Sunday, 30 January 2011

Cricket ,Tennis or Birds?

It`s a cold (-1*) grey Sunday morning and I have some free time, but I also have a dilemma, what should I choose, the Cricket, the Tennis or bird watching? Let me explain, England are playing Australia in the 5th One Day International Cricket match in Australia, Andy Murray is playing Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open Tennis Final and it`s the weekend of the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. So, over a leisurely breakfast of tea, toast and marmalade I devise a plan: - First, a quick dash out into the cold to top up the feeders and break the ice on the birdbath then turn up the central heating, turn on the radio for the end of the Cricket, turn on the TV for the Tennis and draw up my armchair to a position where I can watch the birds (and the TV), find pencil, paper and binos then put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea, and I`m sorted!

Well, all I can say is thank goodness for the birds, they saved the day by putting on a great show, as always.
We were beaten in the cricket (although our two tail enders did put on a spirited effort). And in the tennis Andy Murray was beaten in straight sets. The birds however were the stars of the morning, surprisingly though a great many of them preferred the bathing facilities to the food, and I spent most of the hour watching their antics on/in the birdbath. There was also one individual who seemed to be suffering from a late night and spend most of the hour appearing to be fast asleep!! (photo below).

Here is my list of sightings submitted to the RSPB.
Blackbird – 2 (a pair)
Blue tit – 2
Chaffinch – 1 (male)
Collared Dove – 2
Dunnock – 1
Goldfinch – 4
House Sparrow – 7
Robin – 1
Starling – 14
Woodpigeon – 2

And here are a few photos taken in poor light through the double glazed window! 

Sweet Dreams

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Central Milton Keynes - Waxwings

At long last the sun came out today, so I decided to make the trip to CMK  and try to locate the large flock of Waxwings that have been reported, over the last few days, feeding on the berries around Lloyds Court. I wasn`t disappointed, as soon as I arrived I could see and hear them, about 30+ high in a tree next to the car park and then coming down to eye level to feed on the berries. Unfortunately they were very flighty and didn`t settle for long. Over the next four hours or so the numbers increased to about 200, the flock continually fragmenting and rejoining as they moved around from tree to berries, sun to shade.
A most enjoyable experience!

Two photos, that I`ve had time to process, from the 250+ taken

And maybe, if the sun shines again tomorrow, I`ll be back to take another few!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The different, the funny and the unfortunate.

Not being inclined to go out during the recent wet, windy and dismal weather I`ve searched the archives for a few unusual photographs.

The Different

Starling with extra long beak
"Pink" Collared Dove
Partial Albino Blackbird

The Funny

Time for a workout
What`s up here then?
A bit more decoration needed!
"I can do it, I can do it"

The Unfortunate

Coot with frost bitten foot

One legged Black-headed Gull

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Caldecotte (South) Lake, Milton Keynes 05/01/11

I took advantage of a bright and sunny morning for a short visit to the South lake. Although it was a bright Sunny morning there was a cold raw wind blowing and it clouded over and started to rain around midday.
first off I walked around the car park area, this is were Keith (  feeds the birds on most days. (I topped up the seed on the bridge three times, Keith, although I think the wind was blowing it away faster than the birds could eat it !) Seen in this area were flocks of Redwing and Goldfinch plus Reed Bunting, Blue and Great Tit, Robin, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbirds (feeding on fallen apples) and a Green Woodpecker.
Reed Bunting (male)

A short walk to the area by the houses (were the cold wind really made itself felt) showed that most of the lake is now ice free. Armed with half a loaf of bread I was soon surrounded by lots of hungry mouths, mostly Mallard, Coot, Canada Geese, Mute Swans and Black-headed Gulls. After feeding the birds and taking a few photographs the wind, and now the rain, started to get less enjoyable so I decided it was time to leave for home and a nice warm cuppa! 

Black-headed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Canada Goose
Goldeneye (male)
Mallard (male)
Mallard (male) (pale breast)
Mute Swan
Mute Swan

Christmas and New Year outings. Part 2 of 2

                 College Lake, Bulbourne, Buckinghamshire. (03/01/11)

A cold grey morning (0*C) after a light nigh time fall of snow.
We arrived at about 10.30am and walked the whole perimeter of the lake (approx. 2.5 miles) stopping off at many of the numerous hides. The wetlands section was still frozen over but the main lake was ice free. Most noticeable off the many wildfowl was a large group of Wigeon together with Canada Geese grazing on the bank between the lake and wetland areas. The light sadly was not good for photography. I can however highly recommend the tea and cake from the Visitor Center Cafe.

Here are just a few more stars of the show.
Green Woodpecker (female)
Mute Swan
Canada Goose

And finally the ultimate eco friendly lawn mower, used to keep the grass under control !

Dexter Cattle

Christmas and New Year outings. Part 1 of 2

                Caldecotte Lakes Milton Keynes, Boxing Day (26/12/10)

The South Lake was almost completely frozen over with only a small area in front of the houses free of ice. The snow was six inches plus deep making for tiring walking. Although the temperature was nudging  - 9*C the mainly sunny conditions made for beautiful views around the lake.

There were a great number of Wildfowl concentrated in the ice free area, all eager to take food from the many people who had kindly brought bread along with them. Not the ideal food, but in these conditions it certainly helps.

Some photographs of the stars of the show, against all the odds they still put on a fantastic display.
Mute Swan
Canada Geese

Black Headed Gull

Greylag Geese with Barnacle Goose

 Pochard (male)

 Tufted Duck (male)
Tufted Duck (female)
 Wigeon (male)