Saturday, 31 March 2012


As I havent been out and seen anything interesting or taken any images for the past few days I've finally got round to posting the final installment of images from my trips down to the feeders near Brinklow 6 weeks or so ago and personally I think I've saved the best til last. Nuthatch have always been a favourite "garden" bird of mine, probably because in the area I've grown up in there is little in the way of mature deciduous woodland - and thus few Nuthatch. I think our garden records have just a single record of Nuthatch in 21 years. And so, its always been a bit "special" to see one, especially as they're one of the more charismatic and aesthetically pleasing small bird species in this country.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A first!

I've been trying for an image of two Little Owl in the same shot for a long time and finally managed to get a few in the can today. Nothing spectacular but its a start. The pair are in all three shots, the third might take a few seconds before you spot both birds!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Last few days:

Managed to sneak in a bit of birding over the last two days so brace yourself for a summary;

Sunday: Took mother dearest for a quick mothers day birdwatch down at Jubilee to show her the Oystercatchers - mumsy likes Oystercatchers. So do I, now I mention it. We also bagged Treecreeper (probable patch tick) at the far end before heading off to briefly see three Little Owl in deepest darkest Leicestershire before a death-shower "forced" a retreat home for the Leicester vs Chelsea match.

Today: Spent some time at Maidwell this afternoon after a presentation at Uni hoping for one last Short-Eared Owl sighting before they all bugger off being the inconsiderate migratory so and so's that they are! Hopes weren't high as reported sightings have been tailing off recently but I happily bagged two birds together and then a possible third hunting by itself later on a different part of the complex. This third bird also allowed a few dodgy photos;

This owl is actually watching a Skylark singing about 15ft above it, didn't even attempt to pursue it.

Finding this was also cool/disgusting in equal measure:

Passing this probably tickled a bit!
Besides the Owls there was a good selection of other goodies such as plentiful singing SkylarkYellowhammer, Meadow Pipit and a single Chiffchaff belting out its song from near the pond.
To finish a mini tour of a few Little Owl sites on the way home produced a total of 4 owls at 4 different sites, bonanza!

EDIT: one of my lecturers (Jeff Ollerton, reader in Biodiversity) has just started a Biodiversity (gasp) themed blog that I urge you to read as unlike this one it is likely to be informative, interesting and scientifically sound. A link to his site will be on my blog roll by the time you read this so get involved!

and also another to the Iplayer site for the recent series Bees, Butterflies and Blooms (Episode 2) that Jeff featured in. - quick, only 4 days left to watch!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Spring? or Winter?

Its certainly been a bit of both in Leicestershire recently and today was quite difficult to put into a Spring/Winter category as it was undoubtedly a bit of both. Take my trip down to Jubilee Park for example this afternoon:
- Freezing cold, winter?
- Chiffchaff singing, spring?
-Two Goosanders on the Sence, winter?
-Two Oystercatchers near the gravel test pool, spring?
-40ish Wigeon grazing in the fields, winter?
-Berk in a kayak that flushed my Goosander, spring? 

Endlessly confusing.

One good thing about all this warm(ish) weather recently is the frogs kicking into life in the garden pond. Last weekend (when the two photos below were taken) the temperature was much milder and the pond was a hive of activity with about 30 frogs jostling for a spot to lay their eggs:

But all this recent frog activity has also brought in a couple of opportunists;

This happens most years with the Crows often tending to try and eat the frogs themselves rather than the eggs but this morning this pair were definately egg hunting.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Derbyshire. Owl. Flowers

In that order.

Over last weekend myself and Amy ventured into Derbyshire for a few days of Cottaging (without the associated homosexual activities) in the village of Brassington near Carsington Water. Brassington was a cracking little village but with no internet, no phone signal and no shop (but two pubs thankfully) it was certainly a slight shock to the system.
Didn't do much birding to be fair but several Tawny Owl were calling around the village on the first night of the stay but strangely not again. A walk along the Cromford canal didn't produce the hoped for Hawfinch but did produce some real quality views of Little Grebe, with 6 pairs occupying a relatively short stretch of water. The amazing clarity of the canal also allowed you to watch them hunting underwater, a rare sight!
A trip up the Heights of Abraham was also interesting as I'd never been up it before but now i'm going to put on my tight trousers and complain about the price. 13 beans each it cost and yes it did also include a guided tour down the old lead mine at the top. But considering I could go to Twycross Zoo for example and pay a similar price to be amused by stuff like Giant Tortoises humping and Gorillas eating their own sick (yes, I've actually witnessed both those events before at Twycross!) I think Abraham is being a greedy fuck.
Anyway less moaning, Its time for a photographic interlude.

can I tick this?


Back to today:
I had to drive to Northampton this afternoon to hand in an assignment and on the way back I checked a couple of Little Owl sites and happily found two birds at separate sites although only one bird played the "im going to let you take my photo" game. Its the same bird as featured a few weeks ago and im happy to report these photo's are an improvement!

I also had a quick blast with attempting to photograph some of the emerging spring flowers in the garden too: