Sunday, 21 February 2010

Box End Park: Webs Count 21/02/2010

It was WEBS count day today and a very wet one with heavy sleet/snow at times and much of the lakes surface covered in ice. Water levels were high on the lake and river with very little of the spit on the south lake actually showing above water. On the Spit there were 7 Lapwing, 8 Canada Geese, 24 Mallard, 2 Mute Swans and surprise Oystercatcher. Hopefully the Oyc is back to breed again this year. As I was checking out the spit a female Sparrowhawk flew past, braving the conditions.

On my way around the lake I flushed a couple of Meadow Pipits and a Snipe from the long grass between the lake and the river. A couple of Grey Herons were also on site as were around 13 Black-headed Gulls. Quite a few larger Gulls were seen passing over the site (SW) but visibility was too poor for any ID's. A third Mute Swan was seen on the north lake and 12 Fieldfare flushed from a river side bush at the north end of the site.

2 more Mute Swans were seen on the river along with a single Moorhen but, with the river in flood, conditions were unfavourable for much else. Some of the Mallard had moved from the lakes to the river and 11 Cormorants were seen to leave the river in a single group.

Another 2 Mute Swans passed over following the river north, but did not drop in. Then 19 Cormorants flew over following the river south, these almost certainly included the 14 seen earlier on the lake/river.

As the snow increased it was time to leave and get back home to the warm!

BTO Wetland Bird Survey Homepage

Box End Park

Saturday, 13 February 2010

More from Shetland (June 2009)

Some more pictures from our Shetland trip last June:

The final couple of nights at Sumburgh produced superb sunsets.

The Jarlshof ruin provided foreground interest for this sunset shot.

This Otter made an appearance while we waited for the ferry at Yell. Nearly missed the ferry while trying to get this shot!

A very pleasing shot of an Arctic Tern in flight.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Saturday 6th February 2010

It's a step back in time today, Shetland June 2009 to be exact. Got around to processing a few more photo's this morning so here goes:

Red-necked Phalarope (f)

Red-necked Phalarope (m)

At the Loch of Funzie on Fetlar we had great encounters with the Red-necked Phalarope. At times the female was so close it was too close for my lens to focus! The female at the top was working her way around the edge of the loch while a hoard of photographers followed. Finally she and a male took a break, preening and snoozing, at the edge of the loch like a couple of celebs with the paparazzi surrounding them. This was a truly unforgettable experience.


This Redshank had young close to the road and tried to persuade us to move along, not before a few snaps though.

Great Skua

Also on Fetlar this Great Skua was one of many bathing in a small loch before we put them up.

Subalpine Warbler

My first twitch! The Subalpine Warbler at Skaw on Unst. The photographers staked out the Spearmint clump, where this bird had been seen in recent days, while the rest of the group walked down to the shore. After a bit of a wait the bird finally appeared just long enough for a quick shot.

Arctic Skua

I had trouble getting a decent shot of an Arctic Skua, this one just a about passes muster.

All taken on the 9th June 2009 (Fetlar and Unst, Sheland Islands)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Thursday 4th February 2010

After the disappointing garden bird watch at the weekend had an interesting 5 minutes this morning when 3 House Sparrows, 7 Long-tailed Tits, Wren and Blue Tit were all seen while looking out of the kitchen window! Of those the House Sparrows were most welcome having been absent from the garden for the last few weeks.

Yesterday a Dunnock was seen on the seed feeders. Only problem was it just couldn't work out where the seed ports were and just kept pecking at the perspex tube, what a bird brain.

The cold winter doesn't seem to have slowed the birds down much. Many of the small birds are singing strongly now (Chaffinch, Great Tit, Robin and Dunnock). Starlings are investigating some of the regular nest sites and a pair of Collared Doves were seen getting very friendly in the garden. They might be in for a nasty surprise if the forecast cold returns next week.