Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sanderlings and other shorebirds

On Friday I had a hankering to see the sea - so I headed to Littlehampton, intending to come back via Pulborough RSPB to take some photos. As it turned out, most of the day's photos were taken at the beach. It was low tide when I arrived and there was a large group of birds at the water's edge so I grabbed the camera gear and headed off to investigate.

Closer examination revealed lots of black-headed gulls, as well as herring gulls, oyster-catchers, knot and a large group of turnstones. Getting close to the first group, however, was problematical as an over-excited dog had the birds rather rattled. So I headed along the beach to a quieter spot and was rewarded by a smaller group of turnstones and a handful of sanderlings. Keeping quiet and laying low I let the incoming tide bring them to me, and spent a happy half hour or so snapping away.


Pulborough, in the afternoon was also busy - with lots of widgeon, teal and even a few pintails - but the light was fading and I didn't really try for any shots.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Little grebe

Friday was grey, wet, cold and altogether not looking very promising. I wandered up to Rye Meads RSPB reserve again, more out of a sense of not wishing to waste the day, rather than any hope of making great images. The morning confirmed my fears, and after a chilly lunch I started to head back to the car. I stopped at the Draper hide on the way back and suddenly everything changed.

In some indefinable way the light improved. It was still overcast, but just bright enough to yield a handful of lovely washed-out high key images. More of these later, perhaps. Because the highlight was still to come. A little grebe decided to hunt directly in front of the hide. These fluffy little birds have long been favourites of mine, and this is the closest I've ever been to one.

Little Grebe

At one point I scared it with the lens of the camera, but it returned after a crash dive and afforded me a few more shots. And to think I could so easily have made it a duvet day....

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Winter birding

This weekend has been overcast and windy. Not the best photography weather at all. But the birds were busy. In fact I think this was the largest number of species I've seen on a single walk since well before Christmas. Twenty-one in all (which is not bad for a West-London park I feel). The highlight of the day was definitely an extended sighting of treecreeper, a bird I see only infrequently and never to my recollection in that park.

The kingfisher flashed by and settled for a while, as did a female kestrel. Two greater-spotted woodpeckers made a flypast and a third settled in full view. Goldfinches were also out in force, interspersed with other finches. Sadly given the light I had to content myself with this one shot of another of my favourite birds. Long tailed tits seem to be getting more common and a lot bolder. This was one of a group which settled quite near me and popped up for a looksee.

Long tailed tit