Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shades Of Grey

A grey old morning saw strong winds, rain and then bouts of hail. Not the best conditions for birding or photography when a baseball cap is for keeping rain off specs, bins are tucked inside a jacket and the camera pre-set on ISO800 and then hidden in a dry shoulder bag.

But no excuses, I had to drive to the Myerscough ringing site and drop food for hungry but un-ringed Chaffinch and Tree Sparrows. Firstly I made a detour to Knott End where 14 Twite flew around the area of the jetty, but there was no sign of the Black Redstart, not surprising given the vicious wind that raged across the jetty and the shore where the redstart spent yesterday.

Myerscough was also in the grip of a hail and rain shower, but a number of Chaffinch and a couple of Tree Sparrow waited in the hedge for the food drop. They got the seed and a promise of shiny new rings someday soon, if and when the weather improves. The journey back took me through Out Rawcliffe where the sky seemed marginally brighter, so I stopped off for a dodging-the-showers look.

A pair of Kestrels had things to do as I watched them mate atop a hawthorn bush – it was a brief affair, but the conditions were more than a bit breezy and rather cold. Rather them than me! Seemingly, Kestrels are monogamous with pair-bonding retained long after the breeding season, and where pairs remain together the bond between them may last several years.


In a sort of bright interval I took a walk around the block - the hedgerow, the field, the wood, the road and then back to the car without getting too wet : 10 Reed Bunting, 9 Yellowhammer, 70 Tree Sparrow, 5 Corn Bunting, 8 Chaffinch and 5 Blackbird hiding in the hedge. In the wood a Tawny Owl sat camouflaged in the ivy as a Mistle Thrush chattered off ahead, while from the big field 4 Snipe and 6 Meadow Pipits splashed from the puddles.

Here are a couple of pictures from today – I said it was a grotty old morning.

Reed Bunting


Shades Of Grey


Christian said...

Lovely fact about the Kestrels Phil - I didn't know that. They look so beautiful sat side-by-side don't they.

Gary said...

Same problem here!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

eileeninmd said...

Cool shot of the Kestrel and I love the Yellowhammer. At least you were not totally rained out. Great post and photos. Happy Birding and have a wonderful week.

Laurence and Maria Butler said...

Sounds like it was quite the adventure--lots of color, some inclement weather, a bit of raunchiness--everything a good birding trip needs, and with some great pictures too.
It's really neat to see these European species. Many of them of course have common appearances, both in color and shape, to North American counterparts, but you can also tell that they are clearly not North American birds, and not just because you (and by you, I mean me) have never seen them before.

Great fun, thanks for sharing.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wow Phil, you certainly do brave the elements.
The Kestrel is a lovely one and that Reed Bunting has the sweetest face!
Have a grand week, drive safely~

Chris said...

I laughed with the shade of grey... You should come over there, the snow has arrived 15 days ago and is still falling, plus we are now getting -9°C temps, quite cool... So no pictures moments ;-) Beautiful yellowhammer, and we can see why it is called yellow ;-)

Russell said...

So dull here so I am not motivated to do any birding. Your superb kestrel portrait however, makes me dream of the next weekend.

Madibirder said...

As usual you still managed some great images in such challenging condition.

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