29 December, 2008

Woodland Walk

Another European Robin image !

A pair of Eurasian Treecreeper fed constantly.

A woodland path - where are the large wandering mixed flocks of
birds one used to see in years gone by ...?

28 December, 2008


A suprise find today, while attempting to locate species for the county Xmas Birdhunt, was a Hawfinch near Woburn Park. The light was grim and the bird was a bit distant - so only record shots !

Oh - another European Robin image !

27 November, 2008


The RBF at Leagrave Marsh remains but kept deeper in to the wood, probably owing to a cooler and keener wind. A Brambling posed briefly in rather difficult lighting.

26 November, 2008

Red-breasted Flycatcher at Leagrave Marsh

The second Red-breasted Flycatcher for Bedfordshire was discovered at Leagrave Marsh by Jon Palmer on Sunday. The bird is frequenting a block of woodland bordering the River Lea - a small oasis of habitat surrounded by estates, tower blocks and factories.

A tasty fly for lunch !

21 November, 2008

Fabulous Firecrest

This male Firecrest was discovered by Geoff Dawes off Derwent Road, Linslade yesterday. Today, after an hour searching, I saw it briefly down to 6ft not that far from the county boundary. Always a nice bird to brighten up those cold, short winter days !


03 November, 2008

Green Heron

One may find it difficult to twitch a mega rarity these days without encountering hordes of other birders seemingly trying to trample one to death. Not today, however, where down in Kent I caught up with a new bird for me - a first winter Green Heron. At one point there was only one other birder ! It was discovered on 25th October on the Royal Military Canal, West Hythe in Kent. It seemed unperturbed by the activities of humans close by. The light was abysmal, with shutter speeds of about 1/80th sec at ISO 800 - thankfully the subject was large, close and very still !

Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron

01 November, 2008

Common Scoter

This female Common Scoter was found at Harrold CP. A record shot, unfortunately, as the light was atrocious with the bird at digiscoping distance. There were three Goldeneye present- my first of the autumn.

Winter plumaged Great-crested Grebe

31 October, 2008

Aylesbury Asio

Berryfields, Ayesbury - it's not in Bedfordshire, but it's bigger, nearer and easier than Knotting Green. Viewed from a layby on the A41, this extensive area is earmarked for thousands of new dwellings - but for now it has two Short-eared Owl, two (or more) Barn Owl, Stonechat, Kestrel and Common Buzzard and has the potential for a harrier ...

Record shots of Short-eared Owl

15 October, 2008


A trip to north Norfolk was an indifferent day, weather wise, with very little avian activity close to the lens. After a short sea-watch at Cley beach we dropped in to the visitors center carpark, from where the Wilson's Phalarope could be distantly seen, but not photographed.
This rare American vagrant occasionally makes its way over to Europe - unlike Alexander Wilson, who first described the bird. He headed in the opposite direction - heading for the New World after leaving his native Scotland.

Over at Titchwell, a few Little Egret could be seen feeding.

A sizeable flock of Bar-tailed Godwit on the freshmarsh.

There were plenty of Red Knot on view.

With winter not far away, groups of Pink-footed Geese could be seen arriving from the North. These birds were feeding near Wells.

10 October, 2008

Raptor Rapture

Slightly less bright today with stronger winds, but as yesterday, keeping with the flight theme. These Common Buzzard took full advantage of the updraughts in the Bison Hill area of Dunstable Downs.
One of these individuals (seen in all three images) looked as if it had swallowed a cricket ball ! I presume it's just a full crop - let me know if you have an alternative theory ...

A Red Kite drifted by and did not show wing tags. It did not hang around - constantly harried by corvids.

By the time i'd noticed him, this juvenile Peregrine had almost got away after a quick interaction with the local Kestrel.

09 October, 2008

Local Patch - 09/10/08: Flight fancies

Some reasonable light this morning, and a chance to practice (non-too successfully) tripod work with birds in flight.

Two Shoveler show off their underwings.

A Black-headed Gull, now in winter plumage, hunts for scraps over the lagoons.

Another Black-headed Gull (this one a 1st-winter plumaged bird) spots a UFO on the horizon

A Common Buzzard lowers its under-carriage

08 October, 2008

Great Grey Shrike, Bucks

The discovery of a 1st-winter Great Grey Shrike twenty minutes from home was enough to draw me out of the county in to the Ivinghoe hills, Buckinghamshire. It showed very well at times in the autumn sunshine, but disaster happened when the cameras CF card became full just as it caught a shrew-type-thingy. Ho-hum ...
This bird was very actively hunting - it chased and failed to catch a Blue Tit.

02 October, 2008

Spotted Crake

Another first rate find by John Lynch - an adult Spotted Crake was present on the wader scrape at Dunstable STW from 8th-24th September.

Spotted Crake

This was the 6th post-war record for Bedfordshire and the 3rd record for DSTW, the other two were:

One present 11th-13th August, 1975; [The Birds of Bedfordshire (Trodd/Kramer)]
One well watched bird 12th-19th August, 1995 (Paul Trodd et al); [The Bedfordshire Naturalist 1995, 50 (part 2)]

27 September, 2008

Local Patch

After a foggy start the sun came out and it only remained for the birds to sit still in front of the camera. Well, that rarely happens to me, but a Wren did sit still long enough for a couple of quick shots.

The Kingfisher post lived up to its name.

A local Common Buzzard drifted over. The Honey Buzzard invasion failed to materialize here !

Cormorant numbers have been increasing lately - up to 18. I prefer them to fishermen ...

22 September, 2008

Pegsdon & Deacon Hill

This juvenile Common Buzzard was lingering behind the Deacon Hill summit, but drifted away quickly when it saw the camera !

A few birders have been participating in a 'vismig' vigil at various high spots around the county. Currently, there are plenty of Meadow Pipit migrating south - these are best seen in the first two hours after sunrise. This individual was part of a flock feeding locally.

17 September, 2008

Norfolk Migrants

After a number of days of easterly winds, the east coast had good numbers of migrant warblers, chats and the odd rarity. Early rain showers put paid to photography at Waxham, and anyhow, the reported Semi-collared Flycatcher was not showing.

A few miles south at Winterton dunes, the light improved and it was fairly easy to get close to the birds by sitting down in the scrub and waiting. A male and female Common Redstart fed to within twenty feet.

Common Redstart

Common Redstart

This Pied Flycatcher was content to sit in the open.

Pied Flycatcher

The Wryneck was a no-show, and the Red-backed Shrike preferred its appreciative audience to keep to a respectful distance.

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike