Bones makes his debut on the blog with this fine shot of a pair of Whimbrel taken last weekend on Hilbre Island
I spent most of the day counting gulls and ducks for the Wetland Bird Survey; I fired off this quick shot of a Sedgie just as I was heading home. The original was not quite in focus, very flat, washed out, and lacking contrast. I seldom do any processing other than cropping and perhaps a tiny tweak of exposure, but I cranked up the curve in this using some very rudimentary software and got this effect. Let’s call it art. Or crap!
Meanwhile, Jason went to the Wirral and did some proper digiscoping, starting with this Grasshopper Warbler at Leasowe …
… and then this Grey Seal at Hilbre
Another very fleeting visit with Django, the dog, tonight. Little to photograph except the resident Kestrel once again, who poses for me very readily. I think he has one eye on Django as a likely snack. The midges had similar thoughts about me.
My mooching around the house all day, being off work sick, was clearly too much for the family, who persuaded me that a bit of fresh air would do me good, and dumped me and the dog at the end of Marshside Road some time after 6pm. Rumours of a Great White Egret having flown over at 5pm were quickly scotched by a phone call, which also advised that the Spotted Redshank was still viewable from Nel’s at the time it was locked up, and sure enough it was ‘scopable even from Junction Pool but a photo was out of the question. So the highlight of this short visit was this Whinchat. Having seen, but failed to get a decent image of, the bird in the sandplant on Saturday, this one was at least eventually sufficiently obliging for me to get these record shots. A probable Tree Pipit flew over the sandplant, which had plenty of Wheatear around.
One day Freshfield Dune Heath will turn up something spectacular: today was not that day. At times it can seem seem strangely bereft of birds, and today was just such a day. However, this Willow Warbler perched up nicely for me, and I had a great close flight view of a Crossbill with a very rufous belly, and saw my first Orange-Tip butterfly of the year.
Otherwise, 3 Common Buzzards, 2 Kestrels, loads of Linnet, 40+ Jackdaws, and plenty of Chiffchaffs, a few Blackcaps, and the usual woodland birds in the trees at the periphery of the site. Since I was last there, loads of ponds have been dug, presumably in the name of conservation. The Linnets were making use of these to drink, it being a fine, hot, April afternoon.
male ruff Philomachus pugnax marshside rspb 18/04/2009, originally uploaded by jason stannage.
Easter Monday, from the bench at the Marshside Rd junction.
I haven’t taken a decent digiscoped still for a few weeks! But I’m happy enough with these few snippets of video spliced together, including yesterday’s Garganey and a couple of the Short-eared Owls at Marshside. Click the HQ button on the player for higher quality, if it’s visible.
I’ve cut this file to MP4 as well, and it looks and sounds far, far better on an iPod than it ever will on YouTube. If anyone wants a copy let me know and I’ll find somewhere to upload it to and link it.
A few more from Jason’s Flickr collection, starting with a stunning Skylark at Meols on the Wirral last weekend.
This Snow Bunting was at Red Rocks in February 2008