Monday, 9 November 2009

Well, finally managed to find time to do the blog. On Saturday 7th Nov I headed off to the normal haunt at Big W. The weather was quite good although there was not a lot to see for a change, as usual sods law dictates loads of stuff there last weekend and bucketfuls of rain. A couple of interesting things though. Spotted 6 Deer in two groups of 3 on the North Meadow and they were visible on and off for over an hour.



On the way out a Buzzard came quite low over me and landed in the bushes close to the Public viewing platform but despite a 15min hunt could not find it .



Decided to head to Holywell to see if I could catch sight of the Green Winged Teal but no luck there either. Simon had been there for over 6 hours but nothing of note had appeared although there was a lot of activity including, Pinkies, Greylags and Lapwings in the field behind the hide and popping over the lake now and then.


Now that the feeders are back in action the tits, robins, chaffies etc are now well represented and present a nice background of song and calls. Several Long Tailed Tits were seen on numerous occasions although none of the continental variety said a couple of others in the hide (will have to look up what that means as I just nodded and agreed with them).


Sunday up early and away to Caerlaverock to see the Barnacles and the Hooper Swans. I had an absolute super day, the weather was beautiful and met some great birders and saw some great birds. The feeding pond was the first place to go and up in the tower I managed to spend 2hrs just watching the many movements of great flocks of Barnacles, Lapwings, Starlings. Damn I put the wrong photo in and have left my portable HD at work, never mind its quite a decent pic anyway of the Feeding Pond.

There were Barnacles everywhere but in the main flock there had to be at least 5000.


Several individuals seemed to come in from the Solway and fly obligingly over the Tower to the delight of the many Photographers.



Super looking Wigeon


The Hooper Swans were also obliging and I could have filled my cards up with just pics of them alone.


Not my best technical flight pic but the setting is just awesome


Lots of Canadas were also present.



Finally this Hooper which seemed to have a crooked neck. Spoke to one of the staff and he said it had been like that for 3 years.
Finally during my time there and in the vicinity of the reserve I lost count of the Buzzards I saw. Saw several deer wandering round in front of the Big Hide which looks out onto the Solway. Watched a Peregrine knock a Kestrel out of the Sky, fortunately it recovered just before hitting the ground and fled away. Saw at least 1 Male and 1 Female Sparrowhawks on several occasions. Was with one of the staff (Richard, was unvelievably helpful) and looked at a flock of Pinkies on the far shore of the Solway which he stopped counting when he got to 3,870. Behind the Pinkies was just an unbroken line of black and white which turned out to be Oystercatchers as far as the eye (or super duper scope) could see. On the way home I saw the "Gretna Roost" for about 15 Seconds performing the most amazing swarm I have ever seen. I couldnt even estimate the amount of Starlings except to say the Sky was just absolutely covered with them. An exceptional days visit.
Im now getting into this birding lark and enjoying myself so much it hurts when I cant get out.
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