Saturday, 18 February 2012

Song birds step forward!

Song thrush
This blog isn't doing much travelling this week. A couple of walks to work and a trip round Caldecotte North lake this morning and that's about it.
the one common factor in all of these is the increase in songbird activity - definitely more singing more loudly!  both days I managed to walk to work this week there was a song thrush in the trees along the old Walton Lane - I grabbed shots both days, but "day 2" was the best - the thrush was low down in the big hedge - although he soon skipped to the back behind a mass of twigs when he clocked me watching.
Green woodpecker
A gloomy day today, meant I didn't rush out - the light was dreadful for photography really. By the time I did go out (around 8am) a smur of rain blew through, setting the pattern for the morning.
By the time I'd got to the dam at the top of the lake I could see that the boats had pushed most of the birds into the side inlets. I was eyeing the trees at the foot of the dam for song birds - and hopefully woodpecker, when I heard a voice behing me - Keith again, heading for the area behind the pub where he seen Goosander heading.
As usual this part of the lake was teaming with waterfowl, all of which paddled to the opposite bank when they spotted us. Tufted duck, pochard, widgeon, coots, mallard, Canada geese, cormorant, gulls and great crested grebe were all in evidence, with the start of the show the goosander. It was difficult to tell how many as they were all busy feeding, and I don't think we saw them all on the surface at the same time. At least 4 though, all but one that I saw today were female. It's a good place to see these birds though, as the lake isn't very wide here, so they can never move too far away.
Wot do you mean, "fluff"?
Feather maintenance
We rounded the sluice and Keith set out south to his crow rendez-vous, while I did the "hotel loop".  I had an inkling that the damp would make the grassy banks ideal for green woodpeckers. I've seen them here often, but never got a decent photograph, as apart from their good camoflage, they are very wary and exit "stage left" very quickly.
I followed the bank, driving the water birds back across the lake to the where they had started from. I was watching some gadwall, when I caught the movement of a reasonable size bird into a tree in the shrubbery to my right. Sure enough it was a green woodpecker. It tucked itself round the trunk from me, but I did get quite close before he headed south. I turned north to complete the loop and noticed a "lumpy branch" - I was in luck, a second green woodpecker was working on being inconspicuous. He lifted his head to look around ...Got you! My first acceptable green woodpecker shot.
Round the corner a family of swans were performing their morning maintenance, the young now showing their new white feathers in patches.
As my knee was dishing out warning signs, I decided I'd not got south today, but headed for the bridge and the return up the other side of the north lake.  I couldn't ignore the loud and varied songs in the brush areas along the margins on the south lake and made the short detour to the picnic area.  I was in luck - the bull finches were active and I got some good views of them - and one "decent" picture.  It was great to see them flitting through the bushes, along with a large number of the usual reed bunting.
It's a shame the lighting was so challenging, but nevertheless, an enjoyable walk and a couple of "firsts" with the camera.
one of the many groups of tufted duck


  1. You got some good shots there Marilyn. No matter what the weather's doing Caldecotte always seems to provide some decent photo opportunities.

    You did well with the Bullfinch, I spent close on 30 minutes there the other day trying to get a clear shot, and never did!!

    With you and Keith both having crook knees I reckon you would make a good team in a three legged race!!...sorry, I couldn't resist it!!...[;o)

  2. Good to meet up with you Marilyn.
    Hard job trying to count those Goosanders.
    Well done with the Green Woodpecker, and Bullfinch.

  3. I have just discovered your lovely blog via Keiths and have had a lovely browse..
    Many thanks for sharing.