Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Fire and Gold

This morning I looked out of my window and heard a call similar to a Goldcrest, I started imagining a Firecrest as the call reminded me of the one last year, when I notice something in the Laurel tree to the left outside my window, and it was a Firecrest! It went round to the other side, near the back door, so I rushed downstairs.  The tiny little bird was still there and I managed to snap some shots.

                                              Is that a coloured ring or just his leg?

He then went back to the other-side of the Laurel, so I went back upstairs and frustratinly he was perched on a twig really close to the back door, if only I had held my ground.
                                           If only I had been down there 

So, I went back down stairs and got some super close but obscured shots of it before it went up into the bush it was in last year, and then dssapeared.

I also got close views of a Goldcrest.  But unlike the Firecrest he didn't allow much opportunity for photographs.

Monday, 29 October 2012

5 Reasons Why I Like Our Garage Roof...

Reason 1: It gathers water so birds come there to drink.
Reason 2: Theres a window which gives good close views.
Reason 3: It has got me some Garden ticks like Herring Gull and Black-headed Gull, both birds that    
                wouldn't come down in the garden.
Reason 4: It is large enough for loads of birds, there were over seven birds on it the other day.
And Reason 5: This morning I got another Garden Tick, a Pied Wagtail

It's my Brothers birthday today, so while he's in little chance of bird photography.  At least we're having Moc-Rasher Sandwiches for breakfast, which are going too be amazing.

                                             Scandinavian Blackbird?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Winters a' Coming

Outside my window here in Sussex flocks of wee birds come most mornings.  Yesterday a Goldcrest was among them!  Usually it's Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits.  And on our garage roof, from a different window, there is almost always Blackbirds, just two days ago there were five! Along with 3 Chaffinches, a Wood pigeon and a Robin.  All had the same thought in mind (except the Robin), Water, they all needed to drink and bathe.

                                                      Fluffy Long-tailed Tit.
Also a couple of days ago two House Sparrows came outside my window, a male and female, and the female (or hen) had a tiny white feather in her beak! This is the first record in my back garden, I have seen them in my front garden once as well.  Oddly House Sparrows are always in a hedge a few roads up, yet they are rare visitors here, even the Firecrest has visited about twice (last year), and hopefully this November he will come back!

Underneath my window there is a little roof were our house sticks out, on this I placed some Black Sunflower seeds.  A Squirrel has been eating these and yesterday I spent about twenty minutes leaning out my window trying to get a decent picture, and I think I succeeded.

                                                         What 'choo want?

Yesterday I was on the beach for a few minutes and managed to find a Gull, which I believe to be a juvenile Herring Gull, that was ringed!

Later this afternoon I will be going up to London, and beforehand I may go up to the Golf-course.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


At the Park this morning, at about nine, I managed to pick up Valentino the Med Gull!  I attempted some pictures but they were all blurry and then he took off.  Moving around the lake I managed to pick him up again by his heavier posture than the Black-headed Gulls, and his heavier and blood-red bill.  I managed to digiscope some record shots, nothing spectacular.

Quick digiscoped video

                                                A painting I did

Friday, 19 October 2012

Triple Ticks!

Yesterday I went to Abberton Reservoir to put my new scope to the test in the field.  My uncle Iain decided to come too, as well as my Father and  myself.  Abberton is not far from Mersey so it took just less than an hour to get there.  Recently they had opened a new visitor centre.  It was a brilliant centre, with Scopes and Bino's which you could use through their windows.  On the way to the "Soper" hide I heard and saw Skylarks and a large flock of Goldfinches,


The reservoir was huge! And from the hide you got a view of one of the islands.  There was a scope set up for you to use in this hide too, and through it my father managed to pick up a Kestrel on the other side of the reservoir.  It was so far away that it was impossible to see with the naked eye.  There were also a couple of Great-crested Grebe, and I picked up a flock of Lapwing in flight, as well as the first Widgeon I've seen this autumn.

On the path to the second hide I spotted a Linnet.  In that hide we saw about sixty Cormorants on one island and Skylark were flying about outside the hide before disappearing into the grass.  We left that hide and carried on along the path in search of the next hide.  I decided, for some unknown but fortunate reason, to take a picture of a distant swan.  Zooming in on the image I saw it was a Whooper!
The first I have ever knowingly seen

Whooper Swan
As we were walking through the grass land path with plantations on either side, Iain pointed up the path at some things running away.  Quickly I got my scope on them and had about half a second viewing what was almost definitely a convoy of Grey Partridge!  Second Life tick of the day.

Briefly we visited the Soper hide again and I managed to see two flocks of Golden Plover!

We had been advised to visit a causeway to see Pintails, and this we did.  There were loads of domestic ducks, most probably escapes.  There were plenty of wild birds around, Shoveller, Teal, Pied Wagtail and on a fairly distant island were some sleeping Pintails!  My third tick of the day!

                                                     Sleepy and distant Pintails

Earlier today I wrote down my bird list, and I found out I have now seen 122 species!  Next goal 130 by new year!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

No Med.

I came up to London from Brighton in the afternoon.  On the train journey I had yet again seen a Buzzard.

My new scope (which is hugely better than my old one) has an eyepiece too wide for me to make an adapter for digiscoping, so I ordered the Universal digiscoping adapter.  My Father had picked it up from the sorting office earlier, so what with reports of "Valentino" the Mediterranean Gull in the park for his 13th winter at the park, we headed out on a mission to see him.  We arrived, and to make it really "easy" to find him there were hundreds of Gulls everywhere.  On the lake where 4+ lesser Black-backed Gull, 2=Common Gull and 200+ Black-headed Gulls.  I scanned all over but no sign!  A full circuit of the "Boating Lake", plus loads of scanning still didn't produce the Med Gull.

Last Sunday the 14th, I was looking out my window in Brighton, when I noticed a Buzzard circling above.  A couple of minutes later a Kestrel flew in and mobbed it!  I still can't upload pictures to the internet from Brighton, so I won't be able to post the pics.

                                           Digiscoped Goldfinch

Friday, 12 October 2012

Tower 42

This morning my father and I were up and out by just gone seven, and were at the base of Tower 42 before eight.  As I had been in contact with David Lindo he had put us on the mailing list, so today we went along to the study group.  After everyone had arrived we set off up the building.  At the top of the tower you get a fantastic view of almost the whole of London.  Almost immediately a Sparrowhawk flew over and disappeared into the cloud cover, which there was a lot of, almost the whole sky was uniformly grey.  As the day progressed the clouds began to clear and the sun came out.  The wind was chill and my hands had frozen stiff.  We saw little except a few birds which were apparently Siskin!  Nonetheless it was an enjoyable way to spend the morning.

                                      Avid birders, My Father, David Lindo, Rob and Peter

                                          The South-West view

Back home in the afternoon we went to the post office as I'd ordered a scope (Acuter ST16-48x65A) and it had turned up while we were out.  When we were back I carefully opened the parcel, and  put the scope together.  There was a Goldfinch on the feeder, I had a look through the scope and was surprised how bright and clear the image was, I went up to 48x and although the image got darker, it was mightily impressive compared to my old 20x Clubman.  Using my Fathers Samsung TZ camera (okay other than my mothers the camera I use for Wildlife photograohy is also his) I attempted some handheld digiscoping, the results were great compared to the old one.

Just after four we went to the park to test it out, and go shopping.  I saw Little Grebe, Common Gull, Chaffinch a Crow mobbing a Sparrowhawk and Jay.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

2 B.O.Ps

This morning at my Grandmother Amy's I saw a Buzzard!  I had been watching some distant Gulls when I noticed one of the birds was huge and was gliding with few beats as is common with B.O.Ps* so I took some shots to make sure before it went behind the trees.  The bird was too far away and I had a too-slow  shutter-speed, so I didn't get anything good enough to put up. Other birds of interest in and around her garden were: Great-Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Sparrowhawk, as well as all the more common garden-birds.

In the afternoon we popped in to Thorndon for a couple of minutes as we were in the area.  The Nuthatch came down to the feeder for a few seconds after a while before flying off to a branch to break open the nut  It then came down for a good few minutes and I could get so close that the camera wouldn't focus at full zoom.  One day I will get an opportunity like this in good light but today was gloomy and it rained as soon as we left.

Also on the 8th down at Brighton beach I saw my first Gannet in England (as I had only seen them in Ireland previously).

Here's a shot of one St James's Parks pelicans that I took last week.

*Bird of prey

Friday, 5 October 2012

Better "Leyton" Never!

My Father and I went over to Leyton Flats this morning. Walking around the lake we saw: Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot, B-H Gulls and a Great-crested Grebe.  In a bush on the edge of the lake were some Starlings singing!  As we were walking round the other side of the lake I decided to go into the woods.  As we walked in I spotted a Robin and my Father pointed out a bird fly up to a tree, we both suddenly thought of Nuthatch.  A few seconds later it popped out and yep, Nuthatch!  And not just one, but two! They stayed around that tree for a while hanging upside down in typical Nuthatch fashion, then they flew off. A few minutes later a local birder came over and after a while we  managed to point one of the Nuthatches out to him, it was his first here all year!
On the way back a couple of Hirundines flew over.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Mystery Solved!

Back in September at Rainham Marshes I saw some elegant waders on the other side of the lagoon.  I had a feeling that they might have been Greenshank, but couldn't be definite.  Today however I put them on the Birdforum asking what they were, within ten minutes some one said Greenshank,  in just over an hour I got a further two saying Greenshank!  Greenshanks are a life tick for me which helps in my goal of getting 120 befor my birthday in early December, only two to go!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Cafe La Elderberry

I haven't done a post from Sussex for a while as bird numbers have been quiet.  However recently the Elderberries outside my window have been getting attention, mainly in the morning, by Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin, Wood pigeon and the odd Magpie.
It would be brilliant for photography if it wasn't for the fact I had rubbish windows which allow a petty gap for photographs, but this morning a Chiffchaff came right up out side the window and I managed a fairly decent shot, it was a shame that the weather was so bad, meaning that the images are a bit grainy.
They were taken using my Mothers Canon EOS 1100d; and 300mm lens, for once it power of zoom didn't fail it!
Garr! Can't upload any pictures.
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