31 March, 2007

Red-rumped Swallow at Brogborough Lake

Found late yesterday evening - Red-rumped Swallow. The cloudy start to the day gave low light levels. Eventually the sun came out, but by then the bird was ranging further, and higher. If accepted, it will be the third record for Bedfordshire.

Red-rumped Swallow

Red-rumped Swallow

26 March, 2007

Dunstable STW: Migrants at last

A Clear night to the south with fog locally - could we see some migrants ? Well, once the fog had cleared three Sand Martin flew through and a pair of Little-ringed Plover appeared. Residents included an obliging Kingfisher which posed briefly, and the 'plastic' pair of Whooper Swan took time out to preen.

21 March, 2007

Iceland Gull at Stewartby Lake

There was no sign of a reported Kumlien's Gull, but I did find this 1st summer Iceland Gull. It appeared very pale/bleached on the water in the bright spring sunshine. The bill base was pale with the distal third dark. An adult was seen earlier too, so possibly three Icelands today.

Iceland Gull

12 March, 2007

Atlas Work

Next year sees the start of the 3rd national breeding atlas project run by the British Trust for Ornithology. As a county, Bedfordshire are starting a year earlier. Familiar to many folk, the Blue Tit should be easy to mark down as a confirmed breeder.

Two Eurasian Treecreeper were very active chasing one another around old 'crack' Willows in the water meadow. Four 'adaptations' can be seen on this bird. A long, decurved bill to get food from bark crevices, long claws help negotiate the surfaces on the tree, a stiff tail used for support and balance, and camouflage - dark above for predator defence and pale beneath while looking for prey.

Typical this time of year- one female Mallard with an entourage of attending males.

11 March, 2007

Sunday Best

In the south of the county, Raven, yet again, avoided the camera. Luckily, Little Owl, Common Buzzard and Red Kite were on show.

Red Kite

Common Buzzard

Little Owl

Whilst counting Common Buzzard at Potsgrove nine Chinese Water Deer were warily crossing a field, and almost went unnoticed.

Chinese Water Deer

Chinese Water Deer

08 March, 2007

Norfolk, 8th March 2007

Spring has truely arrived with the Sun, at last, getting higher as each day passes. The Barn Owl is one of those birds which never ceases to thrill. This one was hunting over Dersingham Bog.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

A diversion to Grimes Graves in the Brecks to see a Great-grey Shrike. The £2.70 addmission fee to this English Heritage site was a shock to the system though. However, for our money, we did go down one of the neolithic flint mines - which was nice. There were a few Woodlark singing over the clear-fell areas whilst skylark could be heard over the more open grasslands. No prize-winning image here as the bird would not allow close approach.

Great-grey Shrike

07 March, 2007

Dunstable STW: Wildfowl 'n Waders

This pair of Whooper Swan are, unfortunately, the progeny of Wardown Park captive/pinioned stock.

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

The first Green Sandpiper of the year has been present for a week or so. Here, the bird is showing off its leg-iron.

Green Sandpiper

A menage a trois. If they were rare, genuine vagrants would I, perhaps, get enthusiastic about the Canada Goose ?

Canada Goose

Smart wildfowl in the form of Gadwall


03 March, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

This shot shows an early stage of a total Lunar eclipse. The shadow creeping up from the bottom of the image is caused by the Earth moving between the Sun and Moon. The really interesting bit was much later when the Moon was lit only by refracted light through the Earth's atmosphere, giving it a coppery-red hue - but I was heading for bed by then !

Image Detail:

Time 22:03
1/60th sec @f11
Focal Length: c.546mm
RAW /Tripod / mirror lock-up