Thursday, 30 October 2014

Lots of tails - 23rd October 2014

Pied Wagtail
We went to Radipole to see if we could track down a Long-tailed Duck and a massive Pied Wagtail flock.

Long-tailed Duck
We could see the duck from the Visitor Centre so we went in for a closer look. But our luck was about to turn. The bird took off and flew further left down the river. As I'm not really a flight shot sort of person I don't have much experience so I didn't get very good pictures at all but I thought I'd show you; the Long-tailed Duck is in the bottom left hand corner.

Little Grebe
We walked down the river trying to find the Long-tailed Duck, we had no luck though. We saw a Little Grebe also known as a Dabchick swimming close in to the river bank.

While we at the river bank we saw a Kingfisher on the other side, nightmare to photograph as it is a small bird and was quite a long way away. It also blends in well with the green bush so I spent about five minutes trying to get a decent picture.

Pied Wagtail
The number of Wagtails gradually increased as we stayed there longer. We drove up to some wags in puddles to see if we could get a picture of the Wagtail's reflection. We managed to get close enough to get this picture.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

What was around - October 2014

Northern Wheatear
Quite a long time ago, we went to Swanage where a Wheatear was peskily flying around a bench making it difficult to photograph but when there was finally an opening, I managed to get an off-centred shot. Well worth the wait though.

Rosy and Common Starlings
More recently we went to Portland to chase a Rosy Starling around a housing estate. The weather was not great with grey skies and cold temperatures; the chances of getting a decent photo seemed slim. We had been looking for a while now and eventually spotted the Starling on a nearby chimney so we walked closer but those photos were not very good. After a long time, we cracked and decided to go. We drove down a lane to turn round and typically, the Rosy Starling had moved into a perfect photo position alongside a Common Starling.

Brent Goose
We went to Studland in search of Brent Geese and we weren't let down. Swimming just off the shore, it seemed they wanted their own picture. Unfortunately, the sun let us down, refusing to come out behind overcast skies. But when eventually it poked out to say hello it still wasn't that bright due to the trees higher on the cliff, creating shadows that covered the black feathers of the Brents. With poor light it was going to be a difficult shot.

On the way back, a stop was required as a Jay was in a nearby tree. This Jay was very active as it was collecting food so was I panicking a bit. The bird kept ducking behind trees and flying away. After a while it came up on a branch and perched. I am really disappointed that I chopped the tail off but thought I'd show you anyway.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A Double Dose of Radipole - 4th and 5th October 2014

We went over to Portland to see what was there and with reports of Rosy Starling, it sounded appealing.  Unfortunately, we didn't manage to see it perched, but only flying around.  Being on Portland, a trip to the smelly pig farm was called for.  Why were you going to a pig farm? I hear you ask; well, we would only go somewhere that stank for the purpose of a Hooded Crow, a Dorset rarity.  This was the 3rd attempt, so I was really hoping to see it.  Didn't see it, surprise surprise. Having wasted precious time, we headed to Radipole to see if we could be put out of our misery and to a degree, we were.  Dad suggested that I tried to get a head shot of a Mallard.

It would have been great to know that I had photographed a Water Rail but when the news broke from Dad that it was a young Moorhen, it was slightly disappointing.

Hooded Merganser
Now, there's a story to this bird, brace yourself, it's a long one.  In 2008, this Hooded Merganser was found in a drain on Chesil Beach.  Everyone got very excited as this species is from America.  Lots of people thought that it had flown all the way over the Atlantic Ocean.  But when it went over to Radipole, suspicions were raised as to whether it was an escape.  And to this day it is still at Radipole.

Mediterranean Gull
Considering we were at Radipole, we just had to check out the flock of gulls in the carpark to see if there were any Mediterranean Gulls around, and sure enough there were.  They look much better in the summer but you can still see the bright red bill which you can see all through the year.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron
Day 2 - As it was a calm day, we decided to go to Radipole again, Bearded Tit spotting; well, technically not spotting as we didn't see any. We went around the loop and only managed to see a Wren and a few miscellaneous waterbirds.  We returned to the bridge where a Snipe was well camouflaged against the reedbed.  As the weather had turned all dull and grim, it was hopeless.  But just round the corner of some closer reeds, a Grey Heron was looking like it had an empty stomach.  The fish is visible in the beak.

Mute Swan
Swans are always close to the bridge and this one was no exception.

It is quite rare to see a Gadwall this close and I seized the opportunity when the light was on it.