One thing I am noticing though is that I'm having a nightmare taking long distance shots with my new lens. Even on a tripod I'm getting fuzzy images which is rather irritating. Bird in flight shots at anything other than directly in front of me feel like a complete waste of time at the moment as well. The new lens is proving to be a steep learning curve, far steeper than I was expecting. Anyway, let's get on with the show.
Never seen a Spoonbill in the wild before. I've seen them in zoos, but never in the wild. This isn't too surprising as they are typically found in Spain, North Africa and other hot climes. A few birds do tend to stay in the UK, and luckily, some of them are on my front doorstep. They get their unusual name due to their spoon-like bills, which are used to sift for all sorts of aquatic treats, from newts to crustaceans. There are only thought to be up to four breeding pairs in the UK at any one time, but they're typically seen at Arne, at most times of the year. These three were quite a long way, hence the heavy crop. Sadly they didn't do much, being content to simply stand around, rather than feed or do anything interesting. Oh well, there's always next time.
You can still make out their distinctive bills.
And here I am buggering around with the colour tints :P
I spent most of the morning at one of Arne's two hides, before meeting my wife at the small beach found on the reserve. She wasn't too keen on me going to the second hide, giving me only 10 minutes there :(
Luckily, 10 minutes was all I needed to spot this delightful little bird, meaning another name has been added to the list. The Redshank is a tiny little wader that gets its name from its red legs. They're relatively common throughout the UK and are typically found in groups, but this little fellow was on his own. At first I thought he was a sandpiper due to his tiny size, but a friendly passerby was able to confirm it and I double checked on the RSPB forum as well. Again this is a bird I've never seen before, so was more than pleased to spot it.
Here's a cropped close-up of the fella. Note the red legs.
Here's a comparison shot so you can see just how small he is.
So that's it for another week. I thought I saw a Whimbrel, but it was one of many Curlews and I've now missed the Cuckoos, meaning I'll need to wait a whole year for them to come back! Still, I've now hit 70 birds in total, meaning I only have another 202 left to spot. I don't think this is too bad for 11 weeks, but I have a feeling I'm going to have to be a bit more pro-active with my spotting if I want to keep on hitting this sort of target. I'll leave you with some other pictures from Arne.
I spotted this Curlew from one of the hides. It's sadly missing some feathers.
And here's another one having a little preen.
Oystercatcher flies in.
Shelduck goes for a swim.
A scruff pied wagtail gets curious.
A Grey Squirrel is too busy cleaning to care about me.
A far-off Linnet says hello.
A preening Shelduck.
A flying Little Egret, way off in the distance.
And another one fishing.