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
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Saturday, 27 February 2010

I can’t believe that on Monday, it will be a new month. The time seems to have raced by so far.


A few from this month that I’ve not posted yet.



One of the Black-headed Gulls giving me the eye, at one of the local lakes.


I was surprised and shocked to read that the good old Mallard is now on the Amber list, joining such birds as The Bullfinch, Pied Flycatcher and Stone Curlew. That’s a massive 126 birds in total! The reason for their move to amber? Population decline due to recent non-breeding.

Maybe these guys should spend more time ‘loving’, than ‘fighting’




There was some serious disagreement going on here for quite some time.

At Willen Lake, one of the locals, there is a white goose frequently associating with the Greylag Geese. Last March I did a post about how he flew straight at me, just brushing past my head. When I saw him the other day, he was a little friendlier. Or just curious.



Perhaps the Swans had a calming effect on him that day.

And yesterday I took a trip to the seaside. Norfolk coast, Titchwell reserve to be exact. Windy, dull and rain; not the best of weather, but a fabulous day nonetheless. Plenty of good birds, and a few lifers too.
The Avocet were there in good numbers, distant Marsh Harrier, Stonechat, a small flock of Twite; sadly none of those captured by the camera, apart from some distant Avocet. What I did manage though,


Spotted Redshank. Quite a few of these about, and a first for me.




A Black-tailed Godwit, in his winter plumage. He was giving some excellent views, as he probed around looking for food. Unlike his cousin, the Bar-tailed Godwit, hiding in the distance on the beach. No picture, but another life tick for me.
I’ve still got a few pictures to go through, but one more to finish on.


When I got there, this brave little chap sat checking me out while I got my camera stuff sorted out. He flew into the car, through the open door, a quick look, and flew back out again. I’ve usually got a bag of seed in my pocket, especially during the bad weather, so I thought he deserved some, if only for his cheek; and bravery.
You may have guessed by now, that it’s a Robin. And this little bundle of feathers was the best medicine I could have asked for.


Not an excellent picture by any means. But he quite happily sat in my hand, while I took some pictures, and he finished off the seed. Hard to put into words how I felt, as this tiny wild creature put his trust and life in my hand.
Something I’ll never forget.


Thursday, 25 February 2010

At last.

I was going to post some pictures from the garden, but then I went to a local lake the other day, and thought I’d do some from there instead. Almost had them ready to post, and then I decided to go out today. Well, after going through some of todays, I want to post a few of those.
Yea, I’m confused too. But just a little excited.


I went to Paxton Pits. The last time I went there, it was frozen solid, and I got some pictures of a fox on the frozen lake, which I posted. So, today; not frozen, and a lot of activity from the nesting Cormorants and Herons.





But what really had me excited was this.


A Smew. I’d been missing these locally at the start of the year. Whenever one was reported at a lake, I’d turn up next day, and it would be gone. So frustrating, especially as I’d never seen one before. Well, today, the first bird I saw on the lake today was a Smew. Not one, but six! Three pairs.



A distant pair; more of a record shot, but I’m really pleased to have seen them.





I saw some good birds today, and still got a few more pictures to sort through, but I’ll finish with this one of a Goldeneye I was quite pleased with.






Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Summer Leys, final part

I’ll finish off the Summer Leys visit with this selection; starting with some LBJ’s



They don’t come much 'littler' than this little Wren.

Tree Sparrow. Small, brown mostly. I think he’ll qualify.



Male Reed Bunting. Getting his summer plumage on his head, but still mostly ‘brown’.
And this one,



a Dunnock. Definitely a LBJ.
When I first arrived, the sharp frost had the place in its grip, so a quick wander to the nearest hide from the car park. The water was pretty high, and the island a little way in front of the hide almost non-existent. Enough though for a few Lapwing, and a handful of Golden Plover with them.



I was pleased to see them; and then I noticed something else wandering the edge.



A Redshank, probing around the mud. Most of everything else, seemed to be on the far side of the lake; isn’t that always the way? A slow walk was in order.


Slow indeed. By the time I’d finished four hours had rushed past somehow, but I’d had a great time. I’ll finish off with four more little birds, that all co-operated that morning for their photo shoot.


Chaffinch




Greenfinch





Long Tailed Tit





And a good old Robin. He looked lost in his thoughts, sat there.




Monday, 22 February 2010

Summer Leys

As I mentioned in the previous post, Summer Leys usually turns up something of interest. Well, after the Robin redbreast, another bird with a red breast. But this one isn’t usually as co-operative.

I wandered down the footpath towards one of the hides, when I caught a glimpse of a couple of birds fly into the trees ahead. Smallish, and a flash of white, it meant probably only one bird. The Bullfinch. I slowly made my way towards the tree, hoping they’d stay put long enough for a picture. A male and female; and as usual they were buried amongst the branches, making a clear shot and focusing impossible. I crept forward, eventually getting under the tree, and hoping they’d move out from the cover a little.

The male almost obliged.




Still hidden behind some branches, but not so many as to be too distracting. His partner was close by, enjoying the succulent new buds.



No wonder they weren’t popular in orchards years ago, and many were trapped and killed. Even now, although protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, under licence, they may be killed (usually by shooting) or taken in cage traps for the purpose of preventing serious damage to the buds of fruit trees.
Well, thankfully they’re safe here.
The male moved from his cover, and then turned his back on me.


I pleaded with him to turn round, and eventually he obliged.



Not perfect, but the clearest shot I’ve had of one.

Just got back from a very tiring re-hab session at the hospital. Probably done more exercise there in an hour, than I have in the last 50 years! So, I’ll sort out the rest of the pictures from Saturday, and unwind by watching the birds in a snow-covered garden.
Whatever you’re doing; enjoy it.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Some strange behaviour

Yesterday was one of those days when the sun shone, but it still managed to be cold. Well, I’ve got a coat, so I went out. I went to one of my favourite reserves; Summer Leys. You can always guarantee something of interest, and yesterday was no exception. A good variety of birds, a couple of firsts for this year, and some strange behaviour. Strange to me, anyway. I’ve never noticed it before.

The other birds I’ll do another time, but today I want to share this particular bird.

The Robin



The ‘cute’ pose. Now they’re very territorial, and often chase off intruders to their space. There’s a hide at Summer Leys that has a few feeders outside, so even the Robins have to restrain themselves a bit, or else they’d never get any feeding done.
I sat watching the birds coming and going; Blue Tits, Greenfinches, Tree Sparrows, a few Robins and Blackbirds, and then I noticed this one.

I’ve not stretched it in the processing; it’s a bit of posturing by the Robin. But what was it all about?
Enter stage right………….


another one. They both stood, facing each other, swaying from side to side.





Usually I’ve seen them chase each other away, or on the rare occasions resort to a bit of fighting, before one takes off. But this was something different. Something I’ve never seen before.
A courtship dance, maybe?



Whatever it was, it had me enthralled while it all unfolded for a few minutes before me. And then the posturing stopped. They both parted, and got on with the business of feeding.


My money’s on a courtship dance; unless anyone else knows what was happening?

Friday, 19 February 2010

Woburn

Hoping to go somewhere tomorrow, if it doesn’t snow like the forecast says it will. Not decided where yet, somewhere close to home.

Yesterday I had a quick trip into Woburn, and decided on a walk along the footpath through the deer park. Maybe some deer would be about?

It was freezing cold, and very dull as I made my way through the trees, along the path to the ‘park’. A few birds singing from above, and some Canada Geese calling from the small lake. And there, on the other side, picking its way through the long grass, a small deer. He hadn’t seen, or heard me. I stood still, and watched as he came forward from the long grass curtain.




A youngster by the looks of him, or her. He stopped, looked around, and moved forwards some more. A sound made him look back; I held my breath.

He carried on, and then stopped. Had he seen me?


We stared at each other for ages. Neither of us wanting to move. I was in no rush. He sniffed the air, but no breeze would carry my scent. He gazed forward, eyes not moving from mine. Voices in the distance; a couple walking their dog. And then he was gone; melting into the long grass once again.

I carried on, the sky turning blacker with each step. Past the stables, as the footpath led the way ahead, through the park. Then a ‘patter’, as rain hit my coat. A mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing were probing the grass ahead; but no sign of the mighty stags I’d seen on my previous visit.
The rain began to turn to snow, light flurries at first, but quickly becoming more earnest in its desire to blanket the ground once again. My breathing was becoming deeper, maybe I’d walked a bit too far……..……….I decided to turn back and a slow walk towards the car park.
Always another day.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The bears are back.

A spot of garden watching today. Dull, drizzly rain most of the day, but little rays of sunshine flew in, and brightened it all up. Little bears on sticks; that’s what they remind me of.

Half a dozen Long Tailed Tits spent most of the day in and out of the garden, raiding the feeders, and foraging amongst the shrubs. Great to watch them coming and going.








and a soggy look, that summed up todays weather



where’s the sun?