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)]