Sunday, 6 December 2009

Winter colour

After the rain cleared and the sun came out around 10.00am on Saturday morning headed out to make best of the light and ended up at 5.00pm in the dark having had an enjoyable day. 43 species found including a wintering Chiffchaff near the golf course and 73 Pink footed Geese over north. Many of my shots today seemed to end up as silhouettes against the sky which I shall combine in a later post but after a miserable Sunday I have had without the benefit of electric power (you wouldn't think Dinnington was so remote as to have three power cuts in the last two days would you) I need some colour.

The yellowhammer flock at the goats is building as are the Lapwing and Golden Plover flocks on the floodwater. They were very restless as were the Fieldfare who at this time of year are a difficult photo opportunity as their safe distance is about thirty feet and you just end up pushing them along the hedgerow until they fly off. You can try waiting at the field edge for them to come close but that's a better ploy next year when they are far less cautious but unfortunately, not quite so colourful.
Not quite so colourful were the three juvenile Mute Swans on the flash water who I had seen being chased by adults earlier perhaps now on their own for the first time. They were clearly familiar with humans, probably Killingworth birds as they came straight over expecting to be fed.
Signs of the ugly duckling changing to a beauty beginning to appear.

The day ended in now traditional fashion waiting for the owl display and last night I was not alone. Crammy birder, STH and MSH along with Bill, J & K plus 1 photographers and two couples filled the gate near the goats and we were not disappointed as up to four birds flew, one landing on prey about fifty yards away. Looking around warily to protect its catch the bird could clearly be seen tearing pieces off and eating. I thought owls ate their prey whole but maybe the crowd made the bird refine its table manners.

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