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Sunday, 11 April 2010

Beacon Hill for Ring Ouzel - on 10th April, 2010

Beacon Hill is a beauty spot about 15 km from my home. Drawn by reports of Ring Ouzel there, I decided an afternoon visit was in order. "It's a Saturday" I thought "there's bound to be a whole mass of birders there to point me in the right direction". I arrived to find half the population of Leicester there, taking in the warm rays - but no birders visible! Two other birders arrived just after I did, and we joined forces to find the Ouzels, armed only with the recent Birdguides reports on my mobile. Soon after setting off, a Tree Pipit was picked up above the many songs of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, and soon spotted. I grabbed a few record shots, but decided to concentrate on finding the Ouzels. This was probably the wrong decision as the Pipit was a 'lifer' for me (I'm only a novice), and I could easily have got round into a much better position for photography.

Tree Pipit (strictly a record shot!)

After about half an hour we were having no luck in locating the site for the Ouzels, and so I set off for some independent exploration. I then bumped into a birder who had seen one that morning (he was back again trying to find Tree Pipit!), and he pointed me in the right direction. It still took a while to find the right location, but once there it was not long before I saw a male bird though a gate in the far distance - just within the range of my 10x42s (I hadn't taken a 'scope!), but far beyond the possibilites for photography. I managed to find the other guys and took them to the spot - but the bird had gone out of sight. I'm pleased to say that I saw them again later, and they had managed to pick it up again where I had seen it.

I then went off to see if I could find the Wheatear that I'd heard was around. On the way, I took a few shots of Peacock butterfly that were on the Beacon in some numbers.


Having reached the summit, it did not take many minutes to locate the Wheatear. However, with all the noisy children running around and the large numbers of dogs off leads, it was not able to settle anywhere for long. I did, however, manage a few distant shots.

Northern Wheatear (male)

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