caught before returning to a vantage point. The images, tell the story. I was quite happy to get the backlit photos before ending with one leaving a perch where the sun was on my side for a change!

Wet feet
On a kill

Time to eat

Up n away

low across the field

Archetypal 'the eagle hs landed'

What else can I see?

Time for a change

Low level shadow

on me way

out of a tree

It is difficult to reconcile a paddling Buzzard who gets his feet wet and sits for hours stalking the odd frog with the merciless killer of lambs and game birds that others would have us believe – I'm not saying they don't, I've just never seen it and while most of my sightings of Buzzards have been of them circling at great heights (I would have thought a lamb/pheasant was pretty easy to spot), I have also had numerous encounters with Buzzard simply hopping around the ground, flying low and dropping out of trees on small mamals and inverterbrae as these photos demonstrate (and once a Buzzard feeding in a field of Lapwing and Golden Plover in Islip, Oxfordshire, not one batting an eyelid). No doubt they feed on carrion, but killing a full size hare (see previous) or a live and kicking lamb, I have never seen. Just a thought.