Monday, 8 December 2014

Snow Bunting

The title should have read Brambling which was yet again our target for the day with Friston Forest car park being the location we had chosen. We did actually manage to see two female Brambling this time which is a big step up from our last few failed attempts but there was no chance of getting any pictures.

It had looked promising as we drove into the car park with a large Chaffinch flock moving through the area. After studying them for a few minutes we came up with at least two female Brambling. Unfortunately the cameras were in the back of the car and our attempts to retrieve them saw the whole flock take flight. We watched for about another two hours but they did not return in that time. I should be happy at getting the year tick but without a record shot or better it does not feel like a success.

We aborted a plan to look for Kingfishers on the Cuckmere and decided to head back to West Sussex but a last minute decision (about ten yards from the turning) saw us heading into Tide Mills. We were telling ourselves that these last minute impulse decisions always come good, and it did. Two young birders Gideon and Caleb had located a Snow Bunting. We might well have missed it but the two doing a commando crawl across the shingle suggested there might be something worth looking at. They already had a few good shots and, hopefully without spoiling it too much for them, we also managed to get some pictures.

We then tried the pier looking for Purple Sandpipers. Unfortunately by then we had missed high tide and the birds had gone back onto the concrete supports below the pier. Light levels were low down there so I only managed to come away with one decent shot but I was grateful for that given that the speed setting was only 1/40 sec. Its amazing what you can do with image stabilisation.

Purple Sandpiper

We went back to Friston Forest and had one more search for the Bramblings. There was a Chaffinch flock feeding there but we could see no sign of the Bramblings this time. A couple of Jays were threatening to give good picture opportunities but I could not get them down sun of me so I had to settle for a backlit shot.


To finish, here are a couple of shots of the Tundra Bean Goose taken on Sunday at Cuckoo Corner. The lighting was poor but the bird did allow a reasonably close approach whilst it was out on the river. I was surprised to see it still there by itself. There was a fox about, a number of dog walkers,  a few bird watchers and at one stage it was even harassed by one of the local crows. Having to keep a constant watch for threats takes a big toll on feeding time. It would be better off in one of the the Greylag flocks where it could share sentry duties.

and there is always someone trying to gatecrash the picture

I wasn't aware of the Kingfisher at the time it only came to light whilst I was checking the pictures at home.

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