Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Pied-billed again

A few more of the Pied-billed grebe at Ham wall RSPB, from this afternoon in better light. The bottom one shows it feeding on a large beetle.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Life tick

A Pied-billed Grebe (a vagrant from America) was found yesterday at Ham wall RSPB, part of the Avalon marshes, here in Somerset. I was on a 12hr day shift so had no chance of seeing what would be a life tick, as well as a county & UK tick for me. The summer bill pattern is starting to show now as it starts its moult into breeding plumage. I managed to catch up with it this morning when I joined the masses at Ham wall. As far as I am aware, this is a first for Somerset as it is now. Let me know if you know differently.

The above shots are really only record shots as it spent a lot of time at long distance & even with a 600mm & 2x teleconverter, it still needed a massive crop.
I must say that since I have updated the firmware on my D4 to 1.04 & 1.02, the af performance at f8 when using a 2x TC is now a lot more accurate & to my mind a bit quicker. All in all, worth the effort in doing.
On leaving Ham wall, I paid a quick visit to a local heronry, where the breeding season is already underway.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Catch up time.....

Today I decided at last to travel over to Norton sub Hamdon near Yeovil. There have been sightings of Hawfinch reported there for a couple of weeks now & with reasonable weather,today seemed as good a day as any to visit.
Hawfinch is a fairly scarce bird in the county & I have only ever seen one before at Bruton a couple of years ago. On pulling up in Rectory lane, I saw a couple of other birders present so decided to ask where to go. I was then informed that if I look to my right, about 10m away, I would see one (thanks Brian). Over the next couple of hours staking out the Yew tree in the corner of the rectory garden, I saw & photographed these chunky finches with the 600mm on a car door mount. They were by no means easy, & spent long periods of time deep in the undergrowth. They did however venture out into the open a few times, on occasion hovering to pick a berry from above them (missed that shot a few times). I left after the entire avian contents of this tree were flushed by a male Sparrowhawk.
There was a few shots already on my hard drive that were not enough for a blog post on there own,so they have been festering there waiting for a few more to bulk out a post here they are.

The Great white Egret that has been hanging around on Catcott lows.

The juvenile Rosy Starling at Exminster in Devon