Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Common Crane

I haven't put a blog up for the past week or so. There have been plenty of birding opportunities  and I have seen some good birds but I am having one of those spells when you just don't seem to be able to take a decent picture.

Tuesday last week Dave and I made a return visit to Dungeness. I had managed to miss the White-winged Black Tern when we visited the previous week and with nothing else to chase we decided to give it another go. It was on the ARC pit and sitting on exactly the same island as the Black tern we had seen on the last visit.

It was not close enough for a good picture but there could be no doubt on the identification. It as lacking the dark breast patch evident on the Black Tern and as it flew off there was a clear view of the white rump.

White-winged Black Tern

with the all important white rump

This week I had planned a trip down to Slimbridge to see the Cranes and with a Glossy Ibis reported at Ham Wall it looked like an interesting if somewhat long trip. I should have gone Monday but when I got up at five o'clock the weather outside was awful and with the promise of better weather on the Tuesday I decided to put it off for a day. Tuesday and the weather was even worse but I decided to go anyway. Unfortunately so did the Ibis. It had been giving good views on the Monday but despite three hours of searching I could find no sign of it, nor has it been reported since. I will put that miss down to the BBC weather forecast yet again. All I managed to see at Ham Wall was a Marsh Harrier.

Marsh Harrier

Fortunately the Common Cranes were showing at Slimbridge. There were four visible in the fields to the north of the wetland centre although they were all some way off. At first I though that I would not be able to get a picture but the rain had cleared the air and when the sun came out I got a distant shot.

Common Cranes - 500mm lens 1.4 extender and 1.6 camera multiplier

A crop of the above shot

With these birds being barely visible to the naked eye I was quite pleased to walk away with this shot. Given the proportions of the two birds in the picture this looks as though it could be parent and fledgling. If so it is one of the first free born and free flying Common Cranes fledged in this country for 400 years. On the other hand it could just be a small adult!

For interest hear is a shot of one of the captive Common Cranes from inside the wetland centre.

Captive Common Crane

There was also a Kingfisher showing well from one of the hides. I didn't want to miss the cranes so I just grabbed a few quick shots with the intention of going back later. I did, but of course by then the Kingfisher had gone missing.

Finally I had a quick trip down to the Ferry Pool at Pagham Harbour this morning to see if the Grey Phalarope was still there. Most people were searching for the Pectoral Sandpiper but without any success. I was quite pleased that I had seen it when it first arrived at the North Wall (see here).

The Phalarope was there but as usual it was right at the back of the pool. It kept making a purposeful approach along the southern edge of the pool but every time it looked like coming into range of the camera it would fly back to the far corner. I managed a record shot, during one of the brief breaks in the rain, but it's not very good.

So some good birds but not many good pictures. Lets hope for a return to some sunny autumn weather next week.

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