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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Mixed Bag Afternoon - on 5th January, 2017

Thursday brought around my regular afternoon out with pal, John. It was John's turn to drive so he had the choice of destination, but I had a pretty fair idea as to where we would be going!

We started off by heading to Loughborough, where the Waxwings were still being seen, although the numbers had dropped. We arrived to find plenty of people there watching them. They were spread out through the area, as the birds were visiting several bushes. However, by the bush that I wanted to be by, there was a small mini-line of photographers rather closer to the bush than I was happy with. The choice was join them, or stand further back with the potential for them obscuring the shot. We chose to join them. I set up for flight shots, but soon realised that this was too close to the flight action to give the result I wanted. We didn't stay long. Here are a few from the five minutes we had here with these birds.




(Bohemian) Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) - Loughborough, Leicestershire
We then set off towards Rutland, on our usual owling route. Little Owls were seen at my Sites Nos. 41, 37, and 34. Here's one from No.37.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.37
 And here's one from No.34

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.34
The outermost part of our excursion was spent at Eyebrook Reservoir, where we spent some time trying to photograph the two Kingfishers that are being seen there. Frustratingly they were both spending time in a tree that is as good as exactly 100 metres from the nearest accessible viewpoint.

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (female) - Eyebrook Reservoir
We were standing on the inflow bridge and we did have a couple of occasions when one of the birds flew directly towards us or directly away from us. I tried for a shot, but failed miserably. The best that I can say for this next one is that at least it's identifiable!

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (male) - Eyebrook Reservoir
There was a moment when a Kingfisher appeared from under the bridge and flew into a bush only 35 metres away, but there was a mass of branches from a nearer bush obscuring our shot and it only stayed there for a couple of seconds. One day I'll get a sensible shot of a Kingfisher here (he said with fingers crossed!). In the meantime I'll just have to spur myself on by offering a few record shots taken at 100 metres. At least I managed to find some blue in the wings, unlike on my previous visit!



Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (female) - Eyebrook Reservoir
The pager of the gentleman standing with John and I went off, and he announced "five Whooper Swans at the inflow" which was, essentially, directly in front of us. I instantly picked them up with my bins. John pointed out that we'd get better views from the first corral on the west side of the reservoir, so off we set. Having taken a few shots there, we moved further on to a fence from which we got even closer views. It was pleasing to see drake Pintail here too, a couple of which got in on the action.






Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) - Eyebrook Reservoir
On our return journey we saw Little Owls at Sites Nos.23 and 41. This one, from No.41, was taken after the light was nearly gone, and the temperature was -1°c. My shots were taken at ISO 1000, 1/13s, lens at 500mm and handheld! This was a lucky shot - you should see some of the other frames!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.41
All in all, we'd had a splendid afternoon in brilliantly sunny conditions (perhaps too sunny?) with a small, but somewhat mixed and rewarding, bag of birds.

My next post might feature some garden birds - but who knows?!

Thank you for dropping by.

28 comments:

  1. I like this mixed bag Richard,your Whooper Swans look so happy and content,enjoying the Sun,which seems to be missing down these parts.
    Your fourth Waxwing shot is stunning,please send some down this way.
    Stay safe.
    John.

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    1. We were lucky in several respects, John, not least of which was brilliant weather between a whole run of dull damp days.

      I, personally, prefer the third Waxwing shot, rather than the fourth.

      We'll send some Waxies your way when we've finished with them here!

      Take good care and keep warm - there's supposed to be trouble ahead. - - Richard

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  2. Little Owl hard to come by these days in our recording area in north Lancashire. A good few years ago now, but in the days of delivering car part's for a living, I reckon I recorded them in up to 20 locations on my routes.

    Kind Regards, and thanks for keeping in touch on Birds2blog, much appreciated Richard.

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    1. When I first got interested in Little Owls about seven years ago, Pete, I was told that they were in decline, and a lass by the name of Emily Joachim was doing a serious academic study to try and find a reason behind this. At that time, such a decline was not immediately evident to me in this area, and I didn't have much difficulty in finding these birds. It was only last year that it was brought home to me that there had been a decline in numbers locally, with breeding in the past two or three years being disasterously low. For the past three years I've been losing sites faster than I've been finding them. It's rather depressing - so fingers are crossed for a good breeding year in 2017.

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  3. Hello Richard, some great captures again of the Waxwings. The Whooper Swans are also wonderful and ofcourse the LO is Always nice to see.
    All the best,
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Roos. It's always a pleasure to hear from you.

      With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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  4. There is so wonderful birds! I would like that migratory birds should already be back. Good bird moments for you!

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    1. I think those birds might be with us for a while, Anne, or heading even further south! With the sort of temperatures you are getting there, I think it will be a few months before they come back to you. ;-}

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  5. If that's what you call a mixed bag, Richard, I can hardly wait to get a mixed bag or two. We had to cancel our Tuesday morning walk this morning due to inclement weather, but everyone is going to make it here for lunch anyway. I made three soups and Miriam has made her world class oatmeal bread, Judy is bringing brownies, we have cookies left over from Christmas. Should be great!

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    1. Well, there were very few species, but I was struck by just how different in character the three main players were.

      Sorry to hear you had to cancel your Tuesday walk, David, but it sounds as if you probably had a splendid time anyway - and I guess you did some garden bird spotting too.

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  6. Some classic shots Richard. The odd birds are appearing in the south now.

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    1. Pleased to here your getting some showing up down there, Mark. I'll swap you some of our Waxies for a SEO or two! I'm missing them this year - just been cataloguing my 2016 images, and been working through the SEOs from the start of last year.

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  7. Can't remember the last time I got to point my camera at a Whooper, I must catch up with them this winter.
    Lovely Waxwing images.

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    1. Thanks, Doug. We've been getting a few sighting in Leicestershire, and Eyebrook is not so very far from you, so you might get your Whoopers yet!

      I hope you're sorted out transport-wise now. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  8. Hi Richard, think I have seen some of these birds before, some great images of the Waxwings and your Kingfisher is far in advance of mine, you can see yours is a Kingfisher. Have visited two sites this afternoon and no Waxwings. See you Thursday weather permitting. Regards John

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    1. Yep, I reckon there are several shots that we both fired at the same moments!

      Sorry to hear that you missed the Waxies yesterday. I see that the Loughborough birds moved round to near the University entrance on Epinal Way - at least, that's where they were at 14h15.

      Keeping my fingers crossed for the weather tomorrow - - Richard

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  9. Wonderful the see here the pendant of John's photos!
    You both did so well, and as I was just telling him, I really am very envious of the Waxwing images!!!
    Lovely post, Richard and enjoy your day :)

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    1. Thank you, Noushka. The problem is, with Waxwings in UK, that you never know where they are going to show up next (if they show up at all), or how long they will stay there (although they tend to stay until they have demolished the food supply).

      I hope that you are now feeling better. Take very good care of yourself - - - Richard

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  10. Fantastic array of birds, really Richard, they are beautiful.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Bob, which are much-appreciated.

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  11. You certainly had a great afternoon. I love the waxwing - a very attractive bird and the Little Owl too. But my favourite shots are of the swans, especially the line up of 4. Great reflections too. Thank you for sharing your afternoon.

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    1. Thank you for your visit, Liz. Those swans looked so serene as they got themselves in line and cruised along. However, the noise they made did detract from the illusion somewhat!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  12. Wow Richard, those photos are amazing, the Waxwings are so beautiful, I do love the Little Owls, the Kingfisher is an amazing little bird and those Whooper Swans are just stunning. What a mixture. Well done and thanks so much for sharing you day with us. Keep well Diane

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    1. Hi Diane. Thank you for your kind words. Sorry to take so long to reply - I've been tied up with other things, but I'm getting there - just!

      I hope your Christmas ills are now gone and that you're having a good week. Take good care - - - Richard

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  13. Hi Richard,
    the pictures of your pest birds are really fantastic !!!
    I'm jealous of your beautiful pictures; s the little owl, and also that of the wild swans. Beautiful photo series. Kingfisher did you have to shoot flying anyway. There comes a day when you can photograph it pretty close. I wish you one very nice weekend.

    Yours, Helma

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    1. Thank you, Helma, for your very kind words. I'm hoping that you right that, one day, I'll get closer to the Kingfisher!

      Sorry to take so long to reply to your comment.

      With my best wishes

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  14. Très belle série ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

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    1. Bon jour, Célìne and Phìlìppe. Merci pour votre visite at remarque - - - Richard

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