Tuesday, 18 October 2016

16 October 2016: Berry Head, near Brixham, Devon.

I had a spare hour or so on a relatively sunny afternoon so decided to visit Berry Head near Brixham in the hope that the Gannets would be fishing - there were quite a few Gannets flying but the little diving and fishing that was going on was way offshore. I alwys find it fascinating to see the different stages of the Gannet plumage, taking something like 4 or 5 years to get from the almost black first years to the beautiful adult colouring.

A solitary Guillemot - it always strikes me as strange to see soliatary ones or ssmall groups during the winter when the cliffs are alive with the breeding colony during the summer.

A small group of Razorbill

A juvenile Gull - Herring?

Porpoise cruising by


Shag diving in front of the local fishermen

Grey Squirrel cramming in as many berries as he can.

Carrion Crow at the car park.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

20 January 2015: Common Crossbill in the Forest of Dean.

A grey day in the Forest of Dean, hoping to track down those elusive Hawfinch. It was unusually quiet and I saw very few birds at Parkend green or even at Nagshead RSPB reserve. The other place where Hawfinch had been reported was Parkend Church. As I was unpacking kit from the car I noticed some bird sdrinking and at first thought they were chaffinch until I realised the male was redder than usual. A quick glance through the bins showed me Common Crossbill and I tried to get off some quick shots. As I took my first shot, the male took off but the females even waited until I got the camera mounted on the tripod.

The male had flown into a tree and was very badly backlit.

Eventually they flew off. I looked for Hawfinch and found none but could see some Siskin high in the trees above but they were too badly backlit and too high up. I decided to move on to Crabtree Hill to look for theGreat Grey Shrike. Everyone I met coming down said he was not to be seen but as I wa sthere and there was no timeto go anywhere else I pressed on. I found a small group of Fallow Deer
and a Treecreeper but no Shrike to be found.

Then it started to snow so time to beat a hasty retreat.

19 January 2015: Short Eared Owls at Hawling.

Once again, a spare hour and some late evening sunshine meant only one place to visit - Hawling. First out tonight were the Stonechat, with the male posing beautifully

Out came the Short Eared Owls.

This one was down in the grass looking for voles

A bit of Owl feistiness
but joining forces against larger intruders

I saw this adult Peregrine flying overhead with wings folded, actually stooping at one of the Owls, but he pulled out and flew on.