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Saturday, 2 December 2017

Bits and Bobs - November, 2017

For a number of reasons, it has been over three weeks since my last blog post, so I thought I'd better take a grip on myself and come up with something before questions are asked!

A few weeks ago, I stated that I intended for my birding activities to change, with a return to a focus on owls, and an endeavour to stay closer to home. In some respects, I have managed to adhere to this intention. My excursions have been rather more frequent, but shorter in duration, and resulted in virtually no photography! They have not, however, been totally fruitless.

Owls

Many of my shorter excursions have been in the late afternoon specifically to try and locate owls as dusk falls. I've had a few sightings of Barn Owl over two different sites, and a couple of sightings of Tawny Owl at one site. I have not had too much success so far with Little Owls as no new sites have been found, although I have had around a dozen sightings over three of my original sites. I've also recently found what was one of my more reliable owl nest trees to be totally destroyed - it's in a location that is out of bounds in the summer. The only photos arising from these sightings were from my old LO Site No.02. All but two of these sighting were in 'night time' situations. I have, therefore, little to show for my efforts. Here's a few shots to 'put you in the picture'.





Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.02
With luck, I may get some half decent owl shots in the not-too-distant future.

Other Excursions

All my birding has been relatively close to home. Hawfinch are in the county (and country) in unprecedented numbers, for reasons that I'm not aware of. There's one location that they have been reported from that I have now visited four times - so far without any luck. I have, however,  taken advantage of my time there to photograph some of the winter thrushes (my Fieldfare shots were awful, so don't appear here) that are in the area - not forgetting the Robin!




Redwing (Turdus iliacus) - Battram
Robin (Erithacus rubecula) - Battram


Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) - Battram
I have been to Hicks Lodge a few times. So far, the most interesting sightings have been of thirteen Goosander, and a number of Snipe (not counted but around 10) that were doing their best to look inconspicuous in the evening light. Apart from a lone female, all the Goosander kept their distance.




Goosander (Mergus merganser) - Hicks Lodge
Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) - Hicks Lodge

Coot (Fulica atra) - Hicks Lodge

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - Hicks Lodge
I also had an evening at Longmoor Lake in the hope of seeing owls. I was surprised by how few passerines I saw - I think that the tree plantation is now too dense. There were plenty of birds on the water, however, but nothing of great interest.


Greylag Goose (Anser anser) - Longmoor Lake
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) - Longmoor Lake
Our Garden

Sadly, the building work going on behind our back garden is keeping the more timid birds from visiting us during the week, but things tend to pick up a bit at the weekend when all is quiet on the building site. We have started to see a few winter visitors in the garden. I missed the first Brambling of the winter as I was in Derbyshire photographing Kingfisher, but Lindsay (my wife) tells me it was around for about an hour. Great-spotted Woodpecker (a male) - absent for most of the summer - has started showing reasonably frequently. We're now getting occasional visits from Goldcrest (no sensible photos yet), and we've had a few visits from Mistle Thrush (but our berries have now virtually all gone!). Here are a few garden bird images from November.


Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) (male) - our garden


Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - our garden



Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) -our garden
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) (male) - our garden
I hope that it is not another three-plus weeks before I manage to get enough time and material to share with you. 

Thank you for dropping by.
 

22 comments:

  1. Like you Richard, I have been struggling to find much material to use to write about. Love the Owl shots in the dying light.

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    1. Little Owl shots in the dying light are OK in moderation, but I've struggled to get any in daylight. Fortunately my luck was better yesterday! Probably more owl shots in my next post. Thanks and best wishes - - - Richard

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  2. Hi Richard! Wonderful to see your beautiful pictures, great birds again! Rainy greetings;-)

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    1. Thank you, Anne. I'm surprised that you have rain, and not snow, at this time of year. We are lucky and have a little sunshine and a breeze at the moment!. With my best wishes - - - Richard

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  3. This is an entertaining post. I always admire you birders as I don't have the patience to get my own shots.

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    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed it, Adrian. I'm not sure if it's patience or, in my case, just the occasional dogged determination - I sat motionless in my car yesterday for just over two and a half hours waiting for an owl to appear and when it did it was half an hour after sunset (so as good as dark) and it appeared in a place where I could only just spot it through the branches of a tree - so no photo!

      With my best wishes - - - Richard

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  4. What a great selection and as always great photos. Love the robin, ours is very shy here in France! Our woodpecker is often heard, but only in winter have I any chance of ever seeing it and then it is rare, too many big trees! Hope all is well and that you have a great Christmas. Very best wishes, cheers Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. Hopefully we'll be 'speaking' again before Christmas but, just in case, I hope you have a wonderful one. With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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  5. Good to see you back on line, Richard. I suspect that your continued quest for owls will result in new sites ultimately. Good luck!

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    1. I hope so, David, but I know it's not going to be easy. Managed a 'three owl day' yeaterday and got excited about it. Up until a couple of years ago this would have been well below par - as you will know from our '10 owl day' together!.

      My love to you both - - - Richard

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  6. Great post Richard. Especially the Little Owl and the Mistle Thrush, I love them.

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    1. Thank you, Bob. I'm delighted to have your approval! With my best wishes - - - Richard

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  7. Bet you can't wait for the building work to finish, hopefully not to long to wait. Great selection of images l though I have to wonder at the quality of hiding from the snipe
    :-)

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    1. It's going to be a while yet before it all finishes - it's been a couple of months already and they're still doing the ground-works. Half the time it seems there's just a digger driver plus one other person there, but the digger action seems non stop. I reckon that the top 2 feet of soil have been moved and moved again more than 10 times so far, and theyre still at it!

      I should have mentioned that on my previous visit the island was covered in scrub and the Snipe WERE really difficult to spot. I was surprised to find it had been totally cleared on this next visit, and the Snipe were still using it - hence my comment.

      With my best wishes - - - Richard

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  8. SEE...... I just have to ask and a new post is published! LOL!!!!
    Well done Richard great photos, I envy you the Mistle Thrush, I still never have seen one.
    Your Sparrowhawk is such a magnificent adult with dark orange eyes... I don't get to photograph them much anymore since I sold my place :(
    Leaving for Spain tomorrow for a week, hoping to get nice pics of prey birds.
    Warm hugs and best wishes

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    1. Thank you for those very kind words, Noushka, which are much appreciated. I'm sorry that you are missing your Sparrowhawks.

      I hope that you manage to photograph your birds of prey in Spain. With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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  9. Fantástico reportaje, todas las fotos son magníficas. Gran trabajo Richard, enhorabuena. Saludos desde España.

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    1. Gracias por sus amables palabras, Germán. Con mis mejores deseos - - - Richard

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  10. Hello Richard, you kept the best for last. Stunning capture of the Sparrowhawk. What a bird. Non the less I am glad you found the LO and made some great captures of it. The Mistle Thrush is also one of my favoriete birds I love their song. Unformtunatly you see or hear them not that much anymore. The Starling is also a bird I love. Their featers are amazing.
    All in all a great blog again Richard.
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. We are not seeing so much of the Sparrowhawk at the moment, Roos, because of the building work that is happening behind our garden. However, he does get brave sometimes, and makes a quick appearance! We don't see so many thrushes these days, but their numbers increase greatly in winter. I agree - the winter plumage of a Starling is fabulous!

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Roos, which are much appreciated. With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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  11. Great post Richard,love the Mistle Thrush and the Sparrowhawk images,not managed to catch up with them so far this year,still trying.
    I would also like to add my thanks for your comments on our Blog,always appreciated.
    John and Sue.

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    1. Thank you for those kind words, John. I hope you manage some Mistle Thrush and Sparrowhawk shots soon! Visits to your blog are always a great pleasure for me, and I eagerly await your next blog post.

      With my very best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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