Thursday 29 November 2012

Stunning Full Moon and Jupiter!!

Just got in from photographing some of the objects of the sky, and it wasn't birds this time! I seem to be making a habit of after-midnight photography... Unfortunately my 300mm lens is about 500mm too short for Moon shots, but I made do. Here's a pic of the Moon; one with the Moon and Jupiter to follow in another post. The pic may seem pixelated as it's been heavily compressed when transferring between camera and phone & converting to JPEG, it should still be worth clicking on to enlarge it though.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Severe River Coly flood with pic

There'll be more to follow on this when I get time. I'm still blogging by phone as mentioned in my previous post. There were a surprising number of people out during the flooding considering the time of its occurrence. I could tell it was going to be bad when I saw it looking fierce at 19:00. I popped back later with a friend and went wading! Water nearly waist deep where I risked it. It was much deeper on another stretch of road but the fast current and collapsing fence deterred me from investigating that area. When I say later I mean 22:00, and the flooding continued to worsen until approx 01:30 when I eventually headed home. Here's a lame pic taken on my phone (very dark conditions obviously as it was well gone midnight).
Like I said, more to follow; I took my 7D despite the rain...
Pic taken from the shelter looking towards Umborne Bridge.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Redwing are here

Just a brief post because I'm having to do everything by smartphone due to a pc problem (hopefully this'll work okay and you won't get any strange formatting)! There have been a group of Redwing near Colyton church for a week or two now. I managed a few (underwhelming) pics of them last weekend. There was also a nice Mistle and Song Thrush there.

Friday 16 November 2012

Pics from a good afternoon birding on the Axe

Despite the gloom and occasional drizzle, I visited Tower Hide for a couple of hours after work. It was all pretty boring on the bird front for the first 1 1/2 hours, I did see a MINK though. I was about 85% sure it was a mink when I saw it (was on the verge on the marsh side the fence by the path up to Tower Hide) so I checked some pics of it on the net when I got home and I'm now 99.9% sure it was a mink. I hadn't seen one before and the view was brief and only of the rear 3/4 of the animal, hence why I wasn't as sure at first. Hopefully the rangers can find it and destroy it.
In the latter half hour of the visit, there was a LOT of interest on the bird front. Two Knot were on the estuary, also a Med Gull and I spotted the Cattle Egret opposed the hide (but distant). One of the Kingfishers showed briefly, and also a lovely Sparrowhawk. Here's a few of the pics:
Little Grebe with a big meal. It later dropped the eel.

Only the 2nd one I've ever seen landed.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Cattle Egret, Goosander and a performing Kingfisher

Once I had some free time by early afternoon, I headed to Tower Hide to see if the Goosander was about. Unfortunately the tide never dropped sufficiently due to rain water. Ian W turned up at the hide and scoped some Egrets which were at Bridge Marsh. We concluded that one of them was the Cattle Egret; it was just about possible to make out the thicker neck and yellow beak through the haze. My stomach was complaining by this time so I headed home to get some lunch, and then rode to the pull in on the A3052 to see if the Cattle Egret was there. It was! Here's a couple of lame pics (it was fairly distant, and the light was on the wrong side leaving the bird almost completely backlit).

The bird was gradually working it's way towards me. I figured the best tactic for getting a close view would be to sit and wait rather than trying to move closer to it and risk scaring it off. This tactic was working well until another birder parked up VERY close to it and scared it off instantly. Nice one! Grrr, this hobby can be frustrating when careless people ruin it for you!

Next stop was Tower Hide to see if the Goosander had decided to show yet. It hadn't. But a nice juvenile female Kingfisher was performing well on the posts to the left of the hide. A heavy shower made the water on the Axe really muddy so I guess the still (and relatively clean) water on Black Hole Marsh became the next best fishing area. Here's a couple of the pics. I tried to take them in shadows as the occasional sunlight would only partially light up the bird, making for a very unattractive photo. I adjusted colour saturation etc in post production to make the scene look as though it was a bit more 'sunny' even though a lot of them were taken in the rain (Kingfisher pics 3, 5 & 6). I also took a pic of one of the Little Grebes:
Worth clicking on to get a larger view

Worth clicking on to get a larger view

Worth clicking on to get a larger view

Just as I was packed up and ready to leave, I took one final look out over the estuary... and there was the Goosander!! It was distant (at least 150m) and dark, but it's the first one I've seen (ever, anywhere) so it'll do!

A couple of the Kingfisher pics are worth clicking on to get a larger view.