A New Bird

September 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm

This week’s photo is of a bird I have never captured on film before. You can never plan to go out and film a Stock Dove and the photo was taken when I was waiting for the juvenile Hobbies to land in the same dead tree. It would appear that the doves were nesting in the wood near by and used the dead tree before entering the wood giving me an unexpected bonus.

With three continuous days of rain this last week more time has been spent preparing the new DVD which will be entitled ‘A Bird for All Seansons’ and will include eighty species of birds seen through a Pennine year. There will be some remarkable film on it from Buzzards feeding an Adder to their young to a female Barn Owl with a young on her back.

There has been an exodus of Grey Wagtails from the hills during the week with birds feeding on Hopwood and along the canal.

Orange Eyes Is Back

September 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Once again we have in the garden a male Sparrowhawk with deep orange eyes. He has visited us for the last few Winters and if his breast feathers were more orange he would be a text book gem. Needless to say he is not very popular when he hunts in the garden and is chased off whenever he is seen. After being photographed of course!

On the twenty second of September we had a classic early Autumn day with at least two degrees of frost at dawn. There was a record five Buzzards on Hopwood, all very vocal as they rose in the thermals. Apparently there was a massive movement of Buzzards through the Manchester area on that day. Also on Hopwood there was a Green Woodpecker and a singing Chiff Chaff. An influx of Goldcrests was also noticeable.

Along the canal have been two Cormorants. On one day a bird was searching for fish from the wires of the overhead pylons, a good eighty foot above the canal!

Five Years On

September 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

It is five years this weekend since we commenced this blog and I hope that during this time readers will have gleaned some information relating to the trials and tribulations of a wildlife photographer.

Most of this week has been spent working on the new DVD and hence the highlights of the week occurred in the garden. Not one but two Nuthatches appeared and are now regular visitors. It is more than a year since a Nuthatch fed in the garden and I hope they will stay with us all Winter. On one day during the week the Wood Pigeons brought their two fledged young with them.

On Hopwood ten Mistle Thrushes were feeding on berries while twenty five Goldfinches fed on Ragwort seeds. The first Weasel I have seen this year ran across the driveway.

Breeding Season Ends

September 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Apart from last week’s Kingfisher disaster the period June to late August has been the busiest I have ever had with the camera. The fact that this has fallen during the wettest Summer in over a century is amazing. The two juvenile Hobbies were the icing on the cake and something I have waited a long time to see.

At Hopwood the Swallows are now fledging their last broods of young. A change in the golf club’s attitude has meant that this year they have had only one room in which to breed. Being slightly territorial I never expected five pairs would all use this one room but they have and reared good numbers of young. It is to be hoped that they are allowed continued access to this room next year as over the last two decades thousands of young Swallows have been reared at this one venue.

In the garden we have had a record of four Dunnocks together one day as nine Long Tailed Tits fed at the same time. In the fields all the thistles are now going to seed so the garden Goldfinch numbers have fallen dramatically.

Kingfisher Tragedy

September 2, 2012 at 10:47 am

I suppose it had to happen in the wettest Summer for a century that my regular pair of Kingfishers would fail to rear any young this year. They started in March with the first brood being taken by a Mink. A replacement brood was ready to fledge in June then four inches of rain fell and their nesting hole disappeared under ten foot of flood water. A third attempt was made last month with six young due to fledge yesterday. Alas the tunnel was again flooded as a result of last Saturday’s thunderstorms. I was there on Sunday and watched the female take fish into the nesting tunnel only to come out again still with the fish in her bill because the young were drowned inside. It is an event I would not want to witness again and I wonder how many more Kingfishers throughout the whole country have had a similar fate.

The most pleasant event of the week was watching two fledged Hobbies trying to catch prey before their long journey South. With a minimum temperature of only 3°C one night they will soon be on their way.

Along the local canal have been one hundred and thirty five Canada Geese and a Chiff Chaff still singing. In the garden a female Blackcap is regularly eating the honeysuckle berries. A local Swift on the 1st September is the latest I have ever seen.