Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24 2011

When I left the house this morning, I had no real plan, other than to stay away from the coast, as I thought that it would get very busy.

I stopped briefly at Arcot, where a Lesser Whitethroat in the hedge was new for the year, before carrying on and ending up at Beacon Hill.

I wasn’t prepared for a Cuckoo, that flew over as I was getting the gear out of the car. It landed out of sight and called for a short while, before it then moved off into the distance. I gave it an hour in the hope it would come back to the top of the moor. While waiting, a Tree Pipit was displaying. A few pictures were taken…
Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit, in a tree, this reminded me of a shot I took the other day…

Meadow Pipit

…of a Meadow Pipit in a tree.

Walking back towards the wood, a Tawny Owl is heard calling, in broad daylight. I spend ages looking for it, and failing to see it, so I give up and check out a couple of Redstart.

Walking back to the car, the owl starts to call again, this time I find it…
Tawny Owl Tawny Owl

Marty and Liz arrive on their bikes and I spend a while talking with them, until another birder came back up the hill to say that he had another Tawny Owl…

Tawny Owl

Not long after I arrived first thing this morning, another car pulled up behind me and a birder got out, no “good morning” or “anything about”, no none of that. “Has someone posted something about this place on a website? Every time I come here it’s dripping with birders” I nearly chose to not answer but it just slipped out “Yeah, I’ve been coming here for thirty years and I’ve never seen you here before”

So, anyway, after I left, I followed a tip off from Marty, I went and saw Little Owl. It didn’t sit still for pictures, but I did have a good look at it.

I then drove home via the Wryneck-less West Hartford.

And then, this evening I went out for an hour. Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Sedge and Grasshopper Warbler recorded and my third owl species of the day; Long-eared Owl.

I’m still unable to upload the bird songs, still no idea why.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22 2011

An unexpected day off today, so I made the most of it!

I was at my chosen location by 07:30, in the hope of a bit of song, and possibly some pictures.

At the first stop, a Cuckoo was belting it out, but that was playing second fiddle to what I could see beyond; four Raven were having a bit of a territorial scrap. A quick change of view point had me much closer (although still too far for pictures or recordings). The Ravens were really going at it, dog fights over a wood and toward a crag, and as they approached the crag, a bullet of a bird came hurtling at them; Peregrine. It escorted them off with some big stoops. The Ravens went, but were still fighting among themselves.

Leaving them in peace, I moved on, only to be stopped in my tracks by a Black Grouse. First time I’ve had Black Grouse here.

There were plenty of Wheatear on show, some of them even posed…
Northern WheatearNorthern Wheatear  Northern WheatearNorthern Wheatear

…and Skylarks were out in force…

…and a Pied Wagtail sat still for me.
Pied Wagtail

It was good to be able to take pictures today; I recently dropped my camera and lens to the deck. I feared the worst, but everything seemed ok, until Wednesday, when the camera and the 1.4 detached themselves from the lens and went bouncing along the road at Chevington! Again I feared the worst, but all seemed fine, until I tried to take a picture; nothing. Shit!!!

It turned out to be very simple; two very, very lose screws, easily fixed, and it all seems ok, for now.

I have many new recordings, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. For some reason, I can’t upload them to xeno-canto, no idea why. Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Common Sandpiper are just a few of them.