Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bean Goose makes it 198

What a sensational morning! A report of an Arctic Redpoll in Lord's Holt was the lure. But the sights and sounds from the South Bank of the Nene Washes west of Eldernell were more than adequate compensation for the non-showing finch.

A Barn Owl had already shown well at the playing field on Eldernell Lane and another then flew over the carpark carrying what looked like a small bird - perhaps a Reed Bunting.

Bewick's Swans were already leaving the roost area and flying east past the carpark in small flocks before dawn and in the half light a couple of Black Swans passed with them. Then I noticed two geese heading straight for me and got the scope on them. I thought they were Pink-footed Geese at first but as the sun rose behind me I could clearly see the upperwings were largely dark and they were in fact Bean Geese. Watching one very closely revealed a limited pale band on the bill indicating these were probably of the Tundra race (rossicus). This is another welcome addition to my list of PBC area finds.

Shortly after Weedon's World of Nature arrived also drawn by the Arctic Redpoll report and I called him over to see a herd of 5 Roe Deer I had just noticed distantly over on the north side of the washes just west of The Decoy Wood. One of them was a stag with a full set of antlers.

There were still at least 40 Whooper Swans there by the time we reached the floods where I had brief views of a Water Pipit and a Stonechat before we turned our attentions back to the wood. Further highlights included the noisy threesome of two males and a female Great Spotted Woodpeckers in Lord's Holt and the calls of the Swans as they continued to leave the roost for about 2 hours.

In the end only 5 Lesser Redpolls showed in the Holt and they didn't stay long.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Velvet Shank Again

A fairly unproductive trip to the west side of Milton Park from Salter's Tree with a whole batch of photos of a cooperative Green Woodpecker in the bin. At least this fungus doesn't move but it looks very different from the previous examples of this species (see here).

Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes)

Nikon Coolpix 995

Sunday, January 15, 2006

First Moths of 2006

A good week earlier than in previous years these two were attracted to an actinic trap on Saturday night during this mild spell.

The Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)

Pale Brindled Beauty (Apocheima pilosaria)

Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Popular Crossbills

What a difference a bit of sun makes. Today Southey Wood was host to at least three digiscopers and a couple of DSLR photographers. We were all after the Crossbills that Eugene had noticed were drinking at a puddle in the main carpark. Luckily a drinking session coincided with our visit and although I didn't manage to get any pictures on the ground these are very satisfying indeed. At least 14 birds were there today.

Weedon's World of Nature photos
And some others here

All photos are clickable for large versions.

Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Monday, January 09, 2006

The sun comes out

Not for long mind you but this is the first sun I've seen for a while. The bike ride along the north bank of the Nene is one of my favourite lunchtime jaunts. Green Sandpiper, Tawny Owl, Grey Wagtail, etc. all showed. The birds below were in a field with Redwings and Starlings near Padholme Pumping Station.

Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrelli)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Velvet Shank

A pleasant walk through Little and Great Morton Sale woods today revealed a good number of Marsh Tits but few other birds. This fungus is one that survives hard frosts so can remain in good condition through the winter. You can't see it clearly in the shots but the stems are dark and velvety.

Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes)

Nikon Coolpix 995

Friday, January 06, 2006

Southey Crossbills

This was a great find by Richard Astle and an excellent target for a lunchtime dash with Weedon's World of Nature. We soon located the flock a little way along the main track just before the power lines. There looked to be eleven birds present and this was confirmed as they all flew off noisily towards the carpark where they gave excellent views.

These birds feed noisily in the tops of the pine trees but you may have to examine quite a few squirrels making a similar noise in the treetops before finally locating the 'bills.

The picture is a miracle of digiscoping in the dark against the sky: it hardly felt like it got light today. This shot of a male holding a cone in one foot and working it with its specially designed bill is the best I could manage.

There are now better pictures on Bogbumper.

Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77