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Sunday 31 January 2010

Cannock Chase for Crossbills on 28th January, 2010

I went to Cannock Chase to try and find some Crossbills. It was bright and sunny when I set off, but had turned dull and grey by the time I got there so, photographically, the day was not good, but this is a brilliant area to visit for birds.

On the way there, this Common Buzzard was on a pole beside the road.

I parked beside the Army Cadet buildings, and walked along the designated cycle track to Abrahams Valley. I found Crossbills after about an hour's walking and seeing virtually no birds at all. They were by cycle track marker post No. 151. They stayed high in the trees, and in the poor light and difficult tree structure only record shots were possible, but I publish a selection here as I would not be surprised if I never got another opportunity to see and photograph these superb birds. Having seen few other birds until this point, this particular spot seemd to attract many, with tits and finches around, plus GS Woodpecker and Tree Creeper.

Common Crossbill


Great Spotted Woodpecker (female)

From Abrahams Valley, I moved on to the feeding station near Coppice Hill. The light was now pretty grim, and most of my shooting was at ISO 800 and at very slow speeds, so the results were very grainy. However, the birds here were brilliant and I set my hide up beside the car. As well as birds, there were deer, which I believe were Sika Deer, but please let me know if you think otherwise.

Coal Tit

Blue Tit

Yellowhammer (male)

Long-tailed tit


Fallow Deer (?)

Monday 25 January 2010

Thornton Reservoir on 25th January, 2010

My wife fancied a walk today, so I took her out to Thornton Reservoir - a place I'd not been to before. There was a Barnacle Goose (presumably a feral bird) with some white 'domestic' geese, but little else of interest was seen in this very dull weather. I also took a few pics of Tufted Ducks. As we headed back across the dam it started raining, and a Kestrel flew into a tree in the distance. I banged off a couple of shots before it departed again, and although the focus is awful, I am publishing one here as I rather like the colours! - must be going mad!!

Barnacle Goose

Tufted Duck (drake)

Tufted Duck (female)


Sunday 24 January 2010

Lttle Owl at Upton on 24th January, 2010

After a week with no owls being sighted, I found this Little Owl today at Upton. It was happily bumbling about for quite a while, whilst I watched it. It even looked as if it nodded off at one point!

Water Rail by Ibstock on 23rd January, 2010

Whilst out (unsuccessfully) looking for owls yesterday, I took a short break near Ibstock, and was privileged to briefly see this Water Rail!

Thursday 14 January 2010

Fieldfare In My Garden on 13th January, 2010

It's only the second time I have seen a Fieldfare in my garden, the last time being in 2008. This one came and obligingly stripped the remaining berries off the cotoneaster, just outside my study window. It was there for over an hour. I usually like to get my camera against the glass when shooting through a closed window but the bird was, at times, so close (maybe a metre away) that I had to back off into the room to achieve focus! Shame that the light was so dire ! Working on the assumption that this will probably never happen again, I fired off more than 300 frames. It's taken me a full day to work my way through them all !!