Friday, 20 February 2015

Targets in Somerset

I'M on the hunt; this year I've set myself some wildlife challenges - one of them is to photograph a bearded reedling (aka bearded tit) on the Somerset Levels.

I came close last weekend and did actually get to hear one pink pinking away, having followed a lead from another birder, but no sightings this time...

There were numerous other lovely species around.  I had a great view of a peregrine falcon flying low over the heads of an elderly couple, walking in front of me clutching their bins - they were oblivious.  Also great white egrets, goosanders, kingfisher, winter ducks to name a few.

I did manage to get quite a decent long distance shot of a water rail.  The reported short-eared owl was nowhere to be seen.  I did see a Siberian chiff-chaff for the first time, however I must admit that I did not realize that it was one until the same friendly birder above told me so - I had a blurred photo to confirm its ID too.

Glasto Tor

Water rail

Reed bunting female


Monday, 26 January 2015

Frog for lunch?

OUR garden is small and sits in a row of gardens behind our terrace house, surrounded by other terraces.

In our small garden is a small 5x5ft pond.

Our pond does, though, support a pretty strong frog population.

On Saturday, when we returned home and I looked out of our upstairs window, this is what I saw on our neighbour's half built shed:

The question now is - do we have any frogs left?

I was amazed that in such an urban area as Bath a bird like this would contemplate a visit - I love my frogs, but I almost love the thought of a heron in our garden even more!

New Zealand Dotterel - in New Zealand

The north island has its share of wonderful species to match the south island.  I was particularly excited to be able to see the charismatic and endemic Northern NZ Dotterel on one of its breeding beaches; Opoutere on the Coromandel peninsula.

The beach supported some fab natural vegetation, including these cats-tail grasses.

This was a strange thing - perhaps an egg case - certainly not a tooth.  Any ideas?

The variable oystercatchers a prolific in NZ and can be seen on many beaches foraging in piles of kelp.

On the way to the beach we followed the path along the shoreline, but were surprised to find that it took us really near to nesting pairs of oystercatchers.  Not surprisingly they took umbrage, but we had gone to far to go back - the birds actually attacked us and made contact - we felt really bad about that.

Parent and chicks