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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mopping Up October - 2014

Because of the Scillies trip, and then trying to sort out all the photos, and needing to catch up on more mundane matters, October was (outside the Scillies) a rather 'slow' month on the birdwatching and photography front. Sadly, so far, November has been even slower, due to lousy weather and trying to get a few significant domestic projects under way. Here's my 'October Mop Up'.

Owls

I've very few owl images to offer for the month. Sightings were not very numerous and mainly distant and in poor light.

On 2nd October I was out with my pal, Titus. At my LO Site No.34 we'd taken some distant shots of one of the owls on a post.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.34
We were just photographing a second bird, a little further down the field, when this happened!


Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.34
Two seconds later, the owl was gone and the post was enveloped  in a fog of chemicals! (having just written that last sentence, bells started ringing as to why it seemed strange - I guess it's because 'the post was enveloped' rather than 'the envelope was posted'!)

A couple of weeks later, again out with Titus, we found an owl at my LO Site No.41.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.41
And, just a short way further on, an owl at Site No.48

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.48
A couple of days later, as I passed by my LO Site No.02, one of the owls was out. This isn't a special image, but I'd been worried about this site for a while now as they didn't breed this year, and come to the conclusion that one of the owls had perished. I was, therefore, delighted when, three days later, I saw two owls here.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.02
Our Garden

Things were a little quiet in our garden at the start of the month, with much less bird food than the norm being consumed. However, things got exciting the day we returned from the Scillies when a Grey Wagtail visited the garden. This is the first recorded visit by this species since we got rid of the garden pond in 2010. It's now been visiting us on most days since our return.



Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) - our Garden
Having made a mental note that I must do better, I did slightly better a few days later, on 26th October.  

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) - our Garden
Unfortunately, this bird seems to like to visit when the light is dreadful and it's raining! I'm still hoping to do better!

On the same day as that last image was taken, the Sparrowhawk visited, and allowed me to take a shot. This is a bird that stirs up mixed emotions. I'm always excited to see it, and love to try and photograph it, but I hate it when it takes one of our birds.
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) (male) - our garden
- and the rest of them

A visit to the Egleton side of Rutland Water on 2nd October brought some nice views of Snipe on Lagoon 3.

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
 The sun suddenly decided to shine and the Black-tailed Godwit with them added to the scene.

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve


Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) and Snipe - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) - Rutland Water, Egleton Reserve
The usual owling route that Titus and I take on most Thursdays includes a section of country lane where hundreds of Pheasant (bred to be targets for the guns of Homo densimus) have been released. They've hung around for months now, and are so stupid that we often get held up waiting for them to get out of the way, and can imagine them standing on a wall and shouting "here I am - shoot me". There's no denying, however, that the the male birds are spectacular in their appearance!


Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) (male) - near my LO Site No.48
Less than a week later, whilst out with Titus, I spotted a big white bird in the hedgerow as we passed. Titus turned the car round and we quickly realised what I'd seen - an albino Pheasant. I'm not sure how rare is the occurrence of albinism in Pheasants, but this was the third such bird I'd seen over the past (probably) ten years.


Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) (albino female) - near my LO Site No.47
By my Little Owl Site No.17, these fungi are growing under the trees. I'm ashamed to say I don't recall what the tree species is (I'll try and find out when I next visit, but I think that they might be Black Poplar (Populus canescens)). If anyone can identify these fungi (or the trees!) for me I'd be very grateful. They don't have a separate cap - just a smooth transition from head to short, very fat, stem. They seem to grow to about 4 inches (10 cm) across, and the nearest I can get to an identification is that they look rather like Calvatia excipuliformis (which are edible).

Calvatia excipuliformis ?
On 27th October, whilst on my way back from visiting my garden bird-food supplier, I stopped to photograph a Buzzard that I'd seen on the outward journey. Let the third image, below, be a warning to you never to stand behind a raptor when it raises its tail in the air. I've seen Ospreys do this too many times at Rutland Water to take such threats lightly!!





Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - near Edingale
That's all for now folks. Thank you for dropping by. It might be another long wait before my next post as I've got rather a lot going on at present!

20 comments:

  1. The picture of the Sparrowhawk is quite wonderful, Richard. As you say, raptors can sometimes evoke mixed emotions, especially when they take a bird from your garden, since they have become "your" birds. However, I suspect that garden feeders have not upset the predator/prey relationship too much.

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    1. I'm sure that you're right about the feeders, David. In the balance, I think that I'd prefer to retain the occasional Sparrowhawk visit - as a slice of 'reality'.

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  2. Never fail to impress me Richard. Glad to hear the LO at site2 has a mate. The Greywag tail is gorgeous but couldn't help thinking it was looking for your old pond. The Buzzard made me chuckle I had a Grey Heron do it to my car not only did it cover the windscreen but it stunk of fish too The sparrowhawk is my favourite image. .

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    1. Thank you, Doug.

      The return of the Grey Wag did get me wondering about whether the bird had arrived as the result of some genetic imprinting.

      I can imagine that there are similarities between the waste products of Herons and Ospreys - neither of which do I want to experience at close-quarters!!!

      Yes, I'd be very upset if I thought we'd never get another visit from a Sprawk. They are magnificent.

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  3. Glad to see you back behind the camera,brilliant round up Richard,loved the Garden collection,especially the Sparrowhawk.
    Your Snipe and Godwit look like they are rehearsing some dance routine,great to see,but your Buzzard looks magnificent.
    I've seen only one white Pheasant,supposed to bring good luck.
    John.

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    1. Thank you, John. I hope you're right about the white Pheasant!

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  4. This is an outstanding post of wonderful bird shots. Love the Little Owls shots, a the great Snipe shhePheasantots as well as the close up of the Pheasant.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Margaret.

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  5. Excellent photos Richard, I love the Black-tailed Godwits, fantastic.

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    1. Thank you, Bob. With my very best wishes - - - - Richard

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  6. When I travel out to the east of the county all white and even all black (or very very dark green) Pheasants are seen on the odd occasion, I guess the shooting fraternity want a bit of variety in the quarry the pursue/shoot/kill/murder? Another nice selection of images too Richard.

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    1. Thank you, Paul. I'll look out for those oddball Pheasants. Up till now I've only seen 'black' ones on the north of England or in Scotland.

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  7. Some fabulous photos here, love them all. Have a good weekend Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I'm having a slow weekend at the moment - too many things to do! I hope yours is productive and enjoyable! With best wishes - - - Richard

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  8. Lovely pictures of your Grey Wagtail. You have to feel sorry for the pheasants, they don't live long enough to evolve a few more brain cells ;-)

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    1. Thank you for yur kind comments, Linda. You might have hit the nail on the head with your suggestion about the Pheasants!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  9. Good morning Richard: I don't know whether I didn't notice your header before, but that is a remarkable picture. The teal is only part of it. The background with the still water, the moss-covered logs etc. is very atmospheric and really evocative. I LIKE IT!

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    1. Thank you, David. This was taken on a very dull day on quite a small pond containing very brackish water - it didn't look very attractive! I'm pleased that I managed to get any sort of image at all. I've a bit of a dearth of images at the moment, but decided I had to use this one as I'm currently trying to use a header with each new post which gives a taster of the following post. Let's hope I can get some better material before the next post!

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  10. Helo Richard!
    As I opened my mail box just now after returning from my 3 days trip to the Atlantic, your comments really made my day... already!!
    First, thanks for 'shouting' after this stupid american guy who thinks he is so smart for hating american women. I have spamed him already, and I have seen his sh.... on other people's blog... Aaaggrr, I guess we all have to deal with these things once in awhile!
    Second, I am sorry you seem to have problems with the your comments, I can't do anything about this the problem seems to come from Blogger, I am not the only one... Could they have a bug??
    Now, about your photos, they are amazing! What an array of birds you show us again in this post!
    And you've got a male Sparrowhawk! I am waiting impatiently for this guy to up too but I haven't seen him yet!
    3 snipes together in one pic is really a must, congratulations! I have seen and photographed quite a few this season but I don't remember managing more than 2 at once on the same photograph!
    I love your play on words too but it is so sad farmers have to spray such deadly chemicals so often.
    I hope you get to see more birds in the coming weeks, it slow in my neck-of-the-woods too!
    Hugs and have great sunday!

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    1. Hi Noushka. I hope that your Atlantic trip was rewarding. Thank you for youyr kind words.

      It's not beyond the realms of possibility that the problem I had with publishing a comment to you blog was due to me doing something stupid - or possibly not doing something like press the 'publish' button because I got interrupted. Anyway, it's not a worry.

      It's now 09:50 and it's still raining here. I'm just waiting for a dry afternoon when I'm free as there's been a Short-eared Owl 5 km up the road from me for the past four days, and I haven't yet connected with it! Hopefully the weather will improve soon!

      Best wishes to yourself and Patrick - - - Richard



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I'm pleased to report that the anonymous spam problem seems to be solvable without using word verification. I'm now just using the 'Registered Users - includes OpenID' option in Blogger settings, and I'm not getting any spam - touch wood! I've also not received any contact from people saying that they are no longer able to make comments.