Monday, 27 December 2010

crazy tree in the back yard

garden birds

we had a coal tit in the garden this morning which was cool becuase it is only the fifth time we have ever seen one in the garden. it came onto the feeders for a while before two great big collard doves came and scared it away. still, another great garden record. Photos to follow!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

the garden

had about five feildfares in the garden this morning, which is a new garden record for this species. They are really beautiful birds!

a boxing day walk around ogden-in the snow!

a bitter cold morning for a post christmas walk around ogden. I guess the birds must have got the same feeling and stayed away becuase we diddnt see a single one. however, the snow scene was pretty impressive, photos to follow!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

at my mums friends house in gomersol...

As we pulled up I noticed that lots of feildfares flew across the road into the trees on the opposite side of the road. feildfares kept drifting over which was nice and the evening light was even more complementary to their coulors.

but then I noticed one bird sitting on the end of a branch had a crest on its head-thus I found phase three of my waxwing winter. there were actually four of them there but only one showed well enough to be identified. it was a nice ending to the year!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

in arctic conditions, I miss a med gull

went in vain for the med gull at ogden today. by the time I got there the light was fading and so I assumed that it must have already left to roost. in the spare time I had I took some photos of other gulls in flight, to improve my flight shots.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

the november and december freeze-and the return of the missile thrush

An early send home from school today and so spent an hour or so watching the garden birds cope with the snow. the starlings were present, for the first time since last time it snowed, and a variety of our "usuals". the bird table was proving an irresistible temptation to most birds who would willfully come and take some of the fruit we had put out for them! the first of these was the starlings who had to redeem themselves for their skiving behavior.

its sad to see the birds looking so sad and cold in the conditions, but we had done all we can-feeding and water. After all, we cant exactly invite them into the house (can we?)!
As you may have assumed from the title, our local mistle thrush has been around again, taunting me with his (or her) camera shyness. you may have also assumed that I have very bad spelling based on the title, but oh no! with this bird comes a frightful temper which is more like a missile!
however I was at by the window photographing starlings and blackbirds when he came and alighted on the pole feeder. he sat there for about 1min, checking the coast was clear and then...

flew straight onto the bird table right in front of me. I couldn't believe it. I managed to get some resonable shots before he flew off, but they look great!

after he left the other birds quickly came back. first of all was this blackbird who might, for all I know, have been trying to build a snowman on his beak! he did look quite comical, although most of it had fallen off by the time the camera was there and so the photos did him little justice.

a dunnock also came but was rather shouldered towards the edge by the bigger blackbird.
But then came a challenge! every year we seem to get starlings and blackbirds fighting at the birdtable (bad manners) and this year was no exception. only this year the starlinmgs seemed to be doing better than the blackbirds, maybe numbers, but it made for some decent photos!

And finally a robin came to join in the snow fun.
but for all this, the weather was pretty impressive. but after all, winter should be like this!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

more waxwings

And I have finally found my own!

Walking back from greggs on the way back to my dads shop in cleckheaton at work I spotted a few largish (starling sized) birds roosting in the trees near tescos. As I saw them they flew overhead and to the otherside of the road where there was a berry loaded tree. they all started eating but I diddnt stick around. My dad had never seen a waxwing properly and so I tried to hurry back to tell him so that he could look.

He wanted to come but understandably couldnt come and see them because of the shop, despite the fact that nobody would be cycling becuase of the snow. later though my dad sent me round to tescos on an errand, and to see if they were still there so that he could go! I went round and they were perched right in the ip-tip top of the tallest tree. still they were there so I went back to tell him.

When we arrived (after putting a notice up saying "back in 10mins") the birds had gone! the irony however my dad suggested that we go back via the carpark andso we did. there were a number of large birds flying around and that led me to spot a large flock of birds roosting in trees at the far side of the car park. We went for a look but as we set off a large mistle thrush flew overhead and all hope faded from within me. still I was in for a shock, they were waxwings and they were really close. If I have only got the camera on me at the time but still! there were birds feeding on berries in the tree next to us and birds roosting in the tree opposite us. All this until a large carrion crow came and flushed them all out of the tree and set them off flying away from us. Still, it was rather useful because we had to be getting back anyway.

it was great to see the birds so close and great that my dad saw them too. the only thing that I am not happy about was the little camera issue becuase I could have got some great shots at that range!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

walking home

walking home, I saw a flock of feildfares flying across the playing feilds in bradshaw park. They must have been feeding on the hawthorn berries on the hedges and I flushed them. still, its always a nice sight to see all these pretty birds locally.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

pied billed grebe-woo!! and local(ish) too!!

exciting vagrant news reached me on Thursday, that there was a pied billed grebe on Hollingworth lake. I managed to persuade my mum to take me, although really it was more a convenience because we had things to do over that way. exciting didn't begin to describe it as I headed over there on the Saturday. the only downside was that we had to cross the tainted border (shudder) but it was worth it.

As soon as we were in a reasonable area I spotted plenty of twitchers so that I would never get lost. it was an easy enough spot to find once you were there which alays helps if your carrying lots of expensive kit around! Soon enough I managed to find what I was looking for, A large crowd of people looking at the bird, and sure enough the bird came out from the reeds less than one minuet after I arrived. I was very excited, as you often are when faced with Britain's current rarest bird. There was a very very large crowd gathered to see the bird with people from all ages.

the bird was coming really close to our near bank and so I was able to get a handful of shots but it was really difficult with all the trees and twitchers in the way! even so I managed to get some decent record shots. I diddnt really see the bird whilst it was here, so focused was I on getting the record shot that I desired and this was the mistake I make with the "finch", taking the photos and forgetting the memories!

I was able to get into a suitable position to take some more photos but for some weird reason the camera was not focusing properly and so none of them came out as sharp as I would have liked (Damn) but still, at least I have proof that I have seen one! below is a photo as it swum along the bank parallel with us, real close.

After that it drifted towards the far bank and stayed there until I left, meaning no more photo opportunity's. but luckily I had brought along the scope and was able to get some smashing view through it. I hardly ever use the scope and so it was a real treat to be able to see a bird like this doing all kinds of stuff, like eating fish. I would have liked to take the photos of such behavior but I don't have a lens long enough!!

And so here we end another successful twitch. that's two in one year of vagrants and others of sorts of none vagrants. but still, let us appreciate the cute little brown bird that lightened up what would have been a rather poor autumns birdwatching (minus the waxwings of course). its been a real bumper year for "my birding starting September 2007."

As you can see this was a bird just like you would expect, small and brown, but because of its heroic story of crossing oceans and Lancashire you feel somewhat, humbled by being here in its presence. I am not sure If I could convey the excitement of seeing such a bird to anyone not involved in birdwatching but it truly is an awesome experience...

Saturday, 6 November 2010

waxwings in halifax town center

Everyone seemed to be talking about the waxwing invasion all week, and the texts had been coming thick and fast, only imprisoned by school I was powerless to try and track them down. However Saturday dawned with a text of some at the bottom of warley road. my mum was ready too late and therefore we missed those ones but after a drive around Steve's birds behind the fire station allowed us to track down some waxwings. I am very grateful to my mum for ferrying me around but here is what happened in picture order.

we arrived to find lots of waxwings hiding up trees , pretty much out of reach of my camera.

The birds that did come in range were flying really fats and so I couldn't pick them up, but then one came at just the right speed and height to get the shot I wanted of a waxwing in flight.

Steve suggested that we move back to allow the birds to feed at the berries that were near us. And sure enough they did and I was able to get some more, better photographs of them feeding on the berries.

There were some birds that perched themselves conveniently on top of trees so that i could get a great portrait photo of them.

Then a sparrowhawk flew over and all but a few of the waxwings left, so overall we saw lots of waxwings and had a great morning.

great, only my second ever waxwings and in better numbers than before and with photos to go with it too. Great stuff!!