Sunday, 23 February 2014

Not what I was looking for…

…but a couple of nice surprises.
On Friday, but too late to visit, I saw the reports that a pair of Garganey were ‘showing well’ on a lake at a nearby nature reserve. So yesterday, hoping that they had ‘settled in’, I decided to go and have a look. It was a nice sunny/blue sky morning and I was up early and with time on my hands, the reserve doesn’t open till 9.30!!, I decided to stop off at a site where I’ve previously seen Corn Buntings…no luck this time though! I was however treated to the sight of a lovely pair of Stonechat, distant at first but, slowly getting nearer as I tried to make myself as invisible as possible by mingling my 16 stone bulk into a very thorny Hawthorn bush…ouch! But, as is the way of things, just as they were getting into decent camera range they were flushed by a group of walkers who were allowing their two dogs to race, seemingly uncontrolled, around the field where eventually they managed to scatter a flock of sheep with no discernable control or concern from any of their owners. I guess the dogs were just being dogs..but the owners….??

Hill 1 st-ch
A distant male Stonechat.

It was nice to hear the songs of the many Skylarks as, still killing time, I sat in the car with the warm sunshine streaming through the windows and read the newspaper. Now, despondent and fully depressed at all the ‘news’ I decided to have one more look in the field to see if the Stonechats had returned…unfortunately I couldn’t re-locate them but what I did notice were the Skylarks they seemed to be everywhere, and a couple were in camera range…just!

Hill 2 s-l

It was now time to make the five minute drive to find the Garganey. On entering the main hide, which was quite full!, the only conversation that I could hear was…”any luck with the Garganey?”….”have you spotted them?”…”seen ‘em yet?”…to which the replies were a rather subdued…”na”….”nope”….”not been seen this morning”… and then there’s always one smug smart arse who comes up with the most helpful and encouraging answer…” I saw them over in that corner of the lake yesterday and they were showing really well”…!!!
I eventually spent a couple of hours sitting in the, cold and draughty, hide watching the other birds that were on or around the lake…including; Wigeon, Tufties, Gadwall, Mute Swans, Greylag and Canada Geese, Lapwing..busy staking their claims to nest sites on the islands, Shoveler, one Oystercatcher, twelve plus Snipe..they’re good at hiding!! and the bonus of a new ‘tick’ for the year..a ‘bouncing’ Jack Snipe.
Oh!…and I almost forgot…..Saturday morning and half term school holidays = lots of noisy screaming kids…bah, humbug!!!

This notice, spotted on the way out, did manage to raise the mood a little…

Hill 3 notice
…Is it just in case they should get the urge to do something really naughty?

And after all that…still no Garganey!



Carole M. said...

Trevor, shame about the walkers with dogs on the run. Just when you thought you had your Corn Buntings in a good spot too. Never mind, I loved the Stonechat!

The Herald said...

Carole, I'm not anti walkers and their dogs just as long as they keep the dogs under some sort of control.
The Stonechats were a pleasant surprise...[;o)

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful photography Trevor, but, no sign of the Garganey, that's a pity.

The Herald said...

Cheers Bob. Maybe the next time with the[;o)

douglas mcfarlane said...

I dont get some dog owners and that's from a dog owner. I will not have all my dogs of the lead only the one's who come to heel on comand, first comand and not after loads of screaming and shouting.
Nice to see a Stonechat not many around these ways anymore and the Skylark must have made up for the non showing Garganey and that "sign" seems to be popping up at a lot of nature reserves these days, sadly.

The Herald said...

Sadly the dog owners didn't seem to be remotely interested in where their dogs were or what they were doing, it's types like these that get good dog owners a bad name.
Yeh, the Stonechats and the Skylarks made up for missing out on the Garganey...[;o)

ADRIAN said...

A couple of good pictures from the day. The Header is a beauty.
The dog owners should be shot. Sheep are carrying lambs at this time of year. It can cost a farmer a years income can sheep worrying. Ignorant and selfish are folk like this.

Roy Norris said...

A nice treat to see the Stonechats Trevor, I would be just happy to see some like your image of them.
I did hear a Skylark or two last week and a very distant view of one. You did get a nice shot of one. These idiots with dogs should be locked up.

The Herald said...

Thanks Adrian.
You would like to think that if people wanted to walk in and enjoy the countryside they would be a bit more sympathetic to it?...[;o)

Thank you Roy. Yeh the Stonechats, and the Skylarks, were a welcome bonus.
Lock them up and then throw away the keys would do just fine...[;o)

grammie g said...

Hi Trevor...Love your adventure!!
Yup loose running dogs and kids don't go well with birding!!! There is something just so wrong with some dog owners and parents who think there little sweeties should be free to run loose!!

Congrats on your new tick for the year ... "a bouncing Jack Snipe" is that anything like " a Jumping Jack Flash" hmm Rolling Stones and Stonechat ; ) Best I drop this part!!
Nice day out with some interesting finds even if it was not what you where out for!!


The Herald said...

Hi Grace, Yeh, apart from the dogs, the owners and the noisy kids it was a really good morning out!
I'm not quite sure where you were off to there, but I guess it's good that you stopped when you!

If you want to see a 'bouncing' Jack Snipe here's a YouTube link... ...[;o)

grammie g said...

Trevor..I won't try to explain that again!! Just a little ADD kicking in : ) lol!!
Saw the YouTube you suggested...what a interesting fellow he is!!
I also saw one YouTube with the Jack Snipe bouncing in tune to a rap song. LOL just about died laughing!!


The Herald said...

Grace...I'm glad the 'bouncing' Snipe brought some cheer to your day...[;o)


Yes you have to be aware of what your dog is up to when its out. too late when it gets shot for going after sheep.