Sunday, 8 December 2013

Steeple Egret

Buckinghamshire's fifth Cattle Egret ( amazingly I've seen three of them) was discovered last weekend at Calvert Lakes where it roosted every evening this week.
It wasn't until yesterday however that it was found where it was spending the daytime.
About a mile up the road there is a herd of cattle, which should have been the first place we should have looked surely. Not having a dig, just glad that somebody eventually did.

I popped out to see it this morning and found it quite easily in a roadside field at Steeple Claydon poking around in a field that had recently been spread with a nice lot of slurry that was attracting a few hundred Black headed |Gulls and several Corvids

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A trip to Farmoor

Local birding has been pretty unrewarding lately. So this morning I decided to take a trip to Farmoor Reservoir near Oxford.
There had been a few birds there recently that I still needed for my flagging yearlist. I wasn't exactly sure how many were still there but it would make a nice change to look around a site that I had only visited twice before.

 On leaving the car park, around the water tower no less than three Kingfishers were using the railings as fishing perches.
 On the reservoir itself Coots, Tufted Ducks  Cormorants and Great crested Grebes were present in good numbers but other than a few Mallard, Little Grebes and a couple of Goldeneye there wasn't a lot else.
 A walk along the causeway produced scores of Pied Wagtails and a few Meadow Pipits.

 I always find it surprising how wading birds allow closer approach  on reservoirs than they would on the coast or any gravel pit. This Dunlin proving the point.

I had almost walked the whole of the way around F2 - the larger of the two reservoirs before I found one of the birds I was hoping to see, this very dapper Red-necked Grebe - my first in several years.

The last decent bird of the trip was a rather confiding Common Sandpiper.

Friday, 20 September 2013

(it's) Ruff at Olney

I stopped of at Olney Mill this lunchtime, just to have a look what was around while I ate my sandwiches.
 Other than an awful lot of Canada Geese there didn't seem to be much around.
But then a small bird got up from the grass almost under my feet and landed a few yards away.
To my surprise it was a Ruff.
This has been an exceptional autumn for this bird in the county but I certainly didn't expect to see one here.
 It was an incredibly confiding bird at one point foraging in the grass just a few feet behind a fisherman who didn't even know it was there

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Blakeney Seals

A couple of weeks back the Bedford RSPB group spent the day in Norfolk.

We had decided to start the  morning doing the boat trip from Morston Harbour out to the end of Blakeney Point to see the Terns and Seals.

Extremely close views were had of both Grey and Common Seals and Sandwich, Common and Little Terns.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Some Mallorca Birds

OK so I've been slacking on the blog front.

Here a some pictures from my trip to Mallorca back in May

Spotted Flycatcher



Audoins Gull
Yellow-legged Gull

                                            Cirl Bunting

                            Woodchat Shrike

                                           Fan-tailed Warbler

Cettis Warbler


                             Great Reed Warbler
       Spanish Wagtail
Purple Swamp Hen
                                              Red-knobbed Coot
 Marbled Ducks

                                               Black-winged Stilt

Gull-billed Tern 

                                             Little-ringed Plover



Monday, 25 March 2013

It's bleak out there

For goodness sake it's the 25th of March. We had 36 hours of continuous snow over the weekend and the temperature isn't due to get much above freezing all week.
 With our RSPB field trip to Norfolk being cancelled yesterday I decided to stay local and walked the fields close to home.
 In truth I didn't see too many birds, but one that did catch my eye was a Buzzard sitting in the snow a few hundred yards ahead that flew off as I approached.
 I didn't think too much of this but as I got nearer to that spot I could see the shape of something on the ground. It looked like a Partridge and I expected that too to take to the air when I got too close.
 It didn't and as I managed to walk ever closer I thought it too good an opportunity not to photograph it.

However it soon became apparent that all was not well with this bird as every now and then it would twitch unaturally and it obviously hadn't bothered to shake off the snow that had collected on the side of it's face.
There didn't seem to be any sign of 'Buzzard damage' so I wondered if it was just suffering from the cold.
 I managed to pick up the bird with no trouble and decided to take it home to warm up but unfortunately when I checked on it a couple of hours later it had passed away.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Keep Quiet and they won't know we're here !

I thought this mildly amusing on a visit to a very murky Emberton Park yesterday as these 2 Canada Geese sussed out the roof of the hide as to whether it was a suitable nest site.

 I also came across this drake Mandarin on the main lake. He was trying very hard to impress a female Mallard, whose mate was less than amused.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Kempston Mandarin

The recent prolonged cold weather has meant that local Mandarin Ducks have been slow to return to their regular breeding areas.
The Kempston Mill part of the River Ouse used to hold several birds  but over the last few years the numbers dwindled and for a couple of years there haven't been any seen.
 So I was pleasantly surprised to see this smart male there last week.