Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
No Google Adds here.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Looking back

I guess it’s the time of year to look back; the highs and the lows.

Well, I’ll do it quickly. The lows, would have to be my heart attack. Yea, I think I can safely say that was my lowest point  lol

And the highs? Well, the heart attack was the start of a high spot. 
Once I could get mobile, I lived each day like it was the last. I went out nearly every day, and somewhere new. I saw so many birds I would have normally missed, and visited a lot of places I wouldn’t usually have had time to.

I did slow down a bit eventually, and started to visit my local lake, on an almost daily basis. I knew it pretty well anyway, but I found myself spending so much time there, I was beginning to know it better than my own garden.
I got to know some great people there too. The dog walkers, the joggers, and of course, some of the other birders that I began to see more and more often.
And I started a new blog on 21st August, just about the lake, and what I’d seen; this year.
A total of 96 different species.

And talking of numbers; my total sightings for this year, in the UK, 156.

For 2011, I’ve no idea what’s going to happen. Rumours of redundancy at work, is the biggest thing on the horizon. If that happens, at least I can do more bird watching, and picture taking. Yea, I like that idea.

I might beat the year list, but I might not. I’ll still keep a list, but I ain’t no twitcher, so I don’t expect to bust this years.

Anyway, I put together a 5 minute  video, of some great moments from this year, when I was fortunate enough to have my little video camera with me.

It shows a Nightingale singing, a Grasshopper Warbler warbling, a Heron balancing on a fence, some Swans having fun sliding down a weir, two Great Crested Grebes locked in battle, (they both survived), a baby Blue Tit leaving the nest box for the first time, and a Nightingale singing again.

Hope you enjoy it

And finally I’d like to wish everyone who drops by, good health and good luck for 2011.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Winter sun

A small selection from some recent excursions to my local lake, Caldecotte.

We’ve had a lot of dull days, and plenty of snow, but occasionally a sunrise on a cold winters day, is just too good not to share.

 The morning after Christmas Day; and a great day it turned out to be.

 A female Goldeneye, enjoying some much needed sun.

 A female Goosander, with her beautiful red head, just behind a dozing male Tufted Duck.

 Some wonderfully noisy Canada Geese, as they flew by.

 And in contrast, a silent male Mallard.

And Christmas Day, proved just as good, with the sun shining later in the morning.

 Two beautiful Siskin stopped feeding long enough for a portrait, against a rare blue sky,

 and a Robin, fluffed himself up against the cold, and posed for his portrait.

Aren’t birds just beautiful?

More birds over at WBW

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Day

and what a day!

Started cold, and then the sun came out. It didn’t seem any warmer, but it certainly made it a beautiful morning.

I topped up the car park bridge with seed, then fed the ducks under the road bridge, spotted the Water Rail, and then made my way round the north lake.
Most of it is still frozen, save for a small area at the top end, near the weir. This was packed with Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Mallard and Coot. A few Moorhen wandering across the ice, and lots of Crows and Rooks, flying west to east. The gulls were flying east to west; maybe they should swap food locations, and save some energy.

The pub produced the Crows, and Mallards, that wanted feeding, so after doing that, I made my way round the south lake. No sign of the Bittern today, but at the bottom of the lake, by the railway line, over 50 Siskin kept me amused for over half an hour; an added bonus was an appearance by the sun.

Down by the fancy houses, the unfrozen area seems to have grown. Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mute Swans, Black Swans, Wigeon, Pochard; everything was crammed into the area, and a selection of gulls too. I think everything worth seeing is right here.

Eventually got to the car park bridge, topped up the seed again, and made my way back home. 

What a great Christmas, in great company.

I’ll leave you with a Christmas Robin.

and with YouCrap being an arse on Christmas, a Vimto vid instead.

Christmas Day from holdingmoments on Vimeo.

Full list of today’s sightings

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Goosander (Mergus merganser merganser)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
British Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argenteus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
British Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs gengleri)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total species  44

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

I’d like to wish all my regulars, all my followers, and everyone that drops by,

A Very Merry Christmas

From myself, and my best friend Jim.

And a seasonal tale, that I found amusing.

It was the doctor's last patient consultation of Christmas Eve. A mother came in with her young daughter and asked if he would examine her because she had been showing some strange symptoms, including a significant increase in weight, sickness most mornings and a number of strange cravings.

He checked her out very carefully and eventually told the mother that her daughter was unquestionably pregnant. At which news she protested very strongly.

'Don't be ridiculous, my daughter has never been with a man'

The girl confirmed that this was true and added that she had never so much as kissed a man.

The doctor studied the girl very carefully, then quietly stood up, walked to the window and stared out of it.

Suspecting the worst the mother asked if there was something wrong.

"No, not really" replied the doctor. 'It might just be a coincidence, but the last time this happened a bright star appeared the East.'


Have a good one, where ever you are, and whatever you're doing.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Aythya farina

Or Pochard.

The Common Pochard is a gregarious, stocky diving duck, smaller than a Mallard, and forms large flocks in winter, often mixing with other diving ducks, such as the Tufted Duck, which they are known to hybridise with. The male is pale grey with a rusty red head and neck, a red eye, and a black breast and tail.

The female is brown with a dark head and blotchy cheeks.

In flight, birds show a pale grey wing-stripe

Their diet consists of plants, seeds, snails, small fish and insects.

They nest from early April, to early June, near to ponds with overgrown vegetation. It consists of a heap of aquatic vegetation and plant material, lined with down and some feathering.
The female lays 6-11, greenish coloured eggs, and she incubates them for 24-26 days beginning when the last egg is laid. The chicks leave the nest upon hatching and make their first flight at 50 to 55 days.


Saturday, 18 December 2010


Somedays a day starts good;,

and then gets better.

Somedays the birds don’t co-operate very much

 This Song Thrush seemed to be very shy.

And yet other times, the birds can be more than happy to pose.

 A Great Tit, being very helpful.

 This Blackbird was unaware of my presence, and carried on eating,

 and this male Mallard was just enjoying some sun.

But when the sun doesn’t shine, we just have to grin and bare it.

 Female Goosander, putting her feathers in order.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Carrion Crow

His Latin name is Corvus corone and it always makes me think of a Mafia godfather, for some reason.

But then, I suppose they can look pretty mean sometimes.

The Carrion Crow is easily confused with a Rook.

Mr. Corvus corone, however, never has the pale face patch of a Rook, and he also looks tidier since he lacks the baggy trousers and fluffy forehead. His feathers are completely black, although a stunning purple to blue sheen can be seen in the light.

His bill and legs are black; the inside of the mouth is pink in youngsters turning to black as a bird reaches maturity, a useful trait for identifying a crow’s age.

The eyes are dark brown in adults and blue grey in youngsters.

They are found in Western Europe and throughout Asia, and where the distributions of Carrion Crows and the very closely related Hooded Crows meet, interbreeding occurs and creates hybrid Crows. 
Carrion Crows will mate for life and lay five blue eggs each spring.

He is one of the cleverest, most adaptable of our birds; often quite fearless; although he can be wary of man, with good reason. Early historical records reveal that the Crow has long been synonymous as a "despicable predator". King Henry VIII put a public bounty on the crow along with its relation the Rook. Even today, some people set traps to catch them.

I found this one in a Larson trap, on the Duke of Bedford’s estate, at Woburn. (Woburn Abbey).

Somehow it managed to escape though.

Carrion Crows will come to gardens for food and although often cautious initially, they soon learn when it is safe, and will return repeatedly to take advantage of whatever is on offer.

Birds of great intelligence; I love ‘em!

Monday, 13 December 2010

A few from Caldecotte Lake

This little selection was all taken at my local, Caldecotte Lake. It seems to be the only place I visit just recently. Well, it is good.

A Greater Scaup, that turned up a couple of weeks ago.

Part of the lake that was frozen, and covered in a hoar frost one day last week.

Two female Goosander, part of a group of up to a dozen birds that have been at the lake for a while now.

and the male Goosander

One of the half dozen Moorhens that have taken to sitting in trees just recently.

female Pochard; one of many at the lake.

and the male Pochard.

And finally, for now,

a cheeky Robin. Always keeping an eye on what’s happening.

Enjoy the rest of your week

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Into the weekend

We’ve had some pretty changeable weather here this week. The beginning was cold, with a thick frost.

It certainly made everything look ‘magical’. Even things you wouldn’t give a second glance to, looked interesting.

 There were some spectacular colours in the early morning sunrise,

and then as the week progressed, it got milder, which made things easier for the wildlife.

A female Goosander. A frequent winter visitor.

The Heron was happier, with some unfrozen water to fish in.

The Shoveler, shovelled,

The Tufted Duck enjoyed some sun,

and a female Blackbird enjoyed some berries.

A strange week

Enjoy the rest of yours.