Tuesday, 6 December 2011

5-12-11, Chew Valley Lake.

A certain rare wader has been present on this site for a few weeks and I have been thinking about com ing down to this bird although I have been so busy recently this was one of the first oppurtunities. I set off at five o'clock and was down there about 07.30 just as it was getting bright enough to see. I parked on the small causeway as I was unsure about access to the hide and anyway the bird had been visible from here during its stay though distant. Birds noted were Black Headed Gull, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Mallard, Grey Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Moorhen, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Teal, Pintail, Cormorant, Common Gull, Stock Dove, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Jackdaw, Grey wagtail, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant, Tufted Duck, Water Rail and Wren. I had been joined by another chap at this point and although we had seen a flock of small waders fkying about they were too distant to identify correctly. Another car pulled up and a chap told us that we were able to go to the hide so we put our gear away and drove to the car. The other chap set off for the hide whilst I was messing around and when I arrived in the hide he had already found the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. I opened the shutters just as the small wader flock flew off, Dunlin. It was not long before they returned and soon enough I was also feasting on a SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER. It was near enough to observe the chestnutty colours on the back and head, the big supercilium and the peachy throat band but not enough to photo with my slr and I also bought the wrong lens peice to digiscope although I did get a couple of record shots by holding the camera over the scope lens. Other birds noted were Gadwall and Sparrowhawk. A very good couple of hours spent here with plenty of birds to look at but best of all another lifer.

This is the best image I could muster whilst digi-scoping out of the hand, not bad I dont think. The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is just right of centre right next to a Lapwing.

5-12-11, Clee Hill.

Another 2.5 hours driving and I was on a very cold, windy and sometimes snowy hill in Shropshire. A Desert Wheatear had been present for sometime. This was is a female and as I had seen a cracking male at Burniston in East/North Yorkshire in 2007 I thought it would be nice to get the female and hopefully the odd photo. I parked up and waited out a breif but severe snow storm, then out of the car, gear on and then wondered where the hell to look. Fortunately a couple of birders were at hand to send me to the bird and ten minutes and one fall later I was enjoying a female Desert Wheatear. A chap with a huge camera and lens was on site and he told us to stand near him and the bird would come to us. I had heard stories of the big lens brigade chasing this bird all over the slopes to get a decent shot but this chap told us it would come an it did. At one point it flew within 12 feet of us and I fired off a few photos. Cracking. Other birds noted on this cold old hillwere loads of Ravens and the odd Carrion Crow. Well worth the visit.

A cracker of a bird.

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