Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Asda Waxwings: three for the price of one

And for the arty shot...

Was midway through a [lunchtime] game of office darts when I discovered that Kevin Du Rose had been to Asda in the city centre and found a trio of Waxwings in the car-park. Play was abandoned and Mike and I headed into town in search of the mythical beasts...

We found the crested beauties lurking in the top of a rowan tree, next to the recycling centre. The light was terrible but Mike managed to get some good pics, I think. I didn't have a scope with me so I used my bins and got the above results. I'm quite pleased with them! I was getting 1/125 at times, but unfortunately my hand didn't quite have the stability of a tripod.

Top twitching...

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Ultravid 8x42 BR

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Waxwing fodder

Guelder rose berries at Woodwalton Fen NNR

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Bogey bird

Got up at 6.15am. It was dark.
Went to pick up WeedWorld. It was still dark.
Drove to Baston & Langtoft GP. It got a little bit lighter.
Scanned the waters for Josh Jones's Common Scoter. Didn't see it.
Went to work.

A fairly typical twitching experience for me, it has to be said...

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Frost on a signpost at Orton Brick Pit this morning.

photo taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Friday, November 19, 2004

Starling... again

The difference in the white spots is quite interesting... compare with the bird from this post.

photo taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What Great Northern Divers do

1. Swim about a bit.

2. Do some 'snorkelling'.

3. Splash!

4. Going...

5. Gone!

6. Resurface.

Repeat ad infinitum.

Didn't see it
actually eating anything...

If you have broadband and want biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggg pictures, then Weedon Gallery can service your every need.

A juvenile/first-winter bird found on the River Welland at Crowland by Garry Heath yesterday afternoon. By the time news got out, it was too dark so WeedWorld and I were onsite by 7am, ready to get our hat-trick of PBC area divers (tick no. 196 for me). Good job it was still there, even managing to hold its own against a scary-looking pair of Great Crested Grebes.

Now everybody that wants them has a set of amazingly similar digiscoped (or digital SLR-d, in some cases) GND photos. I took about 180, and have deleted most of them.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Wild grebe chase

I was sitting at my computer, swathed in duvet and busy feeling ill, when The Natural Stone phoned me to say he'd had a message from Kevan Wolstencroft and Howard Butler about not one , but two scarce grebes together at Crown Lakes, Farcet - a Slavonian and a Black-necked! Black-necked occurs in the PBC area fairly regularly, but there hasn't been a Slav since 2000 - I neeeeeeeeed it!

The thought of that was enough to get me out of the house, so I headed down there ASAP. At 3.30pm, it was bright but the sun was sinking (obviously). After some initial trouble locating any water bodies, I had a call from The Northerners (Will Bowell and his Long-Suffering Dad, Ray, and Josh Jones). "You found them yet? We know you're here!"


After getting more gen from Howard, I pinpointed the location where they'd been seen last. Scanning and scanning and scanning brought nothing, apart from the usual Great Crested and Little Grebes, some Ruddy Ducks and not a lot else.

The Northerners checked one side of the pit and I looked over from the other. Nothing. Oh dear. Surely they couldn't have left already? We stood around, waiting and scanning, until it got too dark to see. I don't know where the grebes went, but they sure as hell weren't at Crown Lakes anymore...

Twitching is rubbish.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


It was a brilliantly clear morning at Eldernell... but with the northerly wind, absolutely freezing. Well, very cold indeed. Pretty quiet though (it tends to be better in the afternoons), but a glorious morning.

After I'd topped up the feeders, one of the highlights was to count a minimum of seven Tree Sparrows.

A beautiful Short-eared Owl flapped its way eastwards - after being flushed by the Pheasant shoot - and a flock of Fieldfares gobbled up berries in the hedge by the counter drain.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece

Thursday, November 11, 2004



Not too bad for something taken through the double-glazing of my bedroom window... Birds gather in the cherry tree outside to have a drink from the overflow pipe. I suppose I should fix it, really...

photo taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Mistle Thrush and gulls

Mike and I went to Ferry Meadows again to look for waders, ducks, Rock Pipits or anything, really. However, the most interesting piece of action we saw was actually before we left the car-park at work.

Flying round above our heads was a rattled, rattling Mistle Thrush, closely pursued by a screeching Black-headed Gull. I can't think of any sound reason why a gull should chase a Mistle Thrush, but it was. The thrush took refuge high up in an oak tree, rattling away, where it was buzzed by several gulls.

I saw a Mistle Thrush in the car-park again later, where it was trying to keep a Blackbird off its chosen berry-bearing bush. Obviously it's a stressful life they lead at this time of year...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ringing: Melton Mowbray

Drove over to Chris's winter farm ringing site near Melton Mowbray. I was about four miles away from the farm when he rang me to say the weather was bad and he probably wasn't going to bother! It was a bit late by then, however, so we persevered, and eventually trapped nearly 80 birds.

The weather was a bit strange, being alternately misty, drizzly and just dull. We had to close and re-open the nets several times to avoid birds getting damp and cold. Quite different conditions to what I've ringed in before at Ferry Meadows (in spring/summer).

A few interesting bits and pieces included two continental male Greenfinches (big, heavy and long-winged), a party of Long-tailed Tits and a retrap female Great Spotted Woodpecker. There were plenty of Blue and Great Tits to have a pop at me, but, as every trainee knows, they're good practice and the fingers feel much better after a soak in TCP...

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Not Waxwing watching

Right, if Brian Stone can find a Waxwing, so I can I...

I went over to Crown Lakes in Farcet to check out the berry bushes there. Though it's a revolting place to visit (its primary function being a venue for the citizens of Farcet, Stanground etc. to empty their dogs), the place has good form when it comes to Waxwings. They were there last winter and the winter before that.

Not today, though. There was a scattering of Fieldfare, Redwing and Mistle Thrush, and a little flock of Yellowhammers. Sadly, I only managed this uninspiring shot of one. The light was terrible and the birds flighty.

From there, it was on to Prior's Fen. WeedWorld had been there early on and had a Bearded Tit. You've got to love Beardie Weirdies, Reeded Beardlings, Bearded Parrotbills, Beardos or whatever you call them... It just wasn't my day, because by the time I got to the site and met Kevin Du Rose, the bird had stopped calling and vanished.

Went out again after lunch to The North (Market Deeping and surrounds) to look for Gareth Jones' Waxwings around the Northfields Industrial Estate. Drew a blank. Then on to Baston & Langtoft GP (nowt there either), stopped off to peer at a large flock (1,200+) of Golden Plover, into Maxey GP (one Green Sandpiper, one Redshank) and home.

It had been a crap day.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece

Friday, November 05, 2004

Long-tailed Duck!

After missing the Common Scoters at Ferry Meadows earlier this week, Mike and I were a little hesitant when Will Bowell broke the news of a Long-tailed Duck up at Welland Bank Pits today. But, joy of joys, the bird was actually still there when we arrived. Click here to see Will's photos.

That's PBC tick number 195 for me...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Interesting garden tick

I was standing downstairs in my jimjams, sending a text message at 08:05 when my ears were assaulted by some high-pitched, yelping hoots. What the...? I looked out of the window and there, flying over in V-formation were about 18 Bewick's Swans!

Viewing was slightly hindered by a) nearby rooftops, b) net curtains and c) branches of a tree in my garden, so it's a good job that a) they were calling, and that b) the clocks changed yesterday or I'd have been at work by now and missed them!

Even Steve Dudley hasn't got Bewick's On His List.