Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Cambridge Holiday day 4: A days dipping

As promised I returned to the Lady A site in high hopes of a feeder and some photos. Perhaps I should have hoped for the pheasant since I got none of the above. The landowner, or one of his minions, drove round the inside of the fence in  a 4x4 to make sure we were not trespassing, before saying he hoped to have the feeder up by tomorrow. If he had just driven up there now, why not put it up now? That was about the highlight except for a brief Sparrowhawk. Probably saw more species of bird last time I went to Soil Hill. Here, have a look at the ride that I spent 4 hours watching today.
-Lady A Woodland Ride
At 1.00 I decided I had had enough. I had now put in 10 hours and seen the bird for less than 10 seconds, hardly value! I arrived back at the caravan for 3.00. My dad said that we would go up to Weeting Heath that evening for me to try and get stone curlew and woodlark, as evening and morning were supposed to be best.
To continue this fantastic trend we arrived at 5.00 to see no curlews. I was so fed up with it all that I decided not to trek for the woodlark and just sit and wait for my parents to come back to pick me up, as they had gone to a local RAF site. The best bird I had seen was a Willow Tit on the feeders, the first time I have confidently identified the species based on call.
Then, when all seemed lost I finally got a bird worth writing home about. In the gloom under the trees I could see a small crest moving around. It was difficult to follow but it came down to the shrubbery at my level so the light was better. I raised my bins, and froze, seeing the stunning eye mask and red crest! Only my second ever Firecrest and showing much better and more consistently than the first one I saw that's for sure. As a result I decided to try and get some photos despite the poor light. However, my parents soon returned and, so far as I knew, my photos were terrible, my initial effort being the best and, well, you can see enough about that...
But then, trawling through my photos I came to the first shot I had taken. I don't even know how I shot it, or where or anything. I think I was maybe testing the camera for the set up, but regardless. There it was in the top of the camera, almost as clear as could be. It was still a little obscured but was a fantastic shot and more than the best record shot than I could have dreamt in the conditions. The photo says enough about the bird than I could ever.
So that was that. The night fell completely and we finished our full day in Cambridge. To be honest, until the Firecrest this could have been one of the worst days birding I have ever had, but the firecrest redeemed it and I actually ended the day feeling pretty pleased, despite all I had missed!

Species List:
Lidlington: Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie
Weeting Heath NWT: Rook, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Firecrest, Willow Tit, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Pheasant, Woodpigeon, 

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