Saturday, 16 February 2013

Loose Ends

I have been out birding a lot lately and have managed to see many good birds but the resulting photography seems more like quantity rather than quality. I needed some good pictures and that would mean revisiting some of the locations again. Top of the list were the Hawfinches at Romsey. I picked up Dave early Friday morning and we set off for Hampshire confident that with a sunny day we would get the pictures we wanted.

 It rarely works out as you planned. Our visit on a dull overcast day had produced dozens of birds, some good picture opportunities, and a lot of dull, out of focus, and blurred shots. Our visit on a sunny day produced a lot more  walkers, children and  dogs. There were fewer birds, they were being disturbed regularly, and they were not coming out into the open. I had one lucky shot, shown below, but even this was a bit distant and does not show the true colours of the bird. However, it's a good example of what you can get away with if you get the eyes sharp.
 We spent about three hours trying to get that illusive close up but eventually we had to move on. Fortunately I also had a Goldcrest paying regular visits and a Bullfinch hiding in the bushes.



We moved on to Blashford Lakes in the hope of catching up with the Green Winged Teal. No luck with that but we did see a pair of Black-necked Grebe on the Rockford Lake. Again a bit distant so this is more like a loose end created than one closed. Still I will save the good picture for when I see them in full breeding plumage.

Black-necked Grebe

Another loose end was my failed attempt to see the Snow Bunting on Ferring Beach. I had in fact been searching the wrong part of the beach and stopping about 30 metres short of its location. An early rise this morning and it proved easy to find as it had already been spotted by a couple of other birders. As with previous Snow Buntings I have seen it was quite confiding, seeming to show little concern for people and often landing very close to their feet. It had, however, chosen one of the busiest parts of the beach so was regularly being flushed by dogs and by joggers running through.

Snow Bunting

 To cap a good morning I returned home to find my first ever garden Blackcap. The garden has been virtually bird free for about a month. The big garden bird watch resulted in a total of one Pigeon for me and I had not filled any of the feeders since Christmas. Snow seemed to make little difference, apart from an influx of Fieldfares. In the past couple of days it has all changed. The birds are back and the feeders are being emptied at an alarming rate. Long may it continue.


With both a Chiffchaff and a Blackcap in the past week it feels as though Spring has arrived early.

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