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Saturday, 12 October 2013

September Bits & Bobs - 2013

As with last month, this is a post to mop up the bits that didn't feature in other posts. Many of the images are just record shots of birds that I was delighted to see.

On 5th September, whilst out owling with my pal Titus and exploring 'pastures new', we came across this Wheatear. Titus was driving and it was on his side of the car, and moved along the posts ahead of us. I got these images by hanging out of the car and shooting over the roof! Wheatears aren't too common in these parts and always warrant a 'sighting record', so I was pleased to get these shots.

Wheatear (female) - nr. Skeffington
Later that day, whilst sitting having our tea, I suddenly noticed distant birds on top of the barley in the field that we were parked beside. These turned out to be (at least) six Whinchat. That number is even more remarkable than the Wheatear sighting. We sat and watched them until it got too dark to see them, but they never came nearer than about 150 metres, so very much 'only record shots' were obtained. Four of these are just visible in the first image, and the second image shows a male

Whinchat - Burrough on the Hill
On 12th September, we visited Rutland Water. One of the first birds we saw was a Hobby, and a 'going away' record shot was obtained from the visitor centre. 

Hobby - Rutland Water, Egleton reserve
We then moved to Redshank hide and a Hobby flew past at close quarters. I got a frame-filler shot with the exposure and speed just right - but I'd totally messed up on focus!! It didn't come close again, but I did manage my best ever flight shot of one of these birds - although there's a heck of a lot of room for improvement!!

Hobby - Rutland Water, Egleton reserve
I even got a shot with one clutching a dragonfly - just about visible!

Hobby - Rutland Water, Egleton reserve
There were large numbers of Little Egret seen that day, this one from Sandpiper hide.

Little Egret - Rutland Water, Egleton reserve
On the way back to Redshank Hide a young Rabbit was by the path, ahead of us. I suspect that this might have been unwell (myxomatosis?) as it allowed us to approach closely. The first image (into the sun) is with the 150-500 lens. For the second I had to use the body with the 28-300 macro lens on! (I've been carrying two cameras of late!).

Rabbit - Rutland Water, Egleton reserve
I don't usually see many Snipe outside of winter, but this was was just distantly visible between the vegetation, when we got back to Redshank hide.

Snipe - Rutland Water, Egleton reserve
Things have been very quiet, birdwise, in the garden of late, although things seem to be building up again now. Even the Sparrowhawk has, to the best of my knowledge, stayed away most of the time. This was one of his rare visits - on 14th September.

Sparrowhawk (male) - our garden
Since she reared a brood earlier this year fed almost entirely (as far as we could make out) from fat balls from our garden, sightings of the female Great Spotted Woodpecker have been almost non-existent. However, we are now getting the odd visit, and I'm wondering if she is sitting on eggs for another, late brood as when she turns up (briefly), she is absolutely filthy. Here she is on 21st September.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (female) - our garden
That brings me to the end of September's Bits & Bobs. Time now to focus on the rest of October - weather permitting!! Thank you for dropping by.


  1. Not bad a post for Bits n Bobs...... lol

    Some really stunning species shown here and of course some of them are just about to swap for the winter thrushes.

    Particularly like the Wheatear shots, warm tones and crisp detail.

    1. Thank you Dave.

      I'm really looking forward to the winter thrushes. Hopefully we'll have some in our garden this winter. I've managed reasonable shots of Fieldfare in the garden before, but not of Redwing.

  2. Well done on the Wheatears,fantastic captures Richard,my favourite is the Sparrowhawk followed by the Hobby.
    Outstanding post.

  3. It's great when you stumble across a Wheatear, they've been a bit low on the ground this autumn I only had one but the Whinchats seem to be popping everywhere along with Meadow Pipits hopefully a sign both species have done well during the breeding season.
    Well done on the Hobby, never an easy bird I like the reflection in the water of the snipe, perhaps the GSW should take a leaf out of the snipe's book, I've never seen such a mucky GSW :o)
    p.s. this post turned up ok on my blog list.

    1. I hadn't realised that Whinchat numbers had been good this autumn. I hope, like you, thst it's a good sign.

      I came to the conclusion that the non-show of the previous post was because I'd drafted it nearly a week earlier. To be safe with this one, I created a totally new post, cut and pasting from the draft that I'd done at the same time as the previous post, and then deleted the old draft. I'll make sure I don't get ahead of myself again!!

  4. What a brilliant selection of birds. Snipe always make me smile, I think it's their shape. The Wheater was a great spot. From Findlay

    1. Thank you Findlay. I also like a good Snipe!!

      Keep up the good work.


  5. A great collection of photos, love them all but think my favourite is the first one. Have a good week. Diane

  6. Love the pictures of the Wheatear and the rabbit:)

  7. WOW!
    What an interesting post Richard!
    The rabbit does not seem to have mixomatosis, believe me!
    I think it might be tame and escaped, who knows...
    I have hand raised so many of these wild rabbits when I was a kid!
    The Sparrowhawk female is magnificent, I took only pics of males.
    You were lucky to catch a glimpse of the snipe, not easy to spot where I live!
    Funny, I've just posted about them today, but I have to go to Spain to have a chance and even then it not easy to get close!!
    Your female woodpecker is really dirty LOL! Always a great sighting for me!
    And the weatears are precious, a bird that has eluded me to this day!
    Also a great shot this Hobby, I've them chasing dragonflies but could not takes pics, they were too far...
    Cheers, enjoy your sunday!

    1. Thank you Noushka. You got me going back looking at the bird books- but I'm sure that Sprawk is a male with its pale grey upper plumage and its orange chest barring. It's very rare for me to see the larger females in our garden. I think it's probably only once, when a pair did a coordinated pincer movement on the House Sparrows in a Rhododendron - it looked well-planned!!

  8. Some great shots of some great birds.


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