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Tuesday 27 May 2008

Red-Footed Falcon at Ingleby on 24th May 2008

Late in the afternoon of the Bank-holiday Saturday, I noticed on 'Birdguides' that the 1st summer female Red-Footed Falcon was still showing well at Ingleby, Derbyshire - which is only about 7 miles from my home. As it was a fine evening (the only fine weather of the holiday) I managed to persuade my wife to put tea on hold for a couple of hours whilst I went and had a look and, hopefully, take some pics (there were none of this particular bird on 'Birdguides at the time).

I arrived to find the site well-attended, but the 'clear shot' had the light in totally the wrong direction and only a partially obscured shot was available with reasonable light. With my pass rapidly running out of time, I managed to take several shots, and the partially obscured shots are greatly superior to the 'wrong light' shots. Subsequently several people have put very-much better pictures than mine of this bird on 'Birdguides' - I particularly like Steve Seal's - but I do like the light in the eye on my 1st shot below,

Monday 26 May 2008

Weymouth Area on 15th & 16th May 2008

My wife and I took a short break in Weymouth. We were very unlucky with the weather - it was very dull and windy, and we had quite a lot of rain, and a 'Severe Weather Warning' on 16th May. Although my wife is only marginally interested in birds, she very kindly accompanied me to some interesting locations, between 'doing the tourism bit'. The birds were good - the photography was lousy !!!

Our first port of call was the RSPB reserve at Radipole Lake - beware the local council's exhorbitant charges for car parking (at any time of the day or night, and the warden is active at all hours).

There was a very good assortment of birds here, with Cetti's Warblers showing well, a brief glimpse of a drake Garganey, Bearded Tits fleetingly visible, a Spotted Flycatcher rather active (not successfully photographed), and plenty of other warblerssinging loudly.

Cetti's Warbler

Reed Warbler

Garganey - drake

Our next stop was at the Portland end of Ferrybridge, at the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre (again an expensive car park). The Little Terns were not around, but I did find Turnstone, Knot, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Kestrel (looking for Little Terns?), Wheatear & Grey Plover (Summer and Winter plumages). Later in the day there was a solitary Bar-Tailed Godwit. There was also a rook hanging about by the Visitor Centre, presumably hoping to pick up some scraps.

Ringed Plover
Curlew (female)
Grey Plovers
Bar-Tailed Godwit
Our next location for the day was Portland Bill. I stupidly had omitted to set up my Birdguides 'Bird News Anywhere' for the area before leaving home - I am, a new user of this facility and thought that I could set it up from my phone whilst travelling - so we missed some of the gems that were reported on Birdguides, and there were not many birders around for guidance. A beautiful place, but the most excitement we got was from some Linnets.

Meadow Pipit

Linnet - female
Linnet - male

Rock Pipit

The following day we started with a visit to RSPB Lodmoor. As the weather was really bad, and the severe weather warning was in place, we just did a quick tour of the shorter circuit. We did manage to find Bearded Tit again, with just some record shots (better than nothing ?) of a juvenile obtained.


Grey Heron

Bearded Tit - juvenile

Coot - I never cease to be amused by their feet !


From Lodmoor we went to Lulworth Cove for a bit of tourism - just found a Rock Pipit here.

Rock Pipit

From Lulworth Cove we went to RSPB Arne - what a beautiful place but almost totally devoid of birds. I do not think that I have ever spent a less productive four hours. Famous for Dartford Warblers, I was told that they were usually seen in the gorse by the track on the southern walk. However, people were complaining that the RSPB's land-management programme had resulted in the gorse being cleared away and a broad swathe ploughed on either side of the track, driving the birds away from public view. Nobody, it seemed, had seen a DW for a while. Plenty of Mistle Thushes here, a Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker, Stonechat, and a Little Egret - it seems that we just missed four Spoonbills that had gone with the receeding tide. However, the non-bird wildlife was quite pleasant.

Grey Squirrel

Sika Deer

Song Thrush


Mistle Thrush

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Rutland Water (Lyndon Reserve) on 12th May 2008

The reason that most people visit the Lyndon Reserve at Rutland Water is to see the Ospreys, and they certainly do provide a spectacular sight on occasions. Currently sights of Ospreys are virtually guaranteed, and I do not think that it is too unusual to see four at a time, although I only saw three at any one time yesterday. Unfortunately, most of the action is a little too far away for my lens, so most of my shots are little more than record shots (as on this day).

Osprey 08(97)

Osprey 08(97) landing on nest where 5N(04) is incubating

However, the Lyndon Reserve is also great for a good variety of other birds. I was on duty as an Osprey Volunteer yesterday, but I started off with a visit to Shallow Water hide. On the way, amongst other things, I found some Willow Warblers (one of which I took some shots of).

Willow Warbler

Having arrived at Shallow Water hide, a summer-plumaged Turnstone made a fine sight. This tends to be a better location for getting shots of the Ospreys, although Waderscrape hide is the 'official' Osprey watching point. I managed a few shots of other birds whilst at Shallow Water. One Black-Headed Gull was being particularly entertaining.

Female Shelduck


Male Shelduck

Black Headed Gull taking off

Black-Headed Gull 'walking on water'

Black-Headed Gull

On the way home, there was a fine sunset which I just had to stop and photograph!

Sunday 11 May 2008

Trent and Mersey Canal on 7th May 2008

Out on the boat again, and this time we ventured further up the Trent and Mersey Canal. There were several Herons beside the canal as we travelled, and in the area of Aston Lock there were plenty of birds around.

Herons on the Trent and Mersey Canal
Goldfinch by Aston Lock
Female Whitethroat by Aston Lock
Heron on the Trent and Mersey Canal

Derwent Mouth on 5th May 2008

I have a boat which is kept at Sawley. I only got it in late October 2008 and, at this time, Derwent Mouth (which is just north of Sawley on the River Trent) was a great place for Kingfishers (at that time there were also plenty of Fieldfares around here and a few Cormorants). Now the area seems to have been taken over by Common Terns which settle on a dead tree in the river (although we are still seeing the occasional Kingfisher).

Common Terns at Derwent Mouth

Having had a run up to Derwent Mouth, we headed back south to Trent Lock, in order to take a trip up the River Soar. There were more Common Terns at the junction of the Soar and the Trent.
Common Tern by Trent Lock