Saturday, October 29, 2011

mixture of stuff


I didn't realise how difficult it is to take photos of Crows - this one wouldn't stop moving! lol!
It was as if he was saying you are not going to get me - all of me and if you do it will be out of focus!haha

more birds in Osterley

Bird pics

Experimenting with new camera

Tree trunks

Macro flowers

Osterley Park in Autumnal colours!

The new camera had an outing to Osterley Park in the autumnl sunshine!
Lumix Panosonic FZ150.

Monday, October 24, 2011

World Polio Day

Its World Polio Day

Polio has almost been eradicated across the World but there are still a few countries where this is not the case.

Many of Hounslow's Labour Councillors have joined with Hounslow Rotary Club in calling on residents to raise awareness of the disease.
The following iis on the Council's Homepage.

"To mark World Polio Day (Monday 24 October), Hounslow’s deputy mayor, Cllr Ajmer Grewal and Hounslow Rotary Club are calling on residents to help raise awareness of the disease.

You can do your bit by commenting, posting, tweeting and talking on as many social networks as possible, including news sites, using the following phrase #rotaryendpolio in messages.

The date also marks the birthday of Dr Jonas Salk, who developed the world’s first safe and effective vaccine against this crippling and sometimes deadly disease."

Then it gives the link I have embeded in the word Polio.

Good for Hounslow Council and the Hounslow Rotary Club.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tanzania revisit!

Photos by Pat Simmons

Finally I make it back to Tanzania photos - cant believe we are at half term October- time flies as they say!
Pats photographs have been saved to DVDs and now I am downloading them to my pc!

Finally a catch up!

As ever behind the times!
Last week I went to Norfolk - I saw some very nice birds - I self found some year ticks (which is obviously better and brilliant!)- I also was in the right place at the right time to not see the Rufous-tailed Robin!

I saw what probably was the RTR - but it was all black - nope thats correct - a silouette - why did I not see the bird? Well if you have read the tales of the finder and his mate - it took a tip top birder with bags of experience 90 mins of doggily(is that a word?)no doggedly thats the word! - seeking to see the bird enough to call it!
Now I have never claimed to be anything than a learning birder- yes I can take kids and friends out to show em birds but I still need to have the Collins at hand to check some stuff out- I am very lucky in that I bird usually with more experienced biders so I have a fount of their knowledge to call on!
I have quite a good life list with some wonderful birds on it - most of the birds have been added since I took vvv early retirement and so I have time to go see birds but I cant always go to see birds I would like to see cos of committments - as a local cllr who is also a cabinet holder means I cant always drop everything or I would be posting this from Shetland as I speak!

But I am not a a bad birder - actually I am a bad birder according to that book and an Urban Birder according to that book!I am capable to adding a tail to a wing and a head even if only glipsed a midst twigs and leaves and stuff but its impossible to call a bird even if its the only bird in the tree bush or shrub or whatecer when you cant see more than an outline - now I think I saw it! My bins are really good in low light but I couldnt say I could describe what I saw as anything than a bird (sp)- or a robin (sp) very frustrating as I knew I couldn't return next day - as I had an early appointment with a rugby game before I was going anywhere!But more than that I knew the weather forecast and I knew the bird would fly and not be there tomorrow!
I was glad I was present in Norfolk and able to get to try to see the bird with a lot less people around than the masses that turned up the following morning. But we all ended up with the same result! DIP!
But the day had been good - with Lapland Bunting and Richard's Pipit and Jack Snipe- as well as lots of other birds that I had seen before this year but were not additional to the year list
The w/e got better with RFBT in Kent - some nice birds at Dunge -and a Pallas' Warbler around the Obs! then the most amazing pager report a Isabelline (nope not Shrike)but Wheatear in Sussex.
I had started at Cliffe - got a message that a Redflanked Bluetail had turned up down the road at Northward Hill and ended in Sussex via Dungeness! Little did I know that I would be back at Cliff the following day to see my 3rd Daurian (Isabelline) Shrike within 3 weeks!

Thanks Andrew Lawson for the Izzy Shrike!
This was for my Kent list but also it was an Adult male and the adult female I had studied at Hillside on Mainland Shetland was a gorgeous bird but a male adult well that would be stunning!

When a Booted or Sykes Warbler was on the pager at Landguard that was it off I went- hoping it was a Booted! I had seen Sykes Warbler on Shetland last year - but dipped a couple of Booted there after I had seen the Sykes. A strange but true tale now breaks forth - most of the massed birders at Landguard wanted the bird to be Sykes but me nope I wanted it to be a Booted!Whatever happened whether it was a Sykes - well it would be a year list tick! But when I saw the bird well it was a Booted- finally! Great stuff.
Now do I like Suffolk - yes indeed!

Lesser Yellowlegs on Scillies

Another of Nick Bond's photos - that very showy and rather glam LYL!

I am trying not to be too upset about the Siberian Rubythroat on Mainland Shetland.
Committments mean I cant go - but would I if I could...yes its a special bird and I love Shetland! The way the winds are looks like it might be a good week ahead up there.
You never know we might get one in Suffolk or Kent/Sussex or Surrey soon?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

catch up to the 300 year tics!

Yup finally got to the 300 year tics!
It really is about planning where you go each year mainly.

I havent visited Highlands this year so a lot of easy birds are not on my list yet - like my favs Golden Eagle.
Crested Tit and the parrotxbill plus scot xbills! plus the grouse black and red! and Ptarm plus Capers! losing 8 is a deal!

I havent twitched that much this year =I am going to do less next as I want to sort out a local patch but I will be visiting the Shetlands and Fair Isle again in October.
and if its a lifer well I need those!

However I do have comittments as a local cllr and I cant just drop everything like I might like!
I find it strange that I am on 300 already and have meet my committments yet in 2006 I was relatively clear to go where I wanted after May and I am 14 behind my best year list!
Experience tells!

Friday, October 14, 2011


Thank you Nick for the above images thats Nick Bond if you dont know my famous Widerscope friend

Shetland birding

Whilst I was in Scotland - mainly Shetland for two weeks - I took advantage of the early Saturday morning and finally clawed back the Sandhill Crane I had so unfortunately missed when onevisited the Orkney's in 2009. (Dont think I have really forgiven Seth for not phoning to see if I had a lift! -oh yes I think I have now he is all engaged to the lovely Sami!- but only when my wedding invite lands on the doorstep!)

The first week on Shetland was really different in that there was more sun than in my trip in June 2010 - lol and I didn't have any suncream- nor did anyone else! Still there was wind but from the wrong direction - the birding was hard and the actual birds seen fewer than I have experienced before on Shetland.

Shetland Wildlife now have a facebook site and publish a photo a day plus brief report- so I shared these daily for the fortnight on my facebook site.
You do not need to be signed up to facebook to see these just go to Shetland Wildlife 's website and click opn the link- start with saturday 24th, or go to my facebook page.

THat saved me doing a trip report - since I still havent written up Tanzania report properly it was a godsend!

I do have some rather nice scenery pics from this trip of my own which will go up at some point probably on a dark winters night!

The second week on Shetland was rather different in that we saw lots of species on the Sunday but it was still tricky birding due to the high winds rain and even snow and sleet!

We still saw some superb birds , Otters and of course Seals both types and Harbour Porpoises.
Sussex Pallid Harrier being bird of that week-
Sandhill Crane stood out on its own for week ending 24th Sept - the Long-toed Stint only being a squint in the scope!
Bird of the first week - a splendid Lesser Grey Shrike- adult male with gorgeous peachy breast! followed by the Black Headed Bunting(juv) on Unst that was a lifer for me.Two visits - one distant and gloomy views on the Wednesday evening it was first seen- a fast twitch from one end of Unst to the other, and rather better views on the Thursday morning on our way off Unst- delayed there by the ferries not running to Unst for a couple hours whilst they went to Fetlar for a funeral. I did add to my Shetland list with quite a few raptors - all seen well! Including another Pallid Harrier - my third different one for the year. This one was oiled from the Fulmars - who clearly took a dislike to this bird. He still managed to entertain me and the visiting and local birders well during the trip.

Bird of the second week was a tie between a rather lovely Olive-backed Pipit on Unst at Balta School.Not on the Tuesday evening when it didn't settle for very long but the next day after school when it was very confiding and sometimes was too close for the digi videoing that was taking place!

The other bird of the week was the gorgeous adult female Isabelling Shrike in that rather splendid valley of Quendale (includes Hillside) what a local patch!
Even I got a video of this delightful bird eating a mouse!