Sunday, 18 May 2014

Week One 21-04-2014 Birds Spotted: 19

Okay this is going to be a big update as I've been sitting on a few pictures which are currently store on my Flickr account. As I've just started this, I won't include images from before this week.

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Blackbird (Female)

I caught this female blackbird having a wash at Avon Park, which has just had a new hide installed. She was there for a good five minutes, splashing away without a care in the world.

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Dunnock (Male)

This little fellow may look like a Sparrow, but he's from a completely different family. They're very secretive birds and typically stick to the underbrush whenever possible.

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Short-Toed Treecreeper

I'm pretty sure its darker legs means this is the Short-Toed Treecreeper and not its more common cousin. I spotted this flying across the nature trail as the kids ran ahead of me. Not the most amazing shots, but I'm currently making do with a 250mm lens, which doesn't give me the best reach. Anyway, this is the first one I've seen in the wild so I'm quite chuffed with the spot.

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Greater Spotted Woodpecker (Male)

You need patience if you want to spot birds, more so if you want to try and get a good shot. I saw this female fly across several times, but she was always too quick for my camera. Eventually she got a little braver and flew in close enough for me to take the following.

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Robin (Male)

I love Robins, they're probably one of my favourite UK birds. So full of character and inquisitive. I saw this one at Coy Pond, on a routine trip before picking up the wife from work. They're normally pretty fearless, so you can get pretty close to them.

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Long Tailed Tit (Female?)

The exposure here isn't the best, but it's so rare that I see this bird. Interestingly, it isn't related to the other Tits found in the UK, and is instead related to a strain found in Asia. It's a gorgeous looking bird. so hopefully I'll get a better shot to replace this one. This was again taking on Coy Pond.

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Jackdaw (Male)

We went to Chessington last Tuesday and I caught this magnificent looking bird as I stopped for a spot of lunch. He'd just eaten a fair amount of food, which is probably why he's looking so pleased with himself. It's one of the most striking crows we have, although I'd argue the Chough would have a word of two to say about that.

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Starling (Male)

Starlings are gregarious little buggers, and they always hang around the feeder at my in-laws. This one was snacking on a bunch of meal worms and chasing away anyone else that got too near. While they still fly around in flocks during the evening, their numbers (like many garden birds) has greatly diminished.

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House Sparrow (Female)

Another gregarious little bird, and another found at Chessington. This one flew down in front of me while I was watching the penguins, so it was just begging to be snapped. House Sparrows are found throughout the world and are easily one of the most successful avian colonisers on the planet. The only other Sparrow native to the UK is the more secretive Tree Sparrow.

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Mute Swan (Male)

No matter what they do, Mute Swans always manage to look serene. This one was swimming on Iford Bridge and had just consumed some bread. He started to have a little preen after this shot, before swimming up river to chase off some Mallards who were annoying him.

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Herring Gull

While it's quite stocky, I'm pretty sure this is a Herring Gull and not a Great Black-Backed Gull. Herring Gull are found throughout the UK and are extremely common with over 140,000 breeding pairs. Oh and if someone calls them a sea gull clip them over the head, there's no such bird in the UK.

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Mallard (Male)

The humble Mallard is easily the most common duck in the UK. Don't fret though as it's a gorgeous looking bird that never gets the respect it deserves. It has some absolutely glorious colouration on it and the males are incredibly striking. Although I saw one at Chessington, I preferred this specimen at the Iford Bridge.

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Black-Headed Gull (Male)

Another very common gull that's found throughout the UK. Like the Herring Gull it's found inland as well as on beaches and is extremely sociable, with over 2.2 million birds wintering in the UK each year. Interestingly, it only has its black head (which is more a chocolate brown colour) during the summer.

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Gold Finch (Male)

The Gold Finch is easily identifiable thanks to the gold bars found on its wing and its red face markings. I spotted this little fella with a bunch of mates today at Avon Hide. Unfortunately, my camera's battery began to die as a group of five of them started bathing together, so I was only able to get this solitary shot of one of its own. It's a lovely looking bird though and I never get tired of photographing them.

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Pied Wagtail

You never know when you're going to spot a bird, so it's always best to keep your camera on you until the last possible moment. This little wagtail flew across my path just as we were heading to the car. They have an enchanting jaunty walk that I find quite endearing to watch. It's our most common wagtail and is found throughout the UK.

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Song Thrush

I used to see these all the time as a kid and they would regularly fly into my garden. They're a much rarer site today, although I was lucky enough to spot this one this very afternoon. It was skulking around in the bushes and finally plucked up the courage to have a wash. It did this for some time before drying off on a nearby branch. A gorgeous looking bird that's a lot smaller than the Mistle Thrush.

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Magpie (Male)

I said Jackdaws are one of our most striking crows, but I forgot about the Magpie. It's a fantastic looking bird with a great personality and a penchant for shiny objects. It's found all over the UK and is extremely opportunistic, feeding on carrion and anything else it can get hold of. There are over 600,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

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Great Tit (Male) 

Sometimes you are able to take great shots and sometimes you just get lucky. This one is one hell of a lucky shot. I was shooting on Sports and thought I had a picture of this Great Tit as it landed on the tree. While I did get that shot, the one I didn't see was far more spectacular.

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Chaffinch (Male)

My last bird of the week is another that was spotted at the Avon Hide. Sometimes confused with the Robin (although I can't really see why) it's another common and very pretty finch. The females are a lot drabber, and can often be mistaken for Sparrows.

So that it for week one. I've got off to a very decent start, but it's worth noting that I've had the week off. It's going to be interesting to see how much twitching I can get done over the following week, but I'm feeling optimistic.

So that's 19 birds spotted, 253 to go!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.