Notes on Use of This Blog


1. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

2. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

3. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

51 Shades of Grey - on 19th January, 2017

The weather forecast for Thursday 19th was not good, with another very dull drizzly misty day in prospect. John and I were both feeling a little stir-crazy, having missed our previous Thursday afternoon out, due to a forecast for heavy snow (which didn't materialise). We decided, therefore, to go for it, despite having little confidence in actually seeing anything of interest - in fact, I commented to John on the phone before we met up that the prospect for seeing any owls was not good. Wrong!!

On my way to John's I had a brief sighting of a Little Owl at my Site No.02.

We drew a total blank at the first few sites we passed, but then found an owl out in the drizzle at my Site No.37. Fortunately the mist was not too dense at that point.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.37
We stopped for our picnic lunch by my LO Site No.34, and one owl was spotted through the gloom, sitting back in the nest opening and keeping dry.

We continued to Eyebrook Reservoir, making a diversion because of a road closure. This resulted in us arriving from the Stockerston direction. We noted a Little Owl in the usual tree between Stockerston and Eyebrook reservoir. My Little Owl sites are all ones that I feel I am able to monitor throughout the year and, as my visits to this area had been somewhat rare, I'd never added this nest location to my list. However, as I now seem to visit Eyebrook a couple of times a month, I took the decision to add this location to my list - it's now my LO Site No.53 ! However, don't expect any photos of any quality as there is no access to anywhere near the tree, and I'm usually looking into the sun when I visit.

As we arrived at the bridge near the inflow, John saw a Kingfisher fly upstream. We didn't have to wait too long for a Kingfisher to appear in the tree downstream, 100 metres away. I was expecting the bird to look almost black in the gloom, but the blue shone like a jewel, even in the poor light. Fortunately, this coincided with a thinning of the mist. I've still had to perform quite a lot of tweaking to get my images to this state.


Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) - Eyebrook
Hopefully, one day we'll get a Kingfisher land somewhat closer and get some better images.

From the bridge we saw the occasional disturbance of the numerous Lapwings on the nearest edge of the reservoir. By now it was getting murkier again.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) - Eyebrook
Due to the failing light, we left this point and headed round the west side of the reservoir to the second viewing stockade.

Opposite us was a spit sticking out into the water with an assortment of birds - mainly Lapwing. There was an occasional fly-past by Greylag Geese - if they'd have been Pinklag Geese, they'd still have looked grey!



Greylag Geese (Anser anser) - Eyebrook
A noise attracted our attention to a drake Goldeneye which was displaying for his mate who was lagging behind by about ten metres, apparently unimpressed.

Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) - Eyebrook
Here are a couple of images of the birds on the spit in front of us. There were possibly some interesting birds in there but the light didn't permit identification. The Lapwings and Cormorants were, however, relatively easy to pick out.



In the gloom - Eyebrook

We didn't stop long at Eyebrook before heading homeward again. A pair of Little Owls was seen at my Site No.41, but it was far too dark for photography.

Having dropped off John at his home I headed back via my local patch and saw the silhouette of a Little Owl at my Site No.12.  This brought my total for the day up to 7 Little Owls over 6 different sites - my best day for sightings for several months, and not bad for a day that I thought would probably not yield a single sighting! OK, so it was a rubbish day photographically (although I quite like the reminders of the misty scenes), but a very worthwhile and spirit-lifting one.

Thank you for dropping by.

 

30 comments:

  1. Sounds good, and looks good in your images Richard.

    I like the sound of 'feeling a little stir-crazy', and your day ending with being a 'spirited one', I know both feelings very well.

    Regards

    Pete.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pete. Looks like our afternoon out today might be a little different - much colder, windy, but still dull grey!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  2. Excellent post Richard. Those misty shots at a bit of atmosphere to the day. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marc. I've still not found the courage to go pond dipping, in spite of your inspirational blog posts. Bestb wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  3. Seems like a great day, Richard, despite the gloomy conditions. January here has been so abnormally mild that we have had more than our share of this kind of weather, but we get out nevertheless and simply accept the fact that it will not be good for photographs, but often it is very good for birding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, David, I'm of the opinion that unless the weather is exceedingly wet and/or windy, or dangerous, I'd rather be birding - even if the photogrphy prospects are not good. So often birds appear in unexpected places in adverse weather.

      Delete
  4. Well Richard I think you did really well to gather so much in poor light,I would be very pleased
    to see this much in a day.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, John. One never knows what might show up, especially when the weather is a bit off. Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

      Delete
  5. Even through the mist you have captured wonderful bird shots. Great to see the Kingfisher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Margaret - it's ALWAYS great to see a Kingfisher!!

      Delete
  6. Although it's foggy, you took magnificent photos, especially the Kingfisher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bob. One day I'll get a 'proper' photo of a Kingfisher!

      Take good care - - - Richard

      Delete
  7. Hi Richard! I'm really happy when you have seen around a lot of great birds! Are those birds now become, or whether they be for a long time already there? Greetings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne. Many of those birds which are there in large numbers are winter visitors. The Kingfishers and Cormorants are there all the time.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  8. Hi Richard, for saying how poor the light was we had a really wonderful time and as you say spirit lifting. Unfortunately the mist was a bit of a killer image wise. Mind you have done a lot better than me with the Kingfisher and Goldeneye. Lets see what tomorrow brings?? See you then John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that any shot that worked at all that day was just luck of the draw, John. Like you, I reckon that today's light was probably worse, but with only a little mist. I'm not expecting to get much out of today when I get round to looking at the few frames I shot!

      See you soon - - - Richard

      Delete
  9. Hi Richard,
    Gee, that is really dark, grey and wet weather!
    How brave you are to go out and take photos!
    But the result was worth it, great array of species, I like the attitude of the Golden eye!
    I'll be away for a few days and not blogging.
    Keep well and warm hugs to share with Lindsay :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Noushka. I hope that you going away for a few days means that you are now recovering from your ills. Take good care, keep warm, and have a wonderful time - I suspect that I can guess where you're going, Grandma!

      Delete
  10. You did well to see anything in the dire conditions of late. Do you reckon Little Owls are less jittery in low light?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Doug. I'm not sure about the anwswer to your question. I do find that sometimes, when it looks like a perfect day for LOs, they don't seem to be around, and at other times, when it doesn't look at all good, they're there. Although we know they have great eyesight in the dark, I suspect that there is still a significant drop-off in eyesight performance when light gets low. Maybe mist reduces the transmission of certain significant light wave-lengths. I've also noticed that an owl is far more likely to come and investigate me if I'm sitting in my car in the dark than if I'm sitting there in broad daylight. I'll be looking out for an answer to your question from now on!

      Delete
  11. Hi Richard,
    it was very gray again and that is to see.
    Your photos are equally beautiful in appearance. The little owl is great !!!!
    Kingfisher you have photographed from a beautiful sight :-)
    The brilduiker adopted a beautiful pose in the water :-)
    The geese in flight, you have to capture beautiful.

    Warm regards, Helma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Helma, for your kind words

      My best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  12. Very nice set of birds - I hope to catch up with some of them this summer - those that have not headed back north of course!

    Sorry about slow reply - I have been in New Zealand and blogging has taken a bit of a back seat.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stewart. Following some recent TV nature programmes featuring New Zealand, I'd love to visit - I hope you had a wonderful time there.

      Your blog post on your brief visit to The Orkney Islands is wonderful - I must visit some time!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  13. Hello Richard, yes this time of year can give a lot of shades of gray. But than every capture gets a misterious atmosphere. The blue of the Kingfisher is good to see. Good you also got site of the LO.
    Regards,
    Roos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roos. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been in the doldrums lately. I hope your spirits are lifting now. Winter is never an easy time, but spring is on its way. Take good care, and keep taking those marvellous photos. With my very best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  14. My father was an avid fisherman (an obsession I inherited) and would always say: "The best day to go fishing is when you have a chance to go fishing!" Birding is the same. We can't control the weather and sometimes must take a deep breath (and a good coat) and head out. We are thankful you did just that to provide us with wonderful images of an Owl, a brilliant Kingfisher, Geese, Lapwings and a handsome Goldeneye.

    Not only that, instead of boring blue sky, you captured the feeling of a morning shrouded in low clouds and I could almost feel the mist on my face as I viewed your scenes across the water. Much more realistic for a birder than a bright, cloudless day!

    Good Show, Richard!

    Gini and I are fully engaged in birding and exploring and, hopefully, I shall soon share a bit of our adventures. I simply must shake off this bout of "blog-block"!

    We hope this finds you and Lindsay doing very well today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wally. THe only time I've ever dabbled with fishing was in my later schooldays, when I used to find it a great way to relax between exams - there was a pond just round the corner from the examination hall (the school gym). I never caught much, but it helped that a couple of girls used to come and chat to me whilst my bait was waiting in the water - one of the few opportunities I had to converse with the fairer sex whilst boarding at an all-boys school!

      I'm totally with you on the "when you have the chance" stance, but other things have been conspiring against me for the past couple of months, and it has been a bit difficult to adhere to that policy. Hopefully, like you, I will be getting back into the swing of things soon.

      My very best wishes to you and Gini - - - Richard

      Delete
  15. Hi buddy, firstly apologies for my absence of late in Blogging land, just needed a rest from it! Anyhow, firstly may I congratulate you on your owl talk at LROS, really enjoyed it. Another nice post with plenty of quality images. If you don't have any luck with getting better views of Kingfisher your more than welcome to visit my site next year if they decide to breed there again, we'll have to wait and see?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Paul. No need for apologies - I know the feeling, and I've been a bit absent from Bloggerland myself of late.

      Thank you for your kind comments and even kinder offer. I might well take you up on that if all works out OK at your end - fingers crossed!!

      Delete

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.