Sunday, 15 February 2015

Rats, squirrels (and the occasional bird)

Yesterday saw an RPS field trip to Wicken Fen to photograph landscapes and birds.  I spent the morning in the Roger Clarke hide helping people who were new to nature photography, as the location was suitable for those with relatively short lenses.  We didn't realise how short, though, as there was a feeder less than 2 metres away from the hide which was visited regularly by a brown rat!

The final picture is typical of several I managed to capture during the morning's session.  Those rats can't half move...

There wasn't much bird life around, but one of the other feeders attracted squirrels.

There were a few birds in view - mainly chaffinches and blue tits - but, as here, the odd blackbird, great tit and greenfinch.

We were also visited for a short period by a great spotted woodpecker.

The day ended with us standing by the visitors' centre in the gathering gloom waiting for the harriers to come in.  We saw three marsh harriers, along with the highlight of the day: a male hen harrier.  Too dark for a decent picture, but who cares with such a magnificent bird?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cley Marshes on a very grey day

The weather forecast was for dark cloud cover yesterday, but we headed to Cley Marshes on the North Norfolk coast for a spot of bird watching nevertheless.  We counted 27 species in total, which is not bad for a day's effort.

First up was a rather obliging little egret.

In ten-pin bowling, I think this might be called a "godwit split".

There were several marsh harriers flying around, but always in the far distance.

There were plenty of golden plover and lapwing to be seen.

And the more common-or-garden species, such as the wood pigeon (not a collared dove, as has been pointed out to me by several people!) and a pair of mallard.

I originally believed this to be a pochard pair, but Ann has since put me straight and told me they're wigeon.  That makes two mistakes in the original post, so I'll clearly have to do better in future!

I loved the shoveler, which seemed to have its beady eye on me.

We also saw a pair of stonechat, although I only managed to photograph the female.

The main treat of the day was a group of bearded tits which were feeding very close to the path.

Finally, Cley Mill with the leaden grey sky in the background, and my faithful dumb blonde who thoroughly enjoyed the walk around the perimeter of the bird reserve.