Sunday, 20 November 2011

Desert Wheatear, Bempton, Yorkshire 27 November 2011

Had a great day out today with my good mate Mike Watson. He rung last night asking if I was up for a trip to Bempton, Yaarkshire for the Desert Wheatear thats been at the cliffs RSPB reserve. We set off at 0600 and had arrived by 0930.
The wind blowing in off the sea was abysmal and because of this it took nearly an hour for the wheatear to show. The sun came out (even though it was still wild), and the bird stared to feed on the insects that were obviously warming up under the weak sunshine.
I photographed a desert wheatear in December 2007 at Burniston just a bit further up the coast, which was unbelievably obliging, and this bird was no different. It regularly walked past the watching birders without a problem as it fed in the stubble field.
The one negative was the birder who blatently walked AT the bird without ant care for its welfare.
Sad to hear also on the way home that Gary Speed had died.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Greater Yellowlegs, Hauxley Nature Reserve, Northumberland, 14 November 2011

Ive had a real rush today. I dropped Ellie off at school at 0830 in order to get up to Northumberland for the cracking Greater Yellowlegs that has been residing at Hauxley Nature Reserve for the past 2 days. I was hoping to see and photograph the bird, and then get back in time to pick Ellie up at 3 15pm.
It couldn't have gone any better really. I arrived at Hauxley about 1030, to be told by a leaving birder that the bird had disappeared. AAAARGH!
I decided to walk, quite briskly to the Eric Hide by the South Pool where the bird had been seen last. As I was walking up towards the small hide (not much bigger than a shed), birders were all stood on the bank viewing the bird at distance. I had a look over the fence, and indeed, the bird was feeding with a grey phalarope. Excellent.
Already in the bag, now the wait for it to come closer.
A birder then stepped out of the hide, and walked away. obviously satisfied with his views.
I asked if anyone was sitting in the now vacated spot (bang centre of the hide), to which I was told 'No'. I took my position in the hope the bird would walk past.
Within minutes, the bird took off and flew the opposite direction to the other side of the lake. Superb!
Its fed on the far bank for approximately 15 minutes, then flew back to where it had been earlier. All of a sudden it called, then flew again an landed right in front of the hide. It stood on a rock for a while then walked left before feeding on presumably a stickleback. Blinding views!
The bird then flew again, this time left in the direction of the Wader Hide. Most of us got up and headed to the other hide, which was massive compared to Eric Hide.
The bird had indeed flown round and was feeding on the perimeter edge of the lake. It then headed past the window and landed on the rocky area towards the left of the hide. The bird stood for a while before flying off to the island in the middle of the lake and out of site.
I took this opportunity to set off back, and go and pick Ellie up. I arrived at school with 40 minutes to spare, and a superb bird in the bag.