Sunday, 14 May 2017

Brand new lifer seen on patch (07-14 May) 73 birds

On the 7th I headed off to my local patch.
I'd been invigorated by the many new birds that had been seen and was eager to find more so I took my 600mm prime lens as it gives me the best chance at record shots.

The car park was relatively full when I got to the lakes, but it didn't register really as I was quite late in the morning and model boat enthusiasts were normally there. Wondering around I casually walked up to a man and asked him if he'd seen anything of interest. "Well the Black Terns are over there".

Several Swallows and a House Martin on the right hand side.
"You what?" I replied, immediately excited because I'd never seen one before. He kindly let me look through his scope but as the birds were moving too quickly I couldn't see one. Quickly getting frustrated my rising anger turned to sudden elation when one flew straight past me.

Shaking with excitement (because it is exciting when you find a brand new bird I thanked the man for his help and hurried off to the far side of the lake, notifying my rival Martin as I went.

The Black Terns were resting on a bouy, but a high crop and heat haze stopped me getting anything better than this.
I found lots of Swallows resting on some branches in the middle of the lake, as well as my first Sand Martins of the year. Rushing around the side of the lakes were the terns were flying I finally caught up with some more birders. And that's were it all started to go wrong...

No matter how I tried I simply couldn't lock onto the birds with my camera. I couldn't work out whether it was poor technique, the dull weather or my lens, but I was struggling to get any sort of decent pictures.

Not the greatest of shots, but it does highlight what beautiful birds the Black Tern is.
Incredibly frustrated I kept taking snaps, eventually filling my card and decided to head home. I'm glad I saw the terns as they're relatively rare and incredibly graceful birds, but I was greatly upset that my gear had seemingly let me down.

Still I'm now on 73 birds for the year on patch and now have a total of 151 birds for the blog.

This juvenile Herring Gull highlights just how small the Terns are.
I headed back down to Longham on the 14th as a Bar-Tailed Godwit had been spotted the previous day, but I saw very little of interest aside from a singing Whitethroat and around 5 Cetti's Warblers.

Another shot of the Black Tern in flight.
I'm glad I have a prime, as I wouldn't have got this shot otherwise.

And here's a non-cropped shot to highlight just how far out they were.
I had no problem locking onto fast-flying Swifts in the evening, so I think the poor light was against me.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Patchwork Challenge Trip 12 (01 Mayl) 71 Birds

Headed off down the patch again today as I heard that rare Black Terns had been spotted the previous day. I never saw them, but within moments of getting to the patch I heard my first Cuckoo of the year calling.

The reeds were absolutely thriving with singing Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings and I must have counted close to 20 birds of each as I spent a couple of times walking around the lakes.

Cetti's Warblers are a right pain. This is the best I could manage!
I found a Pheasant in one of the back fields and then I caught up with Martin at the far end of South lake and chatted with him and his son as we walked the remaining section lake. We didn't see anything of note, other than a fox carrying something which looks like a small badger from the photo I took.

Not the greatest shot, but it will do.
Once we reached the small island Martin found some Shelducks (my first at Longham) giving me three new birds for the day. I'm now very close to beating last years record so I'm going to make a lot of effort as I'm still missing a fair few relatively easy birds, including Kestrel, Sedge Warbler, and in total there's still 29 common to uncommon birds that I've not seen yet.

Total birds = 71

Here's the fox Martin spotted. Opinion is divided on what it's carrying.
A Carrion Crow trying to trick me into thinking it's a Raven.

I really like how elegant this Mute Swan looks.