Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Poole Visit

I went down to Poole w/e of 15th February for my nephew Richard's wedding to the lovely Barbara. I have posted wedding pics on my facebook site. On the way down I saw Buzzards and visited the New Forest - Beaulieu Road Station and Keyhaven Harbour and Marsh plus a visit to Blackwater Arboretum. New birds for the year.... I was pleased to see Crossbills, Dartford Warbler, Stonechat and Woodlarks plus Hawfinch and Bullfinch at BA. On Sunday I saw Sandling in the Poole Harbour - then managed to catch up with Great Grey Shrike at Six Penny Handley along with a SEO! On the way back I saw a couple of Red Kites - one on the M3 near the Winchester turn off and one later just as the M3 joins the M25 (I as on the M3). What an amazing w/e .....the weather was sunny and dry! The Wedding was really enjoyable and it was good to catch up with my relatives and the Foster Family! Plus good friends of Kathy and Nigel (known as Nick). On Monday after a long walk in Richmond Park with my friends Belgium Shepherd dog Enzo - I went to Manchester. We went to watch Man Utd v Reading in the FA Cup. Pics on Facebook. (takes so long to post pics on here I might put up one or two later! We stayed at Old Trafford Lodge with a balcony overlooking Old Trafford Cricket Ground. On route for the Theatre of Dreams we found a Hotel that had a steak house and we had a nice 3 course meal with wine- bit different as we weren't sure we would get there in time to have anything but a bag of chips! ;) lol The atmosphere at OT is something special - I like live Football matches. Well they could have been 4-0 up by ht but chances ent begging and individuals played in fits and starts. However that really changed in the 2nd half hen Robin came on! He seemed to inspire the others and their confidence grew - and at 2-0 I think we thought MU would score more but Reading staged a comeback but MU gave away a sloppy goal and the last part of the game they were under pressure! Still a win is a win!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Pine Grosbeak

In Finland!
My Pine Grosbeaks from Finland 2012. Why this post? Easy I am looking at lots of photos of the Pine Grosbeak that is presently in Shetland! This bird came to light when I came back! It now emerges that it was there from November id as a Crossbill (no shame there). No way can I go back...commitments! I thought I would look at my photographs from last year....here is a pair who were passing seeds to each other! Just before Christmas I finally received the Trip report! If you wish to read it - its here

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Up Helly Aa Morning Parade

Showers ....but as the hour approached for the Parade the sun shone!
Jarl Stevie
The impressive line up of the Vikings and their boat!
The Chief Constable with the Vikings!
The proclamation

Kempton Park Nature Reserve Open Day

Spent a couple of hours at Kempton Park Nature Reserve this morning - it was an open day to celebrate World Wetlands Day. It belongs to London Borough of Hounslow but is run by Thames Water. I met the Manager, the pt Warden Colin, someone from LWT (London Wildlife Trust) and Thames Waters Local Authority Liaison person (who I knew) all really helpful and friendly. I have been meaning to visit over the last year but each time something else has prevented this! I signed up afterwards to be a Friend as its a delightful site and has some interesting flora and fauna on site including lots of Reed Buntings! More information as I get to know it! 2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general, and the Ramsar Convention in particular. 2013 is the UN International Year for Water Cooperation and an ideal opportunity for Ramsar to look at the connection between water and wetlands.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Up Helly Aa Morning thoughts

Hi all I was thinking that I haven't reflected the atmosphere very well in my posts. A key on trips like this is how the members in the 'bus get on and gel. Usually I find that as we are like minded - love birds and wildlife its really easy to get on with most people . OK sometimes you get the odd person but if you avoid religion and politics it usually works out- unless they are late to stuff- I have to admit I hate it if people are always late...being a punctual person myself. Yes things happen but sometimes a couple are always late and it irritates me beyond belief and on holiday I am quite a laid back person! To say our minibus of 8 plus Hugh was great is under-stating it - we worked well as a group and we had a terrific laugh! We also appeared to understand fieldcraft and when to be quiet without anyone having to say anything. Hugh Harrop is an outstanding guide and always goes several extra miles for his guests! I dont really feel like a guest anymore but a friend. Fortunately Hugh picks his guides well and Jon Dunn (who lives on Whalsay) is a brilliant guide and has a great sense of humour - I mention Jon as he was with the other group (we often met up in the course of the day) obviously we meet up in the evenings. I have been fortunate in the past to have been guided by Jon and he is full of fascinating stories and information.

Tuesday 29th Up Helly Aa Day Part1 Wildlife

We have three parts of the Fire Festival - so i thought I'd put the Wildlife together in one post and the UHA in another. First Port of call was Shetland Catch in Lerwick today there were more gulls than there had been and we were hopeful of an Iceland Gull. But alas not to be! Seals were very interested in the bread- as they are fed fish by the trawlermen and think thats what we have! So they come very close!
The water is so clear in the Harbour you can see the seals body! But I do love the very big guy! Next are some reflective shots using the colour of the hulls on the water for light interest! The Eider shot was a surprise just as I had both males in focus one dived!
After the Harbour we went to Scalloway to have lunch - superb fresh fried fish and chunky chips at Scalloway Hotel. Huge portions! Then to Laxfirth as Twite had been seen by the other group the other day - by the time e ent there as too much working going on! We arrived and heard them as we got out the minibus! Eventually they fle up to the wires and about 25-30 were sitting and calling! Happy Corinna. After looking at several Slav Grebes and a few other bits and pieces it as back to the site of the Mountain Hares nearby. Would they show? Could I get a pic or record shot this time?
I took a pic of the area where we had seen Mountain Hares - then one appeared and I managed a record shot! Later on as we ent to pick up the treking photographers another Hare appeared closer to the bus and I just shot a pic- really pleased as its the one standing up!

Scalloway and Gulls

The delightful Ring-billed Gull at Scalloway. We tried on two occasions yesterday to see this bird - our other Shetland Wildlife group tried once (?) and a local birder as there for a long time in the afternoon....no sightings had the bird flown? Fortunately not! Also here were Common and Herring Gulls.
I really enjoyed watching the antics of the Gulls chasing the bread!

Monday 28th Jan. UHA part 4

Windy again! As we had sought and failed to see Otters yesterday it as decided that our group would go to the North Mainland...a fair distance so we left just after 8...the other group was going to go to Boddam. We were making good progress north when Hugh's mobile rang and it was Jon- his group were watching the Mother Otter who has a holt at Boddam! We turn around and speed south! When we arrived there was the Adult female Otter eating on a rock quite close to the road. We all got good views before unfortunately the local council skip lorry arrived to collect the skip nearby! The Otter took off! We stayed and after the Lorry had departed with its skip we searched the sea (voe). Eventually we spotted a shape in the water near rocks in the middle of the voe! We then enjoyed watching the Mother and two cubs playing in the surf and having a great time! Fantastic!
We went to St.Ninians and this was the sea! On this though were Long-tailed Ducks, Great Northern Divers and the inevitable Tysties! It was wild and wooly!
Lerwick Harbour
This is to show how rough it as in the very sheltered harbour!