Saturday, July 17, 2010

Green, Black, Red and Yellow

Maybe I should have stayed in bed this morning rather than driving up to Conder Green. It wasn’t raining when I set off but I was barely through Cockerham when the rain started.

As I drove through Pilling village I bore down upon what from a distance away I took to be a corvid in the middle of the road. Only too late as I got up to the bird did I realise it was a Sparrowhawk with prey, and as I slammed on the anchors and reached for my camera on the passenger seat, the bird flew off carrying what was left of a small passerine. I really need a couple of pictures of a Sparrowhawk not in the hand, but they are not easy to get. One shot through the garden last night and hid in a neighbour's sycamore. Then later in the day I disturbed another when I went to ring some Swallows but it shot out of sight very quickly. Boy those Sparrowhawks don’t sit about in the open much.

Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk

It rained and gusted all the time I was at Conder Green and limited my brief birding. I got a good count of Common Sandpiper, with a minimum of 18 birds but took a shot of one I noticed with two colour rings, yellow and red, and a standard BTO metal ring on the other leg. Later I reported it online through “Euring”. But I don’t think I will win any prizes with the photograph taken in a downpour.

Common Sandpiper

Other waders in the creek comprised a Little Egret and one each of Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, with 130 Redshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 7 Dunlin, with red and black being the dominant colours of these almost full adult plumage birds.

Bar-tailed Godwit

The sleek, black Oystercatchers with their thick carrot bills went through again with their noisy, elaborate, displays and territorial disputes around the pool, so I snatched a few pictures before the rains came again and I headed home.

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Later I checked out a Swallow nest and ringed 5 young but all in all my Swallows aren’t having a good year, and whilst a brood of five I ringed about 10 days ago are ready to fly, they are minus one that fell victim to the Border Terriers in the dog pen below the nest.

Swallows

15 comments:

Mary Howell Cromer said...

OH but your Sparrowhawks are glorious images~

Russell said...

Super sparrowhawk photos and really like that bar-tailed Godwit.

Johnny Nutcase said...

That Sparrowhawk is cool! Nice! Love the oystercatchers too...a favorite of mine :)

Tabib said...

Yes, not easy to photographed that bird of prey, but you got great close-up there.
Nice black Oystercatchers behaviour shots. I guess that one bright red bill is a male.

Anthony Dixon said...

Great set Phil, you did well with the Sparrowhawk and I love the Godwit shot.

Unravel said...

Hahaha the oystercatchers' bills really look like carrots!
Interesting to see that some are reddish, while some are yellowish.

Phil said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. I think the colour intensity of the Oystercatcher bill deepens with age = older bird darker, younger bird lighter shade, but also I guess it reaches a limit. Some areas for a study there?

Larry said...

Unbelievable shots of the Sparrowhawk Phil! The Bar-tailed Godwit takes the prize for me though. Gorgeous color and detail.

Larry said...

Beautiful shots Phil! The Sparrowhawk photos are sensational! My favorite though(and I really love raptors) is the Bar-tailed Godwit. Incredible colors and detail. The Swallows are really cute too.

Wren said...

I agree, Phil - photography in the rain is an exercise in frustration. But perhaps it's reassuring that our eyes see much better than our cameras do. All in all, a good set of photos, especially the oystercatchers and the sparrowhawk.

dreamfalcon said...

wow, that eye of the sparrowhawk, superb picture!

mick said...

Of course the Sparrowhawk photos are fantastic. However, the Godwit photo had me going back to my books to check the ones we have out here. From what I have read I think that you have the nominate race Limosa lapponica whereas we get the two sub-species baueri and menzbieri. Baueri is the one we see here on the east coast of Australia and menzbieri is found in West Australia.

BirdingMaine said...

WOW, that's some eye on that Sparrowhawk! Excellent photo series Phil!

yen said...

love the close up shot of the Sparrow Hawk

Ari said...

What marvelous close up shot of the sparrow hawk! and the young swallow look so adorable...

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