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Monday, 15 January 2018

Near the Bottom of the Barrel - mid-January, 2018

For the first couple of weeks of this year, it seems that I've either had commitments or the weather has been on the grim side. I have, therefore, managed little in the way of photography. However, I feel I need to keep my hand in with blog posts, so stand by for some less-than-inspiring photography!

Thursday 28th December, 2017 

A visit to Kelham Bridge at the end of last year resulted in great company, but virtually nothing in the way of bird sightings and photography. The water was frozen over, and I'd been hoping for Water Rail to come out onto the ice. The nearest to 'exciting' was a distant Kestrel with a vole!

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) (female) - Kelham Bridge
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) - Kelham Bridge
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) (female) - Kelham Bridge
A visit to Oakthorpe Colliery later that day just resulted in the disturbance beside the car park, caused by four shooters with dogs, upsetting the people in the car park. This was reported to the police who, as soon as they were told that we weren't being threatened, weren't interested, in spite of this being a nature reserve and a police notice in the car park asking for reports of possible poachers with dogs!

Tuesday 2nd January, 2018

We had quite a good day in our garden that day, with 19 species visiting us, including the two Redpoll which featured in my previous post which you can find here. However, on this day, which was very dull and wet, I only photographed our visiting Woody.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) (male) -our garden
Monday 8th January

We were lucky this day to have one of the rare visits to our garden by a Brambling - sadly I didn't manage any decent images. It was dull and extremely cold that day and I was struggling to keep the water from freezing so that the birds could drink - you can see some ice from the drinking station in a couple of the images below.

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) (male) - our garden
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) - our garden
That evening I went out to see if I could find any owls. I nearly failed, but happened on a Barn Owl after it had already got dark.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) - Leicestershire
Friday, 12th January

Lindsay and I fancied going out for lunch together, and Lindsay chose Launde Abbey as our lunch venue. This suited me just fine as we'd pass some of my Little Owl sites en-route. Unfortunately we were soon travelling in thick fog! We didn't stand a chance at the first few sites we passed as we'd not have seen a bird if it had sat there and shouted at us! However, we were able to see a bird at my Site No. 23. It was still quite foggy and my images were extremely flat and grey. However, I have found by past experience that images in foggy conditions are relatively easy to enhance, purely by winding up the contrast compensation in post-processing. Although not a good image, the following is considerably better than the original!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.23
Lunch was very enjoyable and the fog lifted as we were eating. This prompted us to take a scenic route home. A little Owl was seen at my Site No.53 - almost 100 metres away!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.53
By the time we got to LO Site No. 37 the light was dreadful and the owl was in a hopeless position for photography. However, it did mean that I'd had my first 3 Little Owl day for many months! - and that is why I'm happy to post these rubbish images!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.37
Saturday, 13th January

I mentioned in my previous post that I was concerned that we'd seen a Hedgehog out at the beginning of the month, and that I'd monitor the situation. The header that is current with this post is a screen grab from one of my trail cameras on 4th January. Until 13th January there was no further sign of a Hedgehog. However, on the night of 13th January, the Hedgehog reappeared. I'm not overly concerned at this stage as Hedgehogs will occasionally awaken in the winter, particularly if they feel the need to change sleeping location. I am continuing to closely monitor the situation. If you are knowledgeable on the subject of Hedgehogs and think, for example, that this one looks underweight and needs help, please let me know.

Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) - our garden on 13th January, 2018
Garden List - Week 02 - 08/01/2018 to 14/01/2018

2018, Week 02 - 8th to 14th January
We had another quite good week in the garden, in spite of the continued building works out back.

It was a different mix than the previous week. Brambling showed for the first time this year - they usually appear a bit later in the winter. However, the real surprise was a couple of corvids. Although they are not rare birds, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw are quite rare in our garden, and we consider ourselves lucky if we get one in the year, so to get both this early in the year, and on the same day, was exciting. Sadly I missed getting any photos.

I am pleased to say that the pair of Redpoll is still visiting the garden.

At the current rate of progress I, once again, have no idea what the subject of my next post will be. Hopefully I will not have to scrape the bottom of the barrel too hard!

Thank you for dropping by.