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Friday 30 November 2012

Two Reds

Two reds observed today.

The Redwing one of our Winter visitors from Scandinavia.

Distant shots of the two Redshank observed on the edge of a local river. 
This wader heads towards the coastal areas in Winter.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

A Flooded Walk

There is a pathway below the banking on the left of this image and it runs all the way along side the lake, but you will have to take my word for it. The tops of the wooden posts in the centre right of the image are about three feet high with a concrete base.

An extremely dull cold and windy day for an attempt at walking around some of the parkland. All of the resident various ducks and geese that frequent the three lakes had disappeared completely.

There was little in the way of birdlife although I was fortunate to find some colour amongst the dull midst of the morning. A Cock Pheasant was circling around under some bird feeders and picking up seeds dropped by the careless Greenfinches.

You may recall my previous post about finding a bird that turned out to be a rare Blyth's Reed Warbler.
Below is where I walked along the pathway between the bushes Left and right of the image. I needed a canoe to do that today.

(Blue Tit) Just a little more colour to brighten up the day, but the ISO setting was going through the roof.

This is a car park below.

Almost lucky with this Goldcrest, but the light was so poor and I have cleaned it up as best as I can.

Arn't you supposed to pitch your tents on high ground.?

The weather forecast is changing thank goodness to dry, but very cold weather and it is going to take a while to get rid of all this water.

Sunday 25 November 2012

A Rare Find

During my walk around the local Parkland on Friday just before leaving, I checked a small area which separates two of the lakes. It is a grassed area with low bush and waters edge trees on one side with larger trees on the other. I had taken a few shots of a Wren and moved on further. I then noticed another small brown bird moving along the trees and bushes on the waters edge. 
I followed and photographed it where it showed sufficiently.

I had no idea of identification at this time, but abiding by the Steve Borichevsky's motto "Shoot first and ask questions after" ( Steve's )
I kept shooting where possible. I eventually lost sight of it and checking my camera screen found that I had a few reasonable shots that I could hopefully ID it later.

Blyth's Reed Warbler

When I uploaded it onto my Mac, I still had no idea what it was. Having searched my bird books I had a stab at calling it a Cetti's Warbler, which I had not seen before, although I know that other local English bloggers that I follow have done so. I posted it on the local Bird Club Site which the Webmaster has kindly given me access to post images of interest in the local area as and when.

I have since been advised by one of our local birding experts that it is in fact a Blyth's Reed Warbler. (Acrocephalus dumetorum)  From what I read this is a rare find so it certainly pays to "Shoot first and ask questions after".
Apparently if you are fortunate enough to see one it will be around the September/October time of the year.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Meadow Floods

A couple of weeks ago I was gazing out across these meadows (below) and discussing with a fellow Birder the fact that cows had been grazing the meadows and this would allow for Snipe to hopefully appear and feed in the marshy ground.

I did not expect to see it quite like this though. We are expecting more rain and the water levels in these meadows have risen quite a lot in 24 hours.
(All the images were taken with a Lumix G3 and 14-42 mm lens at 14mm)

Thursday 22 November 2012

A Point & Shoot Experiment

"The best camera there is, is the one you have with you"

I use to wonder what that saying meant, but realised that photography is more to do with the 'subject' and its 'composition', rather than anything else.

I took a little Casio EX-S10 Point and Shoot compact camera on my walk today. It was my wife's second string one that she hasn't used for some time. It is a tiny little thing and shoots 10 megapixels and has a very small sensor. It is at least four years old. That said, it performed well enough to provide these images below for posting about the flooded meadows and show how much rain we have had this last few days. I also realised afterwards that it was just set on the 'Normal' quality setting rather than  "Fine.'

It also shows that if you are not after perfection with a camera, you don't have to spend loads of money on one.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Falconry Experience

As a person with some considerable interest in birds, wildlife and the countryside in general, I have never liked the idea of keeping birds in small cages, budgies, parrots etc, all that kind of thing. I originally had some misgivings about Game rearing, but on balance I could see the vast benefits to the rest of bird and wildlife due to relevant land owners keeping large areas of countryside fit for game rearing and shooting thereby providing amazing habitats for the rest nature.
However, I had not given much thought to Falconry before. I was aware of it and had seen some small displays at Country and Agricultural shows, but thats about it. I have for a long time also read Stacey's amazing blog on the subject.

Recently my Wife and I were gifted two tickets by our younger Son and Daughter in Law to attend a Falconry Experience. I have to say that with some detachment we went along to see what the experience was all about. Both I and my Wife love to see Owls and we knew that we would be observing them at close quarters as well.

I must say that to see these magnificent birds of prey and be able to experience them flying too your gloved hand was quite something. All of these birds were hand reared and not taken from the wild, but of course they are still wild birds of prey and you were required to treat them with some healthy respect.

I have not reached a final conclusion on this matter, but one has to consider: 

Such birds in the wild have to fend for themselves, search for and obtain sufficient food and be able to survive the rigours of extreme winters. Many perish under normal experiences either through lack of food or accidents. This is in the main, the natural way of things. 
Some of course (in this Country) fall fowl to unscrupulous individuals that shoot or set poison bait in an effort to eradicate them.

These birds in captivity (using the term in its loosest sense) are well fed and well sheltered and live to the age that biologically they would be expected to, some as much as 25 to 30 years. In many respects they conduct a lot of similar activity that they would in the wild.

There may be fringe benefits to such pastimes. People see these birds, many for the first time in their lives and this sparks some interest in the conservation of their habitat.

I have included below some images of these magnificent birds.
I will leave you to consider and reach your own thoughts on the subject.