Saturday 31 December 2022

Bring on 2023

Another year gone. 2022 has been a good year on patch for locally scarce birds!

I never did quite revive this blog, but it was less neglected than recent years so I'm taking that as progress. Quite a few nice finds this year considering the disappointing amount of time I've been able to put into it, with the Glaucous Gull over my garden being perhaps the most unexpected. The 2nd of the 2 Honey Buzzards (Dorset) was impressive though, flying pretty much straight over me! 

I should probably do a bird montage image but to be honest, I can't be bothered to make it tonight (sorry), so here's one of some of my 2022 astro images!

Good luck to all heading out for January 1st birding, and all the best for 2023.

Thursday 29 December 2022

Isabelline Wheatear & White-tailed Eagle

What a gorgeous wee bird!

Boxing Day was such a superb birding day on patch here with the Isabelline Wheatear continuing to show well, a visit from a White-tailed Eagle, as well as a flyover Great White Egret. There have been triple figures of people visiting us here for the Wheatear, with a plethora of pics appearing all over social media. You can't blame the photographers (or birders or twitchers) for coming for this one, it was both rare and very, very obliging. I crouched down on the boardwalk and waited, and the Wheatear duly hopped towards me, within perhaps 20-25ft at times. It gave a similar feeling to the incredulous views of the 1st Least Sand we had on Black Hole Marsh back in 2016.

With there being so many pics of this bird already doing the rounds online, I made a conscious effort to try and get something different, if possible. A flight shot was an outside hope because as much as we like to get them, they're just so difficult. Something a little more likely was a shot with streaks of rain, something I have a soft spot for in wildlife images (but preferably not my astro stuff...).

These 2 are by far & away my favourite images from the day:

And a very, very distant shot of the White-tailed Eagle. Bun (Kevin Hale) first saw what he thought might be a WT Eagle in flight over the other side of the river but views were distant and brief. He described where he thought it had gone in and I set my scope up on the area. This did show a blob of a bird, but it was just too distant for my 50x eyepiece and no amount of squinting or good eyesight was going to help any of us. Fortunately the camera was a bit more useful, and the very few pixels that were actually on the bird did seem to show it was likely an Eagle; I stuck my neck out and said to the crowd that I was 95% sure it was one. Half an hour or so later it flew and at that point there was no doubt at all. We've had a few passes of WT Eagle over the patch now, but this was the 1st time I've managed to see one, so cheers for initially spotting it Kev!