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Friday, 30 September 2011

Black tern at Fairhaven – Purple patch!

I mentioned in my last posting that sometimes – everything is far from perfect, while here is that example. While looking for the Yellow Wagtails I managed to spot this juvenile Black Tern feeding on an evening hatch over the lake, only there was no light for photography as you can see. However, fortunately Paul Slade was on hand the following day and I include two of his photos (thanks Paul) of what my photos should look like. You'll find more of Paul's photos here.

You may wonder why I bother posting this... so do I really – however, Fairhaven has become a bit of a stomping ground for me over recent years, for a number of reasons I wont bother you with – but in five days I managed Yellow Wagtail, Black Tern and Grey Phalarope – all personal firsts for me. Three Firsts in five days! AT FAIRHAVEN LAKE! I think that says it all, even if there are lousy photos... now THAT is worth a post! (Black tern 08/09, Yellow Wagtail 13/09, Grey Phalarope 13/09)

Monday, 26 September 2011

WAGS – Yellow and not a footballer's girlfriend in sight

Sheltering from the 'hoolie'

Juvenile Pied Wagtail

Two Juvenile Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail – near the tennis courts

Two Juvenile Yellow Wagtail on the bowling green

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail, with Pied Wagtail

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail with Pied Wagtail 
Juvenile Yellow Wagtail

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail

While, quite rightly all the fuss was over the Grey Phalarope at Fairhaven, I had been on site for several days in pursuit of another migrant – the Yellow Wagtail... to no avail. I spent a few days down there, in much variable weather, my memory isn't what it was but one day it was blowing a hoolie. .. and with it 45 degree rain. Then the sun popped out! Regular readers will know, I know nowt and had never realised or thought of the coast as an environment for wagtails of any description. Over the years Lytham and environs have proved happy hunting ground for wagtails.  I tend to have trouble with Pieds, although I can generally recognise the juveniles, but anything after that I haven't a clue... and as for mozzarella and yarrelli, I know one is a cheese!

Anyway because it was blowing a hoolie and lashing it down, even though it doesn't look like it, the wags were taking shelter on the leeward side of the hedge(s)... make a mental note. A dodgy picture illustrating the point... there were loads of wags about. So having parked up near the bowling greens and tennis courts, here's a photo of one of the many juvenile pied wagtails in the car park, again sheltering close to a hedge.

Catching up with the juvenile yellow wagtails was not quite so simple... but perseverance and after a few days I eventually came across the two of them 'loitering' near the car park (hence the photo). They were not, never going to let me or anyone else anywhere near (unlike the grey phalarope!). If anyone came within twenty yards (metres) and they were off. I did catch one napping near the tennis courts, but only after doing 'Cluseau' impressions and hiding from tree to tree, I have know idea what anyone watching must have thought ... I gave up worrying what anyone thinks a long time ago... I believe the padded cells are quite comfortable.

Nevertheless, in the conditions everything was 'disappearing'. However I have a 'nose' for these things... so off to the bowling green (never been before) and of course as soon as I turn the corner a number of wagtails disappeared into the distance. Whoops Betty! I must watch too much tele, because 'I have a cunning plan!' I took myself off into the north west corner of the bowling green and plonked masen down on the next to last bench... and waited... and waited. Of course it was still blowing a hoolie et al, but here surrounded by buildings, fences and hedges, it was reasonably sheltered... and guess who showed up?  A number of Wags, pied and two juvenile yellow. Not only that as I sat on a cold and wet bench... they proceeded to come towards me. The only problem was they ended up in the 'gutter' of the bowling green so I couldn't get any photos until they popped out... and then they were off! 

I managed to grab a couple of photos. Phew... four, five days in the making... 

... and of course there was a certain distraction on the lake. It was in fact a Black Tern I clocked as the sun set, feeding on the evening hatch along with a couple of hundred black headed gulls. I'll stick those on another post so you can see, it isn't always 'perfect', indeed far from it!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Grey Phalarope at Fairhaven FIVE (and last)

You will be pleased to hear I am not planning to post anymore on this subject, but saved the 'art photos' for last... primarily once again because the changing conditions produced different results.

For those who were not able to attend at the time – at one point I was sat on the edge of the lake while this little gem swam underneath my feet... too close to focus! Fading memories already; I guess if I wanted and maybe on a rainy day I will retouch some of the flotsam and out of focus surface gnats from the background, but these are as taken. Enjoy – I, along with many others certainly did.

The frightening thing is, or maybe I'm just a cynic; this creature, even now in 21C had no fear of man. It doesn't bode well! Or perhaps it's reassuring... we haven't managed to make a total horlicks of everything yet.

and fare thee well ...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Grey Phalarope at Fairhaven FOUR!

Sorry if it is the same subject again, but I think you will see why... the changing conditions produced different results and capturing 'the spirit' of the bird and it's natural behaviour resulted in much endeavour. There are two photographs of the bird taking 'evasive action' from a passing Sparrowhawk, not sure I've seen this anywhere else... I"m sure you will figure out which two images.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Grey Phalarope at Fairhaven, THREE!

I know the internet is littered with web sites and blogs of this fabulous encounter, so here are some more of mine for what they are worth... and more to come!

As you can see I am still experimenting with finding the best way to upload sharp images – and failing miserably... we persevere.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Grey Phalarope at Fairhaven Part Two

In actual fact these were taken before the other post... doesn't matter – here are some more images of the visit – it may be sometime before I post again, so two posts in one day!

Mallard for size comparison

Look carefully, Grey Phalarope in the middle – not all sunshine!

'Riding the waves'

my art shot

Surf's up