Saturday, 22 July 2017


Popped over to Marsh Lane this morning pretty early to avoid the forecast rain.Arrived at 8.45 AM to find it dry but a little cloudy.

Saw two Common Sandpipers and a Little Egret on the CP pool but it wasn't till I got to the end of the causeway and went through the gate there that things got really interesting. 

I had been hearing what I thought was a grasshopper chirping away when I was still on the causeway but when I went through the gate I thought "My God ! That is one loud grasshopper." When I was half way down the path to the Oak hide I knew it was in fact a Grasshopper Warbler because the whirring was so loud and long.But where was it ???

I then spotted it about 25m from the path in the orchid field.Martin had beaten me to it and nearer to the hide he was also taking shots.We reckon it was there from about 8.50 AM (or earlier) till it flew off SW at 9.15 AM 

Other recent shots from Marsh Lane included young Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017


Went over to Marsh Lane this morning getting there not long after 9.00 AM.It was a lovely morning very sunny and not yet too warm.

Had a good walk round but things were very quiet and it wasn't till I caught up with a cracking looking Linnet along the causeway that I used the camera.The Linnet saved the day.

Monday, 17 July 2017


Didn't get a good look at Mom with 9 chicks the other day at Marsh Lane but I'm hoping she is a Shoveler.

This morning I decided to check out some of my local spots.Went over first to the NT property at Baddesley Clinton to see if the Spotted Flycatchers were still about.The chicks  must have fledged because none were showing.Did see a Grey Wagtail alongside the moat though.

Then I spotted something a bit gruesome on the garden side of the moat.I thought Mallards were vegetarians so I was very surprised to see this female trying to eat what I first though was a frog but is in fact a bird.

Went to three other of my local spots but drew a blank at all of them and never saw a bird at any of them.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017


I've put this blog under a fancy heading this time to cover up the fact that on yesterday morning's visit there the only bird I managed to take a shot of was a very friendly Sedge Warbler on the reeds in front of the N Causeway hide.This then allows me to post a few more shots of a Sedge Warbler than I would normally post.

Now moving away from Marsh Lane Reed Warblers I recently received a couple of shots from 2 family members both non birders and both using the camera on their phones.

The first shot was taken by my brother whose wife's cousin lives in a barn conversion in the wilds not far from Studley. Barn Owls have nested in the barn again this year.They can say they have Barn Owls nesting in their house.How cool is that ! ! !This shot was taken very recently when the RSPB turned up to do some ringing.

This shot was taken earlier in the week by my youngest son who is holidaying with his French fiancee in Gibraltar.Taken on his hotel balcony.I'm told it is a Yellow Legged Gull.

Friday, 7 July 2017


As I've said before I love Spotted Flycatchers but this year I've struggled to catch up with them and only a tip from John Hunt put me onto a pair at Charlecote Park a week or two ago.

I found a pair last year in the churchyard at the NT property at Baddesley Clinton but this year after checking it out several times all I've seen there has been one and then only for a few seconds.

As Baddesley Clinton is very local to me and as I'm a NT member I often tootle over there for a bit of birding.I popped over this morning but instead of going to the churchyard I decided to check out the grounds.Within a few minutes and just past the house moat  near the stream I saw a Spotted Flycatcher.How good am I ! ! ! Alright then.How lucky am I ! ! !

The pair favoured the rather gloomy area round the stream so pics unlike when they were in the churchyard last year were a bit tricky to get.Had to be patient and I managed some decent ones.    

Other pics taken recently included a Reed Warbler (At Marsh Lane)

And a Treecreeper that ventured into the SF's area this morning.

Thursday, 6 July 2017


When it was forecast that Wednesday would be a fine day the urge to go and see the Bee-eaters at East Leake again was too strong particularly if I would have a chance of getting better shots than my previous visit when the weather was grim.

Decided to have an early start and it was 5.30 AM when I drove down the slip road onto the M42. What was a surprise was how busy the motorway was at that early hour.Luckily the traffic thinned out past the M6 toll road and the 40+ mile journey soon passed.

There were only 3 cars in the RSPB car park when I got there which was a surprise considering what a nice day it was.Got to the viewing point at 6.30 AM and joined 5 other photographers there who were taking shots of 3 Bee-eaters on their favourite Ash tree about 80+ metres away.

Too far for me to get a decent shot with my 400 lens but wonderful to see these spectacular birds in bright sunshine.The others were getting decent shots but there were two 500 lenses two 600 lenses and one 800 lens being used all with converters attached.Made me feel very inadequate with my 400 lens and it took me back half a century ago having the same feeling at senior school in the showers with the team after a rugby match.

Later on in the morning there were 5 Bee-eaters on show in the Ash tree.

I realised very quickly if I was going to get a decent shot I would have to go for flight shots when and if they flew a bit closer.This is one of the first flight shot I managed.It's not a good one but I thought it interesting because the bird has caught a pretty big dragonfly. 

After a pretty long wait ( I was at the VP from 6.30 till 10.15 AM) I managed some decent flight shots.This first one was tricky to get because the bird flew right over head.What was very pleasing to me was that the guys with big lens on tripods could not get these flight shots. Ahhh What a shame ! !

Here are a few more flight shots that I was very pleased with.The birds don't help as the zoom around very fast hawking for food.