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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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Oystercatcher

Or Haematopus ostralegus 




A large black and white wader with, a long orange bill, orange eyes, and reddish-pink legs. In winter plumage they have an extra white mark on the throat.

Quite unmistakeable really.




In flight, it shows a wide white wing-stripe, a black tail, and a white rump that extends as a 'V' between the wings.





The sexes are similar, but at close range it's noticeable that the bill of the female is longer and thinner than that of the male.



 I'm guessing this one's a male


Their habitat is the coastal rocks and beaches, sand dunes, shingle areas on rivers and lakes and intertidal mudflats.
They nest on the ground in the open, or in areas with sparse vegetation; built by both sexes, it consists of a shallow scrape either unlined or lined, with dead vegetation, small stones and other debris.
They will also nest on flat roofs of buildings.





For a lot more birds from around the world, click the picture below, to go to Springmans WBW.




Enjoy your week

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A Sunday post

A quick post today. I've still not managed to catch up with everyone yet, apologies for that.

My life feels like I'm in a supermarket queue sometimes, just waiting for my turn to checkout.

I spent yesterday at my local lake, trying to get some shots of all the Sand Martins flying around. A lot of fun, a lot of pictures, and a lot of rubbish.

Here's a couple that I kept.





Something that was a bit easier, was a Mallard, and her ducklings.





A couple of Great Crested Grebe happened to fly by, which is unusual to see them airborne.




I'll finish with a flower I found today, at my local lake. One I've never seen before, and a little bit special.




If I've got the ID right, it's a Bee Orchid.


Enjoy the rest of the day, and have a great week.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Blue Tits come back for lunch

After the excitement of the young Blue Tits leaving the safety of the nest, and going out into the big world, it's been good to see them coming back to the garden, and being fed by the parents.





The garden has become quite busy the last few days, with noisy young Starlings, House Sparrows feeding their young, and the occasional juvenile Goldfinch.

But the real stars have been the Blue Tits.




Beautiful little birds, and great to watch their antics.




It's been difficult to count how many of the original 11 have survived the last few days, but judging by the noise, and the frantic activity of the parent birds,




I would guess most, if not all, have made it.



 I hope so.

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Work has been a bit erratic; odd shifts this week, and a few meetings; a late shift coming up later, but hopefully I can start to catch up with everyone over the weekend.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
and

[ Myself and Trevor have a plan for Monday, 6th June.
A visit to Rye Meads nature reserve. If anyone fancies meeting up there, it would be great to see you. A blogger outing?
It opens at 10 a.m., but we'll be there earlier. Drop us an e-mail if you fancy it. ]

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have a great weekend. 
 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Blue Tits leave the nest box

The feeding activity at the nest box has been getting very much busier the last few days. Late yesterday, it was becoming quite frantic.





Food was arriving every few seconds,




small heads were stretching from the opening, and a couple of local cats were taking a keener interest than usual. Jim made a good job of being on guard duty, and keeping them out of the garden.

I felt today might be the day they would leave the nest.

I made my usual morning visit to the local lake, but kept thinking about the Blue Tits back home. It's seven days earlier than last year, when they left the nest, but I was certain today was going to be the day.

I came back home. I didn't want to miss the big moment.


Last year it all happened about 9 a.m., and very quickly.
I got home just after 7 a.m., and feeding was in full swing.





Juicy caterpillars were going down by the truck load, the adult birds were constantly calling, and little babies were almost falling out of the nest box hole.




Then the first one launched himself like a missile, into the bushes at the bottom of the garden. The next followed pretty quickly, as the adults continued their encouragement, by calling, and fetching food.




The bottom of the garden soon resembled a crèche, as it began to fill with baby Blue Tits.
I counted 11 altogether, and something I found interesting during all this activity; at times the adult female would 'beg' some food from the male, by fluttering her wings.




He would respond by feeding her whatever he had at the time. (I guess a sort of  'bonding' display.) 
Sometimes she would eat it, and other times she would take it to one of the young, and feed it.

A fascinating and rewarding morning, and one I'm glad I managed to witness, and capture with pictures and video.




The big world awaits! Good luck!



Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A World Bird Wednesday Post

Sometimes we are lucky enough to see a rare bird. It was my lucky day last week.

A Spotted Sandpiper graced my local lake for a day, giving great views to a few local birders, giving me a lifer, and giving the county, a first.



An elusive Garden Warbler up next




and almost as elusive, a Willow Warbler.



This Chiffchaff was a bit more co-operative,



and a singing Blackbird, was very showy.



I've spent a lot of time recently trying to get a decent shot of the many Swifts we have flying around at the moment.


 The best I've managed so far.



I'll finish with some' baby cuteness'.

A young Long Tailed Tit.



An unusually coloured Mallard.



A Canada Goose gosling, having a scratch



and last one, a Mute Swan cygnet, just oozing cuteness.




Enjoy the rest of your week, and check out some more bird posts, from World Bird Wednesday.



Monday, 16 May 2011

Flying fings

Banded Demoiselle

Banded Demoiselle, male

 
Banded Demoiselle

Banded Demoiselle, female



Common Blue Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly, male

 
Common Blue Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly, female



Red-eyed Damselfly

Red-eyed Damselfly, male



Red-eyed Damselfly

Red-eyed Damselfly, female


Scarce Chaser

Scarce Chaser, male


Also a test post using flickr. 
 
 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Paxton Pits

Tuesday morning, bright and early, I met Trevor, and we set off on our quest.

We pulled into the car park at Paxton Pits, just after 5:30 a.m.
Not another car there; we had the place to ourselves, to begin with.
As we left the car park, the sun was beginning its climb up the sky, and promising to be a good day. We hoped the birds were going to be promising too.

We'd come to look for Nightingales, amongst others, and the sound in the distance confirmed they were there. Some Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls screamed overhead, and as we got to the waters edge, we watched for a while, as they performed their aerial antics.



 Black-headed Gull


They were not the only ones flying around the lake. Cormorants were busily backwards and forwards,


 and seemed to be nesting in every tree.


A distant Cuckoo could be heard; and a Nightingale.


We walked on, following the long path that circles the lake, stopping off at the various hides, and searching the bushes for that elusive bird.




We heard it everywhere, but it remained tantalisingly invisible.

More Cuckoo calling, but no sign; and the sound of Blackcap, or Garden Warbler.
They sound so similar. Eventually we found one.


 Garden Warbler.


We later found out from the warden, there were more Garden Warblers than Blackcap. Plenty of Whitethroat too.

Not just birds flying around either.


 A stunning immature male, Scarce Chaser dragonfly. A first for me.





And this unusual looking chap, like an elongated Ladybird


 A Froghopper; Cercopis vulnerata. Thanks to Trevor's in the field ID.


Finally, after much searching, we found our Nightingale. A devil of a job to track down.


Not the best of pictures; they just were not being showy at all.
We stood in front of this huge bush/tree for ages scanning with our eyes, searching for the elusive bird. I was a few feet away, being deafened by the song, and Trevor had stood back a bit.
Finally he whispered, "There!"






Well, again, not the best footage, but at least we eventually saw him.


On we went, along the path that eventually runs beside the quarry, and beyond.
Cuckoos!
We heard them as we walked, as though they were teasing with their calls. Suddenly two flew low overhead, and through the gap in the trees, against a clear blue sky, we were treated to fantastic views as they flew by, calling.
Pictures? Don't be silly. We were too busy watching, and it happened too quickly to get a shot; but what a sight. The sun shone through the wings and tail, and highlighted the markings better than any text book. Superb!

Eventually, back at the car, the car park had filled considerably.
A coffee in the visitor centre, and then we set off round the smaller area, across the road.

Willow Warblers singing everywhere,


and a Cetti's Warbler calling from deep within some scrub.
We finally caught sight of it, as it flew from one bush to another.


Cuckoo's calling all the time, as we walked the path through the meadow.
A Kestrel hovered overhead, a Buzzard was escorted from the area by a couple of Crows, and then,


Cuckoo. They drove us cuckoo too. Up to three were flying around, calling, and chasing each other; and at times, looking like they were locked in combat. 
A nightmare to get pictures off, but amazing to watch.

As we stood at the waters edge, of one of the small ponds, we watched a Reed Bunting, a few feet away, hopping through the reeds. Suddenly he flew towards us, and landed briefly in the bush next to me. As quickly as he landed, he was back to the safety of the reeds; with lunch.


A dragonfly, or damselfly? We were amazed at the speed, and accuracy of this bird. And his eyesight, to see the 'fly' in the bush, at that distance, and ignore us, and snatch his quarry, like some expert member of the SAS. Stunning.

As we walked back towards the car park, we stopped off by the river, to take in the last of what the reserve had to offer that day.
Cuckoos still calling, warblers still warbling, and the sun shining on a Swan, that was just doing what swans do.



A fantastic day, in excellent company.

Thanks Trevor; we must do it again.