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

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Waxwing Returns!

Following the huge influx of Waxwings from Scandanavia during the autumn of 2012, this individual was part of a large flock in Sheffield.  After being disturbed on a busy road it flew straight into the window of an adjacent house.  I took the bird, and after spending the summer in the deep freeze, it is back to something of its former glory.

It has been superbly mounted by talented taxidermist Derek Frampton of Hertfordshire; a nice memory of several sightings of these great birds during last winter.



 








Thursday, 24 October 2013

Osprey at Stocker's Lake

I found this Osprey at Stocker's Lake, Herts, on the 21st October when it flew from behind a line of trees near the causeway.  I could make out a large raptor through the foliage.  Expecting a Red Kite to appear, it was a big surprise to see an Osprey emerge, pursued by a number of corvids. 

I managed to get the camera up in time to get a few shots before it went out of site quickly. I then picked it up some distance away towards Springwell Lake.  I believe it then headed to Maple Lodge where it has been present for a few days.




 



A big crop of the bird in the distance shows it has a large circular chunk missing from its primaries, possibly the result of gunshot, although it doesn't seem to be impeding its flight.





Monday, 21 October 2013

Isles of Scilly

At the beginning of October I spent four (and a half) days on the Isles of Scilly.

After an overnight train from London to Penzance, it was straight onto the Scillonian for a bumpy three hours to St Mary's. 

Not the Scillonian:




It didn't take long before the wildlife appeared.  The main surprise was the number of Common Dolphins - they were everywhere.  I must have seen around 100 over the crossing.

Unfortunately they are almost impossible to photograph, only breaking the waves for a milli-second, and never appearing in the same place twice - whilst I was trying to remain upright on the deck of the boat.  I got lucky with this one which was performing some kind of belly-flop:




Apart from a lone Balearic Shearwater, the only birds seen were hundreds of Gannets:




Once on St. Mary's, the first encounter was with a Death's Head Hawkmoth, nonchalantly pulled from a fridge in the Dairy Cafe (and due to be released later).  The first time I had seen one of these fantastic moths:



One of hundreds of migrant Wheatears on St.Mary's:




A Purple Heron at Lower Moors:



and Red-spotted Bluethroat:





A Whimbrel which fed on Old Town Beach for a few days:
 





A day on beautiful St. Agnes:



Juvenile Rose-coloured Starling - this sprang out of a bush in front of me whilst I sat eating lunch:




Back to St.Mary's, at Dawn:

 
 
Pebble sculptures:





Maybe next year:





Over on Tresco, the House Sparrows at The New Inn were very friendly!




Spotted Flycather on Tresco:
 
 
 
St. Martin's viewed from the east of Tresco:
 

 
 
 
 
This distant Short-toed Lark spent an afternoon by the airfield runway on St. Mary's:
 
 
 
 
 
An interesting journey back started when mist at Land's End meant all flights off Scilly were cancelled for the day.  After hanging around the airport for a while, we managed to get a dozen volunteers to charter a jet boat back to Penzance.  There was quite a swell so it was an interesting two hours, although it wasn't raining so it could have been worse!
 
The view from my seat on the boat!
 

 
 
Only two Shearwaters were seen, but relatively close and these Belearic's and some very close Common Dolphins ended the holiday nicely:
 
 
 
 
 



 
 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Norfolk Waders

Back in Norfolk....

A few images from two visits to Norfolk in August and September:

Black-tailed Godwit:

 
 
 

 
 
Curlew Sandpipers:

 
 

 
 
 
The bigger brother, Curlew:

 
 
Male Ruff:
 
 
 
 
A bird I almost stood on, nearly invisible on the shingle, when trecking down Blakeney Point, Purple Sandpiper






Winter and near summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank at Titchwell:
 



Bar-tailed Godwit:

 


 
 
 
Oystercather, with Razor Clam:

 
 
Little Egret taking flight at Titchwell:

 
 
Knot at Snettisham: