29 October, 2008

Two-Day-Stay- Phssin 'n' Pheasant feedin

This entry is from my two-day-stay at my relatives in Bury st Edmunds, Suffolk. It gave me a great chance to take a look at the woodland birds and the local Pheasants.
I spread some seed on the garden lawn hoping for Pheasants when I came back, then I set out with my camera and borrowed 8-15x bins and headed for the woods behind the house. I then hid behind a tree and used the 'phsssing' method to get the birds to come to me, hopefully (for those who of you have no idea what the 'phssing method' is, it is a noise you can make that mimics the sound of a bird alarm call, according to Bill Oddie. Birds in the area, especially thrushes and warblers, will come and check you out, then wizz off when they see you are not a bird at all. This method gives you a vital second to identify the bird).

I don't think I had sat down for 30 seconds and I had already attracted a whole tit flock! Blueys, Great tits, Long tails, Coal tits, Goldcrests, Nuthatchs and even a possible illusive Lesser spotted Woody.
A fuzzy shot of a Great tit......

A little later and I could hear Redwings and a very quiet Blackbird, Wrens, Robins and lots of Rooks (as there was a rookery above me). I also got some entertainment from the local Squirrel that jumped and fell and climbed and probably snapped more twigs than a pig would if you plonked one in a tree.

A little while later and the birds had gone, all that was left was a pair of sqeaking Goldcrests and a Nuthatch, so I decided to leave. Now was the moment of truth, was there a Pheasant in the back garden waiting for me to photograph it.........yes! It was a beautiful male (named Henry by my Grandpa) and apparently, he is a frequent visitor to the garden. I crouched down on the grass slowly so I didn't scare him and took a few shots of him.
Coming in from the right......

25 October, 2008

Bushy Park

One of my favourite wildlife sites in Surrey, Bushy Park holds a large population of Red deer and Fallow deer. It is also home to all three species of Woodpeckers. I mainly come here to take photos of the Red Deer and the wildfowl, which is why I came today.

It is Red deer rutting season and out in the park, the males are claiming their girls, the biggest and loudest deer attract the most females, like this big fellow in the video below.

These big males will fight and scare off any competition, the outcast deer will then have to go to another area of the park to try for some ladies another time. This deer (below) had obviously lost in a recent battle and was now asleep in the ferns away from the rest of the group, giving me great close views and photos of him.

I also took a few shots of the local Egyptian Geese in the park and I have just noticed a small resident population of about 6 Red Crested Pochards on the main lake by the car park. Presumaby they are escapees or captive birds?

There were large amounts of seagulls by the main lake and I was trying to pick out a Black-backed gull or mabye something better. I found nothing and decided to photograph the local Black-headed gulls and wildfowl.

A Jackdaw about to fall of a branch......

This unfortunate Mute Swan had a fishing line tied round its leg. Here, you can see the poor guy trying to pull it out. Luckily, the local park rangers were on hand to save the day, the only bad thing is...... stressed swan+human interference=very very very angry swan

14 October, 2008

Wetland Water Vole

My first post blogging! Bear with me here because I'm totally new to this.

A couple of hours at the wetland centre was enough time for me to find a tiny Water Vole under the bridge by Wildside hide (a first for me and a very rare resident at the centre). It gave very frustraiting views to the viewers!

Then, as I walked, a man pointed out a Buzzard and 3 Meadow Pipits flying over one of the ponds by the summer route. Other birds included Yellow Wagtail, Teal, Pochard and Egyptian goose.