Broad-Bodied Chaser

Broad-Bodied Chaser
Wing Mosaic (Broad-bodied Chaser): Winner, Nikon In-Frame Competition August 2010

Spoonbill

Spoonbill
Spoonbill: Birdguides Photo of the Year 2012 Runner-up

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Rutland Ospreys - Catch Them While You Can

There is a fantastic web cam on the nest of the breeding pair of Ospreys in Manton Bay, Rutland Water.  Three chicks have grown quickly over the last few weeks and have become more active, no doubt soon ready to fledge:

http://www.ospreys.org.uk/webcam/

To get an even better experience you have to visit; you can view both adults and three large chicks from two hides at Lyndon Reserve. Great sunny Sunday weather helped, as some terrific views were had of these superb birds. 

The female was waiting on the nest as the male had been gone for nearly three hours.  When it returned, it didn't arrive with a fish.  However, the dissapointment was short-lived. Within minutes it was hovering over the bay and dropped down to pick a fish out of the water and head over to the nest.  At this point all three chicks could be seen well through the scopes, as well as the two adults. The male sat on a nearby post and eventually caught another fish in the bay again dropping it into the nest before heading off with part (a head?) to eat on the post.  Although a little distant, it was possible to get some intersting shots of the action.

Fishing over the bay:



Rising after a successful catch:

 
At the nest:


Other birds in the area included a number of singing Sedge Warblers, and a group of Little Egrets.





Thursday, 16 June 2011

Blackbird In The Dark

Actually caught singing in bright sunlight, I thought this was a nice way to show its beautiful colours.



Friday, 3 June 2011

Dorset - Where Wildlife Comes at a Price

Why are little brown warblers so exciting? I took a chance on seeing the Savi's Warbler which has been singing for several weeks at Lodmoor in Dorset.  Unable to get there for its prime singing times (early morning and evenings) I was expecting a long wait at the very least. With the amount of Reed Warblers in the area, this would have been impossible to identify unless it opened its bill to sing.  It was heard an hour prior to my arrival in late morning, and with only two others on site it didn't look good.  After an hour of listening it came out of nowhere, the distinctive reeling, and within a few seconds we had it located relatively close and low down in a thin strip of reeds.  The song was brief, only 30 seconds twice, but I managed to see it in full flow.  Its appearance was almost as short, it dropped down into some long grass and was gone; it didn't appear again in the next hour.

This could be the worst photo ever (spot the LBJ):


I was in Dorset for a visit to Brownsea Island, which I suspect wins the award for the 'most expensive nature reserve in the world'.  Whilst I have never begrudged paying to get into reserves, this was somewhat ridiculous - the cost for two adults and a child:
£10.50 - Parking at Sandbanks for the Day
£15.50 - Boat to Brownsea
£15.50 - National Trust Entrance to the Island
ok I could cope with that.. then...
£4.00 to enter the part of the island managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Total Cost - £45.50 (excluding £15 on a modest lunch from the cafe).

The poor bloke at the entrance got a bit of an earful of my whinge.  But come on DWT- sort it out, why can't the NT manage that part of the island too?  They seem to be taking a great deal more in entrance fees. No wonder there was hardly anyone in the Nature Reserve area, at least the additional charge some benefit. Clearly the recession went straight down the M3 and didn't get as far as Dorset!

Having got over the financial strain, I managed to spend a little time in the hide photographing the terrific Sandwich and Common terns nesting on the islands. 







A nice end to the day was one of the islands Red Squirrels running across the path and straight up a pine tree: