Tuesday 31 January 2012

Adult male Siskin

This stunning male Siskin perched briefly in front of a hide.  Some attractive seed feeders are placed adjacent to this stump.  I had to wait for nearly three hours today before this male landed briefly.  I'm hoping for better light tomorrow as there are scores of birds - I just need time and patience.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Slimbridge selection

I visited Slimbridge WWT yesterday and was lucky with the superb light.  Below are a few highlights of a stunning day.  The shots below are from both the wild side and the captive side, eg the Smew and the Flamingos rae obviously captive.  I deliberated for a while on whether to post the shots here, but I liked them.

Bewick's Swans coming into roost late in the afternoon.  Only 150 or so of the normal 300+ have reappeared this year.

Grey Heron feeding in one of the many pools.

Female Common Pochard

Drake Pochard

Drake Smew (captive)

Woodpigeons pairing up for the breeding season.

Flamingos going through their rituals. 

Thursday 19 January 2012

Tagged Dunlin update

I took this shot of a Dunlin amongst of flock of around 200 at Hayle Estuary back in early May 2011.  I found this obvious bird with its' bright leg rings ( double orange rings on the right leg, green flag on the left), but on closer inspection, I could see a vertical aerial stuck to its' mantle plus a second aerial attached to the tail. 

Mark Grantham has now confirmed that this bird was ringed as an adult on 16th March 2011 on the Tagus estuary in Portugal, so a nice record. (Thanks Mark, for the update).

Wednesday 18 January 2012

A few more Egyptian Goose shots

Below are a few more images of the popular Egyptian Goose at Helston.  For those of you who still haven't connected, Richard Menari and me also saw it by the reed bed at Loe Pool (Degibna end).  It seems to fly between here and the lake regularly during the day.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Chiffchaffs at Helston sewerage works

Chiffchaffs seem to be the flavour of the month with good numbers at various popular sites in Cornwall.  The photos below were all taken at Helston last week where I counted about twenty.  (At nearby Carnon Downs sewerage works, Mark Grantham ringed forty birds).  Included among the twenty are a couple of paler tristis type birds.  Tony Blunden also mentioned to me that they responded positively to song.  The upper two images are standard, warmer more olive coloured Chiffchaff and the lower three are the paler tristis type.

Young ibis shows some gloss

This first year Glossy Ibis has been present at Chapel Amble since last Friday.  It appears quite content feeding in the middle of the meadow at the edge of the village.  This individual shows a mixture of young feathers and a hint of the adult's glossy greens and purples in the flight feathers.  A closer look and comparison of the bird seen at Stithians last October would appear to rule out them being the same individual. There has been another Glossy Ibis at Exminster Marshes, Devon present since the end of December.  Glossy Ibis records are increasing in Cornwall and the species is not the major rarity it once was.   Just a couple years ago, a flock of 17 were seen in the Lizard area.

Please note that these images are Copyright and are not for re-posting to other websites.

Crowdy Crossbill

There are several Crossbills in the fir trees around Crowdy reservoir.  I managed to connect with about six, including this first year male and first year female near the entrance to the hide.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Walks like an Egyptian

This Egyptian Goose has been present at Helston boating lake for several days.  I went to see it yesterday in perfect winter sunshine.  In fact, the first decent day since Christmas.  This individual has been a bit tricky to catch up with.  I've visited three times already only to find that it had flown to Drift Reservoir or Loe Pool. 

Egyptian Goose is a naturalised British species originating from sub-Saharan Africa.  There is a healthy breeding population in Norfolk and the species has also bred in Devon in 2005.  It is regarded as a feral wanderer and of course escapees from collections cannot be ruled out.  This winter has also seen "new" birds appear in Wiltshire.  Whether you tick it or not remains up to you.  But for me, I just enjoyed seeing it...

Egyptian Goose at Helston boating lake.  This image is copyright and not for reposting.

Close-up on a Mallard

I took these shots yesterday at Helston boating lake in perfect low sunshine. I also used a new gadget in a right-angled viewfinder.  Nothing new to science I know, but these Mallards offered the best opportunity to use it.  The benefits are that you can lower the lens to ground level without breaking your neck.

These shots were in effect taken just a few inches above the water level, ensuring maximum light into the camera.  I have deliberatly resized these images very large so if you are lucky enough to be viewing on a 27" Mac screen, then I'm sure you will enjoy these shots!

Good numbers of Lapwing at Stithians

There is an unusual number of Lapwings currently at Stithians Reservoir, probably due to the water levels there currently. Yesterday there was a flock of 400 or so, mainly congregated in front of the hide.  The water level is perfect at the moment for resting birds, ie plenty of water for protection but raised banks for resting and feeding.  The light yesterday was perfect as well for some fairly close photography.


Sunday 1 January 2012

Med Gulls at Swanpool

These two adult Mediterranean Gulls were resting up on the car park at Swanpool today. The lower bird sports two leg rings, the white darvic plastic ring reading 3P71.  It was ringed at Fiskeholm, HĂ„rby, in Denmark on 13 June 2007 and is one of the very few Danish white-ringed Med Gulls. (Thanks Mark Grantham and Camille Duponcheel.)