Bugboys mission

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Wurzel
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:15 pm

Great set of bird shots Bugboy :D I reckon your waders in the distance are Dunlin as they seem so much smaller than the Oystercatcher and darker than Knot, there could be some Sandering in there as well but they usually come across as a blur as they race in and out with the tide :D

Have a goodun

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:04 pm

Keep the bird images coming, Bugboy! Right now I'm happy to gorge myself on any natural event in the UK given that butterflies are still a few weeks away.

Hopefully you'll get your first quite soon and we'll be back to normal service.

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:13 pm

You're probably right Wurzel, there were large flocks of them 'hanging out' at high tide on my previous visit :)
I'll see what I can do David, it's just getting the weather to cooperate with my days off! If it stays dry tomorrow I feel a trip to the London Wetlands Centre may be in order, lots of Bitterns are there again this winter :) (well I say lots, 4 is the number I was told today but where Bitterns are concerned that equates to lots, especially considering this is central London!)
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:33 pm

Well David, the weather was very cooperative today, a lovely crisp January day so it was off to the London wetlands Centre. Who knows, maybe I would even find a Red Admiral.... well, sadly no, but there were plenty of birds around and a few signs of Spring to signal that winters grip is starting to wain.

Robins were singing from various vantage points
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meanwhile out on the water Gulls were commonplace, Herring, Great & Lesser-black Backs, Common and Black-headed were all present in varying numbers. Black-headed were by far the most numerous
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A Lesser-black Back and Herring mingling with some Black-headed Gulls

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A Great-black Backed towering over a Crow lurks in a small flock of Herring Gulls


A bit of action here and there
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A Cormorant swoops past the hide

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A Gadwall comes in for a bumpy landing whilst being ignored by a Lapwing and some Canada Geese

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and a Coots Bum as it dives for some lunch.


Further out a couple of Great-crested grebe were practicing their moves for breeding
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Good numbers of Wigeon and Shoveler winter here every year
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More notable was a shy Pintail drake. They're like the duck equivalent of the Long-tailed Blue, one of the most widespread and numerous ducks in the northern hemisphere but only a handful of pairs breed in the UK (although several thousand do winter here).
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Here's a Moorhen who couldn't care less about being around people
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The highlight of the day came in one hide where on one side, 4 Snipe were showing well, feeding only around 10 feet away at one point
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Whilst out the other side a Bittern was skulking in the reeds (nothing skulks like a Bittern skulks!), so lets play spot the Bittern :)
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It never came out whilst I was there

A few exotica and a rather nonplussed Bewick's Swan to finish (all captive hence why they're so close)
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Red-breasted Geese

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Emperor Goose

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Wurzel
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:09 am

Great set of shots Bugboy, really like the Snipe which are a difficult species to see at the best of times let alone get a clear shot of :D :mrgreen: I enjoyed playing 'Where's Boomer?' :wink: Spying a Bittern in the reeds is a bit like those 3D pictures, you stare at it for long enough and suddenly the bird appears :D :lol:

Have a goodun

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:01 pm

You had another good day, BB, and you're right....portents of spring are definitely there!

Well done with the snipe and what a magnificent beast that Emperor Goose is!

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Goldie M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Goldie M » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:27 pm

Great shots Bugboy, We've a place near us called "Martin Mere" which you'd enjoy, they've got many species of birds there that are
rare it's quite an experience going there. Goldie :D

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:22 pm

That Bittern took a bit of finding in your photos...how on earth did you spot that :shock:

Some great reports and photos from your recent days out :D

Cheers,

Neil

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:05 pm

Yes although I've never visited Godie, I'm familiar with Martin Mere. All the WWT reserves are worth visiting if you happen to be near them since they all attract their own specialties
Thanks Wurzel and Neil, I thought I'd make 'Boomer' easy :lol: to spot by making sure it was in the center of the image. I can't take credit for finding him though Neil, the hide was already being camped out by the twitchers who had discovered him earlier that day, and were most likely still there watching his every twitch at closing time :roll: !

Anyway, bit of catching up,

4th February, Essex again

On Sunday I went back to Two Tree Island, this time in the company of my Padawan. It was bitterly cold again, but enough blue sky helped make the day worthwhile. High tide was 3pm so getting there around 11.30 gave us amply time to wander around and wait for the birds to be chased in by the rising water. The birdlife on display was as expected much the same as previous visits but still plenty to point a camera at.
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Wigeon (and the odd Teal)

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Several flocks of Lapwing flew over

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Teal

The tide starts to push the birds closer
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A mixture of waders, Curlew, Dunlin, Turnstone, Sanderling, Knot, Grey Plover

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Brent Geese

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Lapwing, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Shelduck, Avocet, Oystercatcher

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Mostly Dunlin came into the Lagoon today

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A trio of Black-tailed Godwit having a skirmish whilst a fourth tries to stay out of trouble.

5th February, Walthamstow

On Monday I had a half day and not wanting to waste a pleasant afternoon I spent a few hours birding on my local patch.

The Blackthorn here always flowers exceptionally early, nevertheless it is a sign spring is just around the corner.
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In the middle of the Marshes is a riding school and the paddocks provide rich pickings for any birder all year round, I regularly see Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail during passage and it’s the only place I know locally where Linnets are resident. During the winter, Meadow Pipits, Pied/White Wagtails and the winter Thrushes always set up camp here and it was the latter that kept my attention today. In fact, the paddocks were teaming with Thrushes, all five species were clearly visible through my bins, not quite so through my camera (one day I may invest in a lens more suitable to this kind of photography :oops: ).
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Pied/White Wagtail

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Redwing

The Mistle Thrushes did let me down slightly by not allowing me to get all five in one picture.
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One did make up for it though by coming nice and close though, deciding that the fence was plenty protection from me.
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On the way home a Goldcrest attracted my attention and I managed to grab a few shot as it darted from twig to twig in search of morsels of food.
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The Marshes back onto a water treatment works, the reservoirs of which attract large numbers of water birds. One of the reservoirs has two Island on which a large Cormorant colony breed and as can be seen, they’re already staking out nests for the coming months.
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6th February, Bookham

Long overdue a wander round here so it was an early start to catch the best of the days weather, and almost immediately I was finding things to capture, a Pheasant surveying his kingdom
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And a couple of Goldfinch dropping down in front of me to snatch a quick drink.
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As one would expect, Brown Hairstreak eggs numbers are diminishing but there’s still enough around to find without too much effort.
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I disturbed a Collared Dove having a sip from one of the many streams that flow here at this time of year, who was quickly joined by it’s mate in the tree.
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In the wood catkins drip from every Hazel tree and closer inspection reveals the tiny spiky crimson female flowers, amazing to think this will be a Hazelnut in 6 months’ time.
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the 'male' Hazel catkins

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female Hazel flower


The Red Admiral eggs I'm keeping an eye on were all still eggs, one of which is now at least 59 days old. The colour does seem to be changing though, a slight pale olive tinge perhaps showing some form of development.
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For lunch today I settled down in a hide that overlooks one of the small lakes/big ponds which were a hive of activity. Mostly Gadwall with some Mallard, a single Shoveler, some Swans and couple of Dabchick (little Grebe if you’re not old enough to remember the superior common name for the species) all being watched over by a Jackdaw.
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Moving on I found my three Purple Hairstreak eggs were all still in place and a walk round Banks Common found both Brown Hairstreak eggs I witnessed being laid last year are still intact.
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Before leaving I wanted to check out a path I’d only been down once before, at the end of last year, which I’d penciled in to exploring further, since it seemed like a good new place for Brown Hairstreaks. Now that the leaves had fallen the eggs started popping out all over the place, half a dozen in 5 minutes and double figures without much effort.
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Interestingly the hedgerow also has several medium sized Elm suckers which were also searched avidly. WLH eggs however proved more illusive but that doesn’t mean they aren’t present, and a visit during June this year is definitely on the cards.

All this searching in the bushes didn’t go unnoticed, I was being watched from the neighbouring field
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and a Long-tailed Tit boldly dropped in and foraged within touching distance, only scared of by the sound of my shutter for this picture.
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They all seemed quite bold today, here’s another one probably fattening up of Purple Hairstreak eggs amongst other things.
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A good run of days, just hope this is the last cold spell of the winter and I can get out looking for butterflies soon, we're all gonna get told off by King Pete soon if we keep putting up bird pics :shock: :lol:
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:10 pm

More great shots Bugboy especially the first Long-tail and the Teal in flight is a cracking shot :D :mrgreen: A couple more :mrgreen: :mrgreen: as I've either been stuck at work or stuck indoors working :(

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:32 pm

You're certainly making the most of your local environment, Bugboy, even if butterflies are nearly impossible to come by.

I'm quite staggered by your blackthorn blossom though....that is abnormally early!

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Andrew555 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:26 am

Great selection of shots Bugboy, I like the one's in flight or motion especially. :)

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Goldie M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Goldie M » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:16 am

You've taken some cracking shots lately Bugboy, you've certainly taken the weather to task, it's been a long, long Winter up here for us, hope fully it's been good for the Butterflies, Cumbria in particular has had a lot of Snow and more forecast for Sunday I think. Goldie :D

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:36 pm

Thanks guys, here's some more 'birds in motion' :)

18th February,

Mr Sod and his well-known Law is most definitely working overtime on my life at the moment! You don’t need to watch the weather forecast to know what’s going to be happening, just a copy of my work rota will let you know exactly when the sunny and rainy days are. Weekends working seem to be mostly bright blue skies leading up to total washouts come my regular Tuesdays off then come my weekends off, either rain, wind or cloud and often all three. This past weekend was different though, off and it was sunny and very spring-like….except I’d already agreed to do overtime on the mornings of both days :roll: !

So, come Saturday I rushed off to Tottenham Marshes for the afternoon to see if the recent relative warmth had awoken anything. Even though I was shedding layers, it didn’t tempt any of the hibernators out, even in the sun traps that will be alive with them in a few weeks’ time. I did however see my first butterflies of the year, a couple of Red Admirals. Neither sat for a picture though so you’ll just have to believe me.
Sunday arrived with more sun whilst I was at work and then, as if Mr Sod was watching my every move, it clouded over the moment I got of the train with the intention of going for a wander on Walthamstow Marshes. Oh well birding it was then. Apparently, there’s a rare visitor round my neck of the woods, a Little Bunting, but since I’ve never been a birdy twitcher and I’m not on any birding forums this had gone under my radar. Also, I’m not a huge fan of standing amongst large groups all staring at a solitary LBJ so I went the opposite direction and headed for the paddocks to see what the Winter Thrushes were up to.

Here I found a large flock of Fieldfare, just about close enough for some snaps.
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There were also about a dozen Black-headed Gulls one of whom was showing a lot of interest in the Fieldfares and as I watched I found out why. It would seem he’s been taking piracy lessons of Skuas. I’m presuming he was waiting for one of the Fieldfares to find a particularly large worm to steal. I’m not sure if he was ever successful but he was a persistent little bugger, even chasing away other Gulls to keep the potential free food source to himself.
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Joining the Black-headed was a single Lesser Black-backed Gull whom I photographed as he took off, and with some experimenting I’ve managed to work out how to make a Gif all by myself which I’m rather proud of :D .
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Wagtails were about, this is one of our own Pied Wagtails
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And this, with it's grey rather than black back, is possibly the continental ‘White Wagtail’ race of the same species. (it could also be a juvenile Pied… its quite confusing to be honest).
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It’s fun to watch them darting around acrobatically catching the small midges they disturb. They move to fast for me to make a Gif though.

Finally, here’s some more Long-tailed Tit action including a lovely view of it’s little fluffy bum!
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I'm actually off all this week and back to work on Saturday... can you guess what the forecast says for this coming week and the weekend :evil:
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:57 pm

Great gif Bugboy :D and great set of bird shots :D I'd get that Pied/White checked out by the county bird recorder as I know that White Wagtails do pass through on passage and are probably under-recorded but I'm not sure how often they overwinter? If it is a White it would be a great find :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:27 pm

Don’t worry about the weather forecast, Bugboy, you’ve put sufficient effort in on the bird front to merit your butterfly reward further down the line; and I’m sure you will do just that in due course!


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