Sunday, December 16, 2012

Monchrome Slav

Harsh lighting but I'm not complaining.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Podicep Cousins

Better light on Sunday morning before the dog walkers or should I say dog swimmers, had a negative effect at Priory CP.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waxwing in Kempston

Invasion has begun - bring on some sunshine.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dip o'the Day - Penduline Tit

My MVCP "dip" list is becoming quite extensive with the latest addition today.  There were two birds seen this morning but I didn't see any and in fact, even struggled to ID the hide I needed to be in. 

I've never really taken a liking to MVCP if I'm honest which is probably linked to why I seem to have dipped more birds their than I've seen and don't go there enough to remember where the hides are!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Another Chapter Concludes

One of the pleasures of living where I do is that my village has hosted Barn owls for as many years as I’ve lived here.
I’ve followed their lives and the trials they have faced, each season never failing to surprise me that they have managed to sustain themselves and invariably, breed.
In the early years that I followed “my” owls, they frequented the NT Dovecote in Willington, everyone knowing that they bred in the roof space.  They attracted many admirers over the years until the NT decided that they wanted to save money and prevent birds entering the building and creating mess.  Sadly the Barn Owls left as their space had been invaded and access restricted.
Birds continued to nest in an old Ash Tree in the south of the village and over many seasons, produced good broods of young Owls.  Five fledged successfully in 2006 from a single brood.
More recently the birds have struggled after the breeding male was killed by a passing car in flight to or from the nest tree and since then a lone female has remained but until this year, has shown no signs of breeding.  The favoured ash tree fell in high winds in 2011 however birds have still survived and this season young have been seen and have remained close to nest and roost sites.
Today I found the adult female with two full-grown and anxious young at the roost site.  Unfortunately she had succumbed in the night and fallen from her perch.  She seems very thin and with the wet weather in recent weeks, perhaps she was unable to find sufficient food?
Another chapter concludes and I will be intrigued to now see how the two remaining young survive without their mother.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Table for One

Barford Road, Willington.  A young female.


A welcome fly-over Raven this morning at Willington.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Exotic Irridescence

Great light of late - gives rainbow irridescence to these two.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Two Stonechat and a Whinchat on Biggleswade Common on Saturday morning.

You Know it Makes Sense

Tell the Government that the Badger cull is senseless - just like their scientific advisers have already told them and they have decided to ignore.

Please add your name here -

Sunday, September 16, 2012


A lovely late-summer day on the coast at Lodmoor RSPB reserve to see Britains 2nd record of Short-billed Dowitcher.  Shame it wouldn't oblige in the lovely early morning light as the Grey Heron chose to.
Also - a migrant Monarch butterfly at Portland was a rare sight too!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Hobby in Willington

Last year I failed to put the time in at the right time of the day to record any subbuteo activity in the parish.  This year I chanced upon a dog-fight between a pair and some local Buzzards that have raised four young.  I was left wondering whether Buzzards would have preyed upon the young Hobby at a potential nest and in recent weeks have only seen two Hobby feeding over the recently cut fields.
With some poor, distant photographs this morning, I managed to show that one of two birds seen recently on the ground in the cut fields, is in fact a juvenile.
This is the first time I have confirmed breeding of this secretive species in Willington!
Adult bird.  Not seen feeding but was seen yesterday and again today so no doubt finding food of some description.

And the second bird alongside which is a juvenile.

And no red trousers!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Garganey Invasion

Easily the most Garganey I have seen together in the UK at the Ouse Washes.  I counted at least 50 but there were undoubedly many more.

And one Glossy Ibis.  Also Red-crested Pochard, Pintail, Greenshank, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper (4) and Spotted Redshank were of note.  And loads of large, dead Pike for some reason??

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gamlingay Bird Fair

After visiting the British Bird Fair at Rutland Water, this beauty couldn't be missed near Gamlingay.  Thanks to those that got me breaking into a run as a local walker flushed the bird from the path where it had been sitting the moment I arrived.  Three over-flying Whimbrel as well were nice.
The local farmer was encouraged from his tractor to see what all the fuss was about and after writing down the name of the bird he'd not heard of before, he gave me his email address as he requested a copy which I will be pleased to send.  He is sympathetic and does some work with the RSPB to help Corn Buntings.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Chilterns

The chalk grassland flower meadows at Aston Rowant NNR are a spectacle to behold and so much better than two years ago when I last visited in August.  Butterflies and plants seem to be thriving despite the wet weather we've had this summer.
Oh, and the Canon 7D eclipses the 30D for sure.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Crakey - a Frog

In March I was pleased to note that the frogs had layed spawn in my garden pond.  Today I'm pleased to announce that at least one of the tadpoles has grown into nothing less than a spelndid, adult Baillon's Crake!!

This just highlights my useless amphibian ID skills and how I may have been overlooking for years, breeding Crake's and Frogs co-existing in my small garden pond.  I managed a Frog (see above) peering at me through the reeds only this morning.

Well, I won't be fooled in future years, that's for sure.

News here of how others have seemingly made the same simple mistake as me.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Monsoon Blues

Bought myself a 7D to overcome the monsoon blues and today the sun has revealed itself at last allowing me some play time.  First impressions are that it is a superb camera.  Speed of AF lock and tracking is a real step up from my trusty 30D and a few more pixels won't go amiss either.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Edit - Sparrowhawk News

Latest news from Bedford Sparrowhawk nest is that there are in fact six healthy young being fed and not five as I had counted!   Must be plentiful supply of food around the gardens of Brickhill & Putnoe.

Mixed Bunch

Despite the rainy season we're having, I managed a few local record snaps this week.  Spotted Flycatchers active around local churchyard but not seen this year in Willington, Willow Warbler feeding a fledged brood along Wood Lane and the RB with Demoiselles and Starling roost at the settling lagoon.   Still no local Turtle Doves - do they exist anymore?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

A Nest Full

My friend Dave says, you ought to see the five large Sparrowhawk chicks I have in my garden (Bedford) so I took up the offer today of watching the female feeding them a pigeon.  Amazingly the nest is in full view of his garden and the adults didn't seem threatened by my pressence whatsoever.  What a treat!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Long Time No See Little Owls

During the winter and early spring, Little Owls seems to have disappeared from Willington but now I'm pleased to say there are two pairs in territory within 200m of each other.  The lower bird is one I've been photographing since 2006.   He thinks I can't see him!


A stop near Thetford en-route to Norfolk at the weekend, the reward being a recently fledged family of Redstarts feeding their young close to the footpath.  Lovely birds Redstarts.