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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pallas's Warbler

Well this little fella is certainly a long way from home.

My second task is to express a very big thank you to Chris Batty, not only for finding it, spreading the word but allowing access to this little beauty.

The simplest thing to say is it wasn't easy to see and only briefly popped into view, but what a view.

Not great images but I have attempted to show the plumage best I can from what I have, especially the three yellow head stripes and two yellow wing stripes.

I am certainly tempted to take a days holiday for another viewing, what's the weather forecast (it was totally wrong today).

I understand only two previous recorded on the Fylde... has to be worth another visit (I'm convincing myself, I'm convincing myself....)

illustrative of the difficulties

Saturday, 13 October 2012

EEeee Gads Gordon

More Gadwall, self explanatory really, opportunity to compare the two males and the female; to compare, to compare (clever advertising that, even I can't stop myself from doing it! Yuk! BUT I refuse to use them on principle for that reason, so it IS counter-productive).

Oh and as I have said before dear reader, while I am more than pleased to share; this is also a selfish blog so I can keep a track of my images and when and where. I can't remember what I had for breakast (have I had breakfast?) let alone images I took one day many moons ago (howwwllll) and this blog is a useful reference for images taken and when. As proved to be the case this very week when I needed to find an image taken in July 2011 (but I didn't know that then) and the most efficient way of finding it was on this blog. I know what I'm rabbiting on about, don't worry, I'll go and lie down now. Photos taken about a week ago (so I can find them!).

Thursday, 11 October 2012

EEeee Gads!

I have spent any spare minute keeping an eye on three Gadwall down at Newton Marsh – a species you don't see hereabouts that often. They are nervous and easily disturbed and keep their distance. The every present procession of waste wagons to Clifton Tip and worst of all when they pull up for a fag break, kick their tyres and undertake other bodily functions keeps the birds well away from the roadside pools. As a SSSI and all that it makes you wonder what these designations really mean (as in the case of the Biological Heritage Site (BHS) that was Cottam Brickworks, itself a misnomer as it is Ingol, [Ingol Brickworks} one of the rare site of Orchids now to be a bright shiny new Tesco, just what we all need at that location – and designed by the firm I used to work for... hmmmnnn. I feel a howl coming on).

I started off with two Gadwall a male and a female one evening when the light wasn't very good and having spent the dark hours howling at the moon I returned early the next morning as the sun rose. Spooky indeed, but I managed a few photographs. I have been back every day since (until recently) and I'm not sure I obtained any better images than that first morning... but it will generate more than one post. Sorry.

There are (were) a pair of Gadwall a male and a female, then a third, another male appeared. The male of the pair appears to be dominant as the pair sometimes 'chase off' the second male. I'm guessing this a juvenile (help from someone who knows the species better please) but he has the most striking plumage, more readily seen than that of the male in the pair.

All the images are of just three birds, dominant male, female and another 'flash' male. As always you can see the light makes a big difference and so many images of the same birds to show the variation in plumage.

I hope they stay a lot longer as they are great to study, but I fear human interference will see them on their way before too long, if not already – they can be difficult to find sometimes, indeed not seen at all.

And to all of you who have been good enough to leave comments, I am not sure how or where to thank you, so I am doing it here (I don't think people return to 'comment' when they have left a comment) THANK YOU, one and all – it is much appreciated even if I haven't responded individually to you.

a pair

same pair


same female, t'other side

dominant male

like a game of brag this... same pair

dominant male, t'other side
the female of the pair

the other male I have taken to calling 'Gordon'

wing markings

as in Flash Gordon!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rubbish to a masterpiece in sixty seconds

You know how it is, you spend hours 'birding' and see nowt and after a lengthy (rubbish) session I was sat in the car just packing up to depart when something caught my attention to my right. Glancing over, this rascal was sat in a tree about twenty feet away having just flown in. Slowly bringing the camera to bear – he just sat there! I wasn't going to miss this opportunity, so another post on one subject! 

Juvenile Sparrowhawk for the one reader who isn't a birder based in the uk. So close was he I had trouble getting all of him in the frame, I did just manage it by turning the camera around ninety degrees to portrait. He is going to have to learn not to hang around so long in one spot! or is it a she?

While not quite a masterpiece technically, sat in the dappled sunlight under the tree and perhaps a bit longer than sixty seconds – but turned my day from rubbish to a masterpiece.

this is 'I'm off pose' and sure enough .... away 

It's a nuthatch

At the end of September, the end of that hurricane, Nadine was it called? made a mess of a long established date over the border into tyke country.

However, it had some benefits as I had taken some bird food with me (never travel anywhere without nowadays.... well maybe not) and chucked some out as soon as I arrived in t'middle o nowere at chez nous; only to be shocked with the almost immediate arrival of a Nuthatch. The next two days were spent entertained by this arrival and to top it all it had a friend – two nuthatches, and while they rarely hung around long enough to get any photos, at times they were within twenty feet. Epic.

No apologies, all nuthatch in this post (well how often is it you see one?) the only down side was the weather and the light and while I guess I could make some smart errrrr comment about being over the border, it was better than hereabouts!