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Monday, 24 November 2014

The First Half of November - 2014

Whilst the first half of November was reasonably rewarding from the point of view of sightings, it didn't offer much in the way of photographic opportunities - due to distance, light, wind and rain!


I've only one owl image that is just about good enough to offer, and that was taken on 1st November whilst doing a bit of solo owling. Little Owls were seen at five different sites that afternoon.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.48
Odds and Sods

The same day that the above image was taken, I paid a visit to Launde Abbey, where I had a (distant) sighting of a Kingfisher for the first time in a few months!

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) - Launde Abbey
Soon after this, my session was interrupted by the arrival of The Hunt. I've never seen a bigger hunt gathering - there were hundreds of people involved! I understand that it's a legal loophole that is exploited which leads to a falconer accompanying the hunt wherever it goes. This one had a couple of guys in tow - one with a Golden Eagle and one with a Harris Hawk. The Golden Eagle was kept hooded but I did get a shot of the head of the Harris Hawk. I won't give scientific names for these birds as a lot of interbreeding and hybridisation takes place in these circles.

Harris Hawk (domesticated) - Launde Abbey
I gave up here and headed off to find fuel for the car. En-route I found myself being approached at great speed by a runaway horse. Fortunately, it was intercepted by some guys who came careering down the road in buggy, nearly losing control at one point! I'm surprised that the passenger didn't get spread all over the road!

Five days later, I was back at Launde with Titus. There were a couple of very skittish Teal on the fishponds there, which fled to the next pond whenever we saw them - at over a hundred metres distance. Just before we left, I spotted one asleep on the lower, very brackish-looking, fish pond at only about 50 metres distance.

Teal (Anas crecca) - Launde Abbey
Our Garden

One aspect of our garden which gives me concern is that we've lost a more-than-acceptable number of birds to window strikes this year - possibly four (I don't keep records of this). On a wet and windy 12th November this Goldfinch hit my study window. At first I thought it was dead as it lay with its wings spread, so I took a photo of an aspect of Goldfinch that is not usually seen for a long enough time for the eyes and brain to register - what a fabulous looking bird! I'm delighted to report that I picked it up, saw that it was alive, put it somewhere comfortable and that it suddenly regained consciousness about half an hour later and flew off.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) - our garden
 We're starting to see the winter visitors in our garden. We'd had our first Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret) in late October (exceedingly early - usually not until late December!), and then again on 14th November (and once since then), but no photos were obtained. Our main excitement has been the continuing visits by Grey Wagtail (which insists on coming only in bad weather) and regular visits by Goldcrest, with two birds on two occasions. We usually only have two or three sightings, of a single bird, each year. I've still not managed any decent shots of the Goldcrests, which favour a shady place outside my window where the leaves are still on the tree.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) - our garden

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) - our garden
You can see the problems with trying for shots of the Goldrest. Those leaves really interfere with attempts at focus, by which time the bird has gone! For a bird that seems to have such a happy disposition as it flits around, it certainly has a very sad expression when viewed front-on!

That's all for this post. The next one will feature some owls!

Thank you for dropping by.