28 August, 2011

Grey Wagtail

At Sandhouse Lane NR a Grey Wagtail was taking advantage of some exposed mud to feed on larvae and other invertebrates, then preening those all important feathers. The light level was quite low down in this old pit, so a tripod was utilized and the camera ISO was set at 500. Wagtails pump their tails up and down, so no chance of long exposures to compensate for the low light.
Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail

06 June, 2011

Kos Part 2: 06/05/2011

The wind generally increased in the late afternoons and was, as previously stated, from a northerly quarter, and when viewing from the north-east end of  the 'alikes' the terns were feeding towards the observer straight in to the wind but with the sun more or less behind the birds. This proved a photographic challenge, but the results were pleasing. A small number of Black Tern would feed by gradually moving forward dipping on the surface of the lake until finally the would turn back and start over again. They did this numerous times seemingly unaware of  the camera.

Black Tern




15 May, 2011

Kos Part 2: 06/05/2011

Pre-breakfast visits to the saltpan always produced a good variety of waders.

Little Stint

The were at least three pairs of Ruddy Shelduck with chicks.

Ruddy Shelduck

We could not work out the access to the Psalidi wetlands, even though they were plainly visible from the road leading out of Kos town. This was to prove fortuitous as we then came across an Eleonora's Falcon, somewhat distantly, as it quartered the foothills with magnificent ease!

Eleonora's Falcon

We followed the coast road around the north of the island, and thus with the steep mountains climbibg to our left. The paved road suddenly finishes and we cannot travel further. Here were a further four Eleonora's Falcon, wheaters, buntings and a Blue Rock Thrush. The Aegean sea really is that blue !

Blue Rock Thrush

Eleonora's Falcon

Eleonora's Falcon

The wind generally increased in the late afternoons and was, as previously stated, from a northerly quarter, and when viewing from the north-east end of  the 'alikes' the terns were feeding towards the observer straight in to the wind but with the sun more or less behind the birds. This proved a photographic challenge, but the results were pleasing. A small number of Black Tern would feed by gradually moving forward dipping on the surface of the lake until finally they would turn back and start over again. They did this numerous times seemingly unaware of  the camera.

Black Tern

Black Tern

Black Tern


Local Patch: Ring-necked/ Tufted Duck Hybrid

A hybrid Ring-necked/Tufted Duck was discovered by PM on his WEBS count today. The enlarged (rather poor) images indicate an obvious tuft, white nail on bill and greyish-white band around face. The flank is grey, but is surrounded by a white border and thhe head is purple-greenish depending on angle.


Ring-necked/Tufted Duck
Hybrid


Ring-necked/Tufted Duck
Hybrid

14 May, 2011

Kos Part 1: 05/05/2011

We chose Kos as a birding holiday destination not because it would provide many new birds for us (in the event there were none), but to get away from the 'zoo' that places such as Lesvos have become. There was rather scant information about the islands' avifauna on the internet, but enough to know what to expect, that is, rather similar to Lesvos in fact.

We based ourselves in Tigaki which is convenient for the saltpan (alikes) but which now is a nature reserve, and is one of only four areas of water we knew about (one of which we never did find !). A car was hired for the week (the salesperson was an Englishman from St. Neots !) which allowed exploration of the island.

The weather was, in the main, perfect for our needs. Daytime temperature maxima were mid-twenties, humidity was low, but the wind was generally from the north and on one day, at least, was very windy indeed gusting to 60 kph.


Greater Flamingo
Tigaki Saltpan

Greater Flamingo
Tigaki Saltpan

The lake is a few hundred metres in from the beach, and the turnover of migrants here became obvious as the week wore on. A Tree Pipit was flushed in the scrub on the seaward side of the lake.

Tree Pipit
Tigaki Saltpan

Driving in to the foothills of the Dikaios mountain range we stopped and soon heard a singing Cretzschmar's Bunting - a common enough bird in the appropriate habitat.

Cretzschmar's Bunting
Below, a rather dark Long-legged Buzzard was chased away by a Hooded Crow - the latter being very common. These dark forms usually show a dark terminal band on the tail. This individual shows moult in progress and the tarsi are unfeathered.

Long-legged Buzzard
dark-rufous form

Long-legged Buzzard
dark-rufous form
Further in to the hills another Long-legged Buzzard passed by - this time a pale form. These can be confused with the eastern form of Common Buzzard ('Steppe' Buzzard) - the latter usually shows a dark terminal tail band, dark carpel patches on the upper wing,and are structurally shorter winged.


Long-legged Buzzard
rufous form

Up in the foothills 'scratchy' bird song seemed to emanate from every bush - mainly Sardinian Warbler, but also Olivaceous and Subalpine Warblers.

Sardinian Warbler
Mt Dikaios foothills




28 April, 2011

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

26 April, 2011

Waxwings, Sandhouse Lane

Gwd's Waxwings of yesterday were still around Sandhouse Lane. They were difficult to count, but around 70-100 birds. Nice to see them on trees with foliage for a change! They fed on a cherry tree and a large patch of Ivy on a Scots Pine.




13 April, 2011

Local Patch: Firecrest - a site first






A long expected find by John Lynch - a singing male Firecrest. The sun had all but gone as the cloud and wind increased, the now emergent foliage meant focusing manually. None-the-less - a super find by John.

04 April, 2011

Local Patch - 04/04/11

A singing Willow Warbler and Wren (taken behind glass), plus a fly-over Peregrine.






02 April, 2011

Pied Flycatcher




Bob Chalkley discovered a fine male Pied Flycatcher at Blows Downs, Dunstable today. It was often elusive and mobile, eventually, in the late afternoon Sun, it settled down feeding from the paddock slope hedge-line enabling a few images.

11 January, 2011

Little Owl & Yellowhammer

At a traditional site near home, this Little Owl was sat on a log pile close to some old crack willows.






Two of a group of five Yellowhammer that fed unperturbed close the car.



08 January, 2011

County Birding

The local patch continues to throw up suprises - this time a Greater Flamingo. Sporting a blue and white leg ring, this bird's origins was soon discovered to be Marwell Zoological Park in Hampshire. They differ from the only other old world flamingo by a less  extensive black bill. The oldest known bird is in Adelaide Zoo, Australia, and is at least 77 years old !
Here's a slightly better shot of Greater Flamingo taken in May, 2006 on Lesvos.



Earlier, at Radwell, I was pleased to find 6 Bewick's Swan and a pair of Curlew.


Elsewhere, RAN's Slavonian Grebe could not be relocated at Stewartby, but a Sparrowhawk and three Scaup were seen. At Wixams development fields only the late comers saw a Short-eared Owl, 2 visits earlier in the day were slim pickin's, but a pair of Stonechat were notable, as were two Peregrine Falcon seen together. Three seperate flocks of Lapwing were seen today, and the Leighton Buzzard Starling flock numbered (very roughly) two thousand.