Sunday, 10 October 2010

Norfolk Olive-Backed Pipit

This Olive-Backed Pipit I saw at Stiffkey today is literally priceless...the Wilson's Phalarope I'd seen earlier in the day is currently priced at £6.70.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Arctic Dunlin

We found these Dunlin hunkered down in the shingle at Cley. We were probably the first humans they'd ever seen. An amazing expereince and a great way to round of a rarity filled weekend.

more to come!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

East York's Seabirds

A great day spent photographing seabirds and ringing Tree Sparrows on the East Yorks coast.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Grey Day

This prime example of a Grey Plover was the second Beds tick of the week and a cracking bird all round. Unfortunately he didn't come any closer than distant, hence the unflattering photo. Nice of him to stop of on his way to the Arctic though.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Frasier Cranes

Steve's call did interrupt Eastenders but I couldn't turn down a Beds tick and lifer. Once I'd set sky plus, I drove irratically to Quest pit to tick off these dog-sized birds. They're as close to Ostriches as you're gonna get in Bedfordshire!

Sunset Sedgie

Iberian ZilpZalp

Monday, 17 May 2010

Derbyshire Dippers (and Grouse)

The (in)famous Lathkill Dale proved pretty poor for photography despite amazing conditions. After walking in entirely the wrong direction we eventually came to the waterfall and were met with singing Redstarts and Grey Wags but the black and white birds were thin on the ground. We had two pretty shy individuals so we decided to cut our loses and don oxygen masks to begin the ascent to the summit/car park. We then made our way to Padley Gorge where we found a really confiding bird with an aesthetically pleasing mouthful of ex-invertebrates and a penchant for standing on cliched mossy rocks.

The birds of the day for me though were the Red Grouse. These game birds don't get much press but they really are good value for money with a bizzare call, an amazing ability to run hilariosuly and a face made for whisky. It was only when I read up on them when I got home that I found out they were endemic to the British Ilses! Long live the Red Grouse!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Ashwell's Dung

The middens between Ashwell and Dunton are again stocked full of good classic farmland birds. The stars of the show are the 4+ Wheatears that aren't shy about having their pictures taken. Well worth a re-visit, if only it was in Beds...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Broom Bewick Bonanza

The juv. Bewick's Swan at Broom today was a very welcome addition to my Beds List although I have to say it made the saddest noise I've ever heard as it paddled around with its Mute relatives. The whole sitiuation was a bit melancholy really- a bit too much like seeing Bambi lose his mum.

On the brighter side though a flyctaching Willow Warbler provided some good entertainment and there were plenty of Common Terns, Swifts and hirrundines to make it a good few hours birding in Beds.

World Wide Whimbrels

Broom, UK- April 2010
Kotu Bridge, The Gambia- March 2010

The same bird?Maybe...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The ones that got away...

The Yellow-Crowned Gonoleks were really quite common but seemed to absolute hate the sight of a camera and refused to let me stalk them.
This was a really frustrating missed oppurtunity. Its an amazing looking bird but to be quite honest I'm not really sure of it's true identity. The African Paradise Flycatcher and the Red-Bellied Flycatcher look pretty similar and commonly hybridise. I think this one may be a hybrid.
Despite these Black Kites being one of the most common birds I came across I just couldn't get them in the right light. This bird is of the Yellow-Billled variety and is the resident sub-species of Black Kite.

There were three or four Black-Crowned Tchagra around our beach hut but they always remained distant and seemed to enjoy hiding behind bushes.
I think this is a Red-Bellied Flycatcher but I gave my borrowed field guide back so I could be entirely wrong.
This Common Wattle-Eye couldn't be tempted out from the shade of a toilet block and the proximity of a cess pool quickly dampened my enthusiasm for Wattle-Eye photography.
The African Thrush above was a bit subtle lookswise and was clearly a bit shy about it! These are the reasons to revist somewhere. All the above are birds I didn't manage to get a decent picture of despite having more than ample oppurtunity! But then I really could have spent weeks playing with each species individually and then I'd never have come home.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

They're just too Swift...

Little Swift
African Palm Swift

The less said about these pictures the better! Great birds though.


Pied Kingfisher
Pic'n'mix: African Spoonbill, Sacred Ibis, Cattle Egret.

Cattle Egret

Long-Tailed Cormorant
Squacco Heron
African Jacana
All the above were photographed at a small pond near Kotu Bridge in The Gambia. The pond can't of been much bigger than the average village duck pond and supported more than it's fair share of the country's flora and fauna. It was a little microcosm of the Gambian ecosytem. I could have wasted away the whole day there had it not been for the unbearable heat, unbearable persistence of an overly friendly local "guide" and the unbearable lack of a Fanta Tropical!