When you're stuck inside because it's cold wet and blowing a hoolie outside but the radio (Classic FM) is telling you that England is fine dry and sunny. I really don't mind not being part of England and have no desire to resurrect my Scottish ancestry (the C stands for Campbell so I'm hated anyway) but they could at least recognise the grand kingdom of Northumbria even if they won't pay to upgrade our roads to National status. Rant over and bloody hell, the suns just come out. Thunderbolt from the blue next I guess.
Anyway the weathers not bad enough to prevent my pair of Blue Tits finding plenty of green caterpillars. They were managing one every four to six minutes last night but the wet was playing murder with the hair style!
A fresh batch of young House Sparrows were being fed by father but looked pretty miserable and baffled at being brought into such a harsh world.
Meanwhile Mrs Chaffinch oversaw the scene with a certain imperious look little knowing she was only a few feet above a Collared Dove that has nested just three feet from my back window. If the weather improves I may even be able to get a picture but all this shooting through glass is doing my head in, not helped by the Jackdaw chick in the front tree waking me before five each morning with its demands for food.
Off for Sunday lunch soon and an afternoon watching the Grand Prix before a quick trip down the Carr this evening. I hope the weather has improved some.
Delivered my car to Bank Top Garage in Prestwick and walked home counting birds and the likely cost as I went. Most of the usual suspects were present with Sedge Warblers being the most numerous closely followed by Chaffinch. A pair of Lesser black back Gulls were hanging around the area for a second day presumably looking for some easy pickings.
The deer were having a lazy morning next to the wood and apparently couldn't be bothered to run away. I was talking to an army chap earlier this week who said it was quite common for females to be lethargic at this time of year as they are likely to be heavily pregnant.
The males of course have no such excuse and being a hunter he was keen to be having a shot at the six point stag he'd just seen. I know the army lads have permission to hunt on the range but I'm unclear as to how this would be regarded by the recently stated intentions of the Wildlife Trust. The local yobs have left the deer relatively un-molested of late but there's always someone who wants to have a go. Hopefully this four pointer is less of a trophy.
Access to this feast has been improved by part re-surfacing of the road to the crossroads although why they do a 70 meter stretch then leave two gaps of 10 is beyond me. I guess a half cocked job is better than none but it will only encourage the horsey crowd to speed down to their steeds. The bumpy road is thankfully un-affected being a challenge even for the many cyclists who used it at the weekend. It is perhaps my use of this route that has led to my cars current demise.
Was at Havannah last night chasing yet another camera shy Lesser Whitethroat when near the pond I discovered a load of tadpoles on the rocks. As I was investigating one of the Coot pair gave me the evil eye then I realised that a duckling was speeding across the pond shortly to be followed by more emerging from the reeds with the other adult.
A feeding frenzy then ensued with the now six ducklings competeing for attention as the adults dived for weed. I did though notice that nasty Coot habit of giving the youngster a sharp peck after it has taken the food.
Ugly little blighters but I wish them well as even me standing there taking photographs didn't stop the dog walkers encouraging their mutt into the pond.
No not because the Swallows are about but I'm up to my neck in work and gazing longingly at the sunshine outside. Took some time out at the back window where a pair of Starlings are feeding a nest in the eaves above. One of the pair has a withered leg but it doesn't seem to have any effect on performance as the young get a mouthful every three - four minutes or so. I get roundly chastised for being near the nest of course but they wait in the tree or approach from the other side of the house.
A Blackbird stopped off on the roof briefly and his plumage was looking a bit tatty but he was too busy to worry about an unhappy snapper and just gave me a glance.
Only five more hours of torment to endure today......... maybe I'll take tomorrow off, that should ensure the garden gets watered.
First House Sparrow young of the year appeared yesterday lunchtime. Secreted in a Berberis in the front garden it appeared a bit under done initially but chirped away all afternoon with regular visits from Ma and Pa. Then early evening Pa turned up and the youngster looked far more spritely coming to the edge of the bush to beg before falling off onto the ground and following the adult away to begin life in earnest. Meanwhile one other nest has been lost to a Magpie but there are at least two more still feeding along with two Starling broods, one Dunnock nest which I can't find and Blue Tits in the rear box.
Meanwhile some excitement at Banks Pond yesterday lunchtime when I found a Willow Warbler with an unusual song. First thoughts of Iberian Chiffchaff were dispelled but I think this bird has picked up a strange variation from the usual clear descending song with the initial starting wicker seeming to be repeated throughout the passage. Sorry for the shake on the video.
No 98 on the Prestwick Carr list was found on Sunday but couldn't get any pics of the elusive Lesser Whitethroat singing in Blackthorn near the turning onto the Carr from Horton Grange Road. Sedge Warblers however are far more gregarious as the pics indicate.
Also on Sunday after a webs count that was almost a no count I was sitting at the traffic lights for the roundabout near B & Q in Scotswood and heard a Lesser Whitethroat in the bushes next to where the snack van parks. Stopped and checked it out but again no visual and such a strange place to choose amongst all the din from the traffic.
Two other Lesser Whitethroat sightings for me this month both west of Horsley village next to the A69. Maybe they like singing against the traffic noise!
After a mornings torment headed up to Whittle Dene on the off chance of some action shots. Had been watching the Common Terns on the wire above the dam road earlier in the week and attempted to get some courtship feeding shots but the female just wouldn't keep still. No change there then.
The male was pretty cool though just hanging about in the air.
Whilst the missus gave him a barracking for not doing his duty.
A birder who I have met on a number of occasions but whose name I still don't know (apologies)stopped and told me a Black Tern had been present yesterday. Was half hoping for the same but no sign in the hour I spent there. Plenty of Yellow Wagtails though strangely all female. Got the header shot as she looked on at the feast in the air but missed all the shots from the hide where a different bird was pouncing on them from the grass bank. Instead she mocked me from behind a Dandelion.
and the other residents just glided past imperially.
However just as I was about to leave a large bird glided over the reservoir and toward the reed bed. A couple of circles then off east only to perch for about twenty minutes near Albemarle. I sort of got the yellow head in flight but it was very pale. Fortunately the record snap shows the tri colour wing with large black fingers and a cream cap of immature female Marsh Harrier.
A week or so ago I posted a pic of a Snipe drumming. I've always been intrigued by the strange noise they make when displaying. Last night up the range track a bird spent ten minutes doing figure of eights around me climbing and diving with the outer tail feathers making that eerie sound. Managed to catch a few moments but not easy hand held with a 600 fixed F8 mirror and manual focus although these days you can just blast away and see what you get. Pretty average but then like I say, I'm a bit obsessed.
I guess I must get myself a new auto focus lens but things are a bit tight of late. I'll now wait for my fellow bloggers to provide some pin sharp, up the chuff piece pics of the same but be quick, the seasons nearly over!
Feelings are running high after the election with privacy being high on the agenda of Prestwick Carrs residents worried that they are becoming overrun by snap happy chappys in camouflage. A Whitethroat heckled 'churr, churrr, churrrrrr, take it, take it, take it, churr tut I'll wack, wack wack, yuh tut' as he was confronted by a Canon wielding lens man.
A Yellowhammer agreed commenting 'a bit a less shutter and peace off you pleeeease....'
Elsewhere House Martins finally made an appearance for No 97 on the 2010 list with a smart male Wheatear still in attendance in the horses field. Highlight of the week though was an immature male of big bird number 84 type which passed through on Wednesday evening. That was the cream on top!
sad old loner totally p****d off with life, work and modern society hence the propensity to head off into the wilds to escape.
Photos taken with Canon 500D and (from 14.06.13) Tamron 70-300 zoom following the demise of my Canon zoom.