Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Is It Because They Hate The English?

Surely that can be the only reason that news of the whereabouts of a certain American visitor have been cruelly suppressed all day. Given that a quarter of the Scottish population must work for the RSPB as they appear to be one of the few sizable employers left in Scotland one would think that they could have made an effort and found the damn thing.

I keep telling my wife that all this blogging effort is going to pay off eventually and someone somewhere will recognise my talent and employ me to write about extinct woodpeckers and the like. Until then I'm afraid I'm having to make do with including some adverts in each post. Tonight's ad comes from the Northumbrian Tourist Board. please take a little time to read it before moving on to rest of this post.

Are you from North America? Have you been visiting Scotland? Perhaps the weather and the number of alocholics has put you off. Here in Northumbria we have the perfect place to rest weary legs and enjoy some good food. Pictured above is the location for the very latest place to stay Crane Field Resort. Specially prepared just for you, it's the perfect short break stopover on your way back south, don't be fooled by the weather in our picture that came from Scotland.

So Autumn is here, migration in full swing. An hour spare and the options were myriad, northerlies bringing the last of the Long-tailed Skuas perhaps, Booted Warbler needing refinding down the coast, or a little viz mig for large yank cranes?
No, courtesy of an annoyingly badly timed deluge everywhere east of my back garden instead I took a nice picture of some berries.



Berries
Surely you had some birds though I hear you all wonder. Well the photographs below don't lie, it's a bird, an odd one, but really leucistic Carrion Crow wasn't high on my list of target species when I left the house. I did my bit, I checked 18 stubble filled fields all suitable for resting cranes. 51 Pink-footed Goose, 18 Herring Gull, three Common Pheasant and an untold number of corvids and Woodpigeon later I ran out of time.





I'll leave you with this thought, somewhere tonight perhaps in a field near you a Sandhill Crane sleeps soundly waiting for you to find it tomorrow, work can wait, find that crane.



Tibetan Sky Burial

I originally saw these images a few weeks back when Sharon Stiteler posted them on her Birdchick blog. As someone reasonably well travelled but brought up here in the west I found them fascinating, difficult to view, uncomfortable to think about but perhaps providing the ultimate carbon neutral funeral. There would seem to be little available here in the west that can offer anything as basically natural as this although who knows perhaps it is a future business development opportunity for Gigrin Farm.
If your squeamish or fainted at child birth just move on, don't follow the link, go and read something safe and friendly like Andy Mackay.
I just felt they were worth sharing as they challenge a lot of the ideas we have over here about death and the dead. Griffons I think if anyone is still reading.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Catch The Pigeon

In a half joking but incredibly prophetic Facebook status yesterday I said

"who has three children with birthdays in the next five days, hopefully starts some paid work this week and needs to visit his accountant to sign off a set of business accounts, is willing to bet that Sandhill Crane turns up on the mainland to throw a spanner in the works by Thursday"

Anyone wishing to have six numbers selected should email me at birdneast@btinternet.com to arrange payment of a modest fee that they will surely recover many times over within days.

I've seen one estimate based on it's current speed that it could arrive in Northumberland as soon as 4.00pm tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see whether it sticks to the coast to skirt round the mountains or flys down Loch Ness and ends up tracking down the west coast. In any event there is going to be lots of eyes searching for a single bird over the next 48 hours across southern Scotland and the North of England. Let's hope it's found somewhere viewable and do-able early Thursday morning.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Fun With Phyll & Sylvia

If yesterday was gloss this morning was the emulsion. I couldn't face the idea of the inevitable crowds that would be drawn to the Ibis even though my snatched shots yesterday were poor in comparison to some of the others floating around from once it had settled.
Instead I headed to Woodhorn Church and the hedge that lies in the field to the east. With the sun sneaking over the railway line and lighting up the mixed unkempt hedge filled with the reds and blacks of autumn Elderberry, Rosehip, Hawthorn & Blackberry it's one of my favourite places at this time of year.
Even the soundscape had that autumnal feel this morning, the sad phrases of the Robin song singing out the last of the summer sunshine with just the occasional 'jack' from Jackdaw in the nearby churchyard as they rose and wheeled in the morning sun.
With predominantly WSW winds over the last few days I didn't expect too much. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of phyllosc warblers. I use the general term because I'm convinced there were several that went unseen and unidentified. At least five maybe more Common Chiffchaff provided a bit of a photographic challenge. Incredibly active, chasing, feeding, ducking and diving they should be renamed 'Amphetamine' Warbler. just occasionally they'll shove a bill out at you or perch tantalisingly in the open before zipping back behind a leaf or a bunch of berries.
I spent a good hour and must have shot a couple of hundred shots at several different birds. Here are the four, that turned out ok-ish.
Whilst the shots above may not reflect it they seemed to favour Elderberry to feed in, spending more time in these bushes than Hawthorn.
A short walk along the Ash Lagoon bank unearthed a single male Blackcap feeding on berries, out of range of my lens. Rather ominously I spied JGS over near the Woodhorn hedge as I drove home. Two Common Buzzard over Longhirst Flash were perhaps the same birds noted over Butcher's Lane yesterday.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Gloss

Twenty years since the last one as others have highlighted meant a pre-dawn start this morning to stake a claim on what was sure to be a popular choice of destination, Druridge Pool.
It's not very often that I actually have specific species in my dreams but last night I dreamt about a dozen Glossy Ibis all in a single flock. Arriving at the Budge Hide for 5.50am with dawn still a while away and clear skies resulting in a rather chilly morning one would do.
On my tod for the first twenty minutes till Alan Giloney trudged up a Barn Owl along the wood at least gave me something to focus the bins on. Gradually light brought a steady stream of local birders eager to get to grips with a long overdue county tick.
Unfortunately it didn't bring the bird. Despite an overload of optics focused on all corners of the field the only thing with a curved beak was a distant Curlew in a far field. With no knowledge of last night's finders and no one locally having received any sort of call inevitably doubts were cast including my own.
By the time Tim "The Curlew" Cleeves had arrived many had dispersed to other hides and locations.
Soon after I left for home, a brief stop at the Lyne next to the sewage plant and had a couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker, migrants? probably not.
A quick call at Woodhorn then home past the Linton Roundabout where I scoped three Pink-footed Goose and about 25 Herring Gull in the fields.
Mid-way through my fried egg sandwich, middle son was on my laptop playing Internet games, I sat beside him and got him to login to Birdguides. As the Bird News Extra page scrolled down the first bird.....Glossy Ibis......Longhirst F......09:40 Fifteen minutes earlier. With shoelaces slapping my ankles I was on the move in 14 seconds, the steam still rising from the half eaten sandwich all that remained to mark where I had been.
I arrived at a deserted Longhirst Flash, "surely I couldn't be first?" I pondered. Three minutes later I was heading for Bothal. A line of cars stretched east toward me and people still had bins trained out on the water alas it had gone but not before seven or eight birders had connected with it including many who had been in the hide earlier, Roger Forster and 'Lucky' Andy Mclevy who had inconceivably managed to time his flight back from Ecuador just in time to connect with only the third record of the Gloss in Northumberland in living memory.
I had been so close Sexton was still sketching, touching distance. I pondered going elsewhere to search as it had flown north west. AG headed for the smaller ponds to the north on foot. I hung about drawn by tales of 300+ lifers in Ecuador and warm sunshine.
Suddenly a shout went up and behind me coming back toward the pond perhaps flushed by AG the Gloss arced back over the road and made to land. Grabbing camera from car I fired off a couple of shots before it once gain lifted and moved off north again.

I tried to follow, by the time I got to Longhirst Flash, it had been and gone again. Tim Dean and a couple of others had watched it land, take some grief from a few gulls and depart again north. 42 seconds of exhiliration as good as any rollercoaster.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Johnny Foreigner

When an request for information about birding sites in Northumberland appeared on Birdforum from Johnny Foreigner Andy Ross from Ontario Canada it was an opportunity to get out for a full day birding and do a good turn at the same time.
So after a flutter of email and messages I picked up AR from a Metro station in a northern Newcastle suburb on a bright but blustery Thursday morning. We had had a brief chat about whether there was anything specific he was looking for on the pelagic Saturday as he had also been one of the passengers on that trip.
First stop was Mitford Castle, I figured if we didn't get any birds it wouldn't be too often he got to bird around a 12th century ruin. A small tit flock with Blue Tit & Great Tit also held at least one phyllosc but neither of us got a decent view. Two Nuthatch up on the surrounding bank side were distant but visible and a Common Buzzard soon got up and wheeled around our heads before banking away. Around the castle there were several birds in Hawthorn Spotted Flycatcher the pick of the bunch. A Dipper on the river offered AR better views than his life tick at Jesmond Dene some days earlier. 15 House Martin hawked over the grassland as we returned to the car, picking out Song Thrush on the wire and flyover Mistle Thrush as bonus birds.
Hulne Park our next stop was quiet although the single Nuthatch and Coal Tit at the gatehouse feeders offered good close views. Again a Common Buzzard mewing for all it was worth circled overhead.
A short stop at Fenham Mill produced Little Egret noted flying by AR as I was setting up the scope, c2000 Pale-bellied Brent Goose as well as his first views of Bar-tailed Godwit. Martin Kitching on a paid tour (some people get all the good jobs) arrived just before we left.
We apparently missed an Osprey near the causeway but despite intense searches on the way back we couldn't re-locate it, with two Common Stonechat our only reward. The Vicar's Garden produced a single Common Redstart, this and a flyover Northern Wheatear were the only migrants of note on the island. We did have a large pipit (sp) in the grass around the flooded fields but views were brief and very distant and the bird could not be relocated from closer with a flyby Kestrel adding to the flux.
In the region of 1000 Pink-footed Goose and 40-50 Barnacle Goose loitered in the fields north of Budle Bay with small groups arriving every few minutes. Budle Bay filled with Gulls offered little else. Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipit along with some commoner seabirds provided more to see at Stag Rocks. It was mid afternoon by the time we arrived at Monk's House Pool, filled with Common Teal it also provided AR with closer views of several more Pink-footed Goose that were chilling around the far edge.
Possibly the best bird of the day, not a stone's throw from the Sexton mansion was an adult Peregrine picking apart whatever it had caught in a large field. In a scene reminiscent of an old Survival show it was quickly surrounded by marauding Crows which it held at bay by calling loudly at.


Afternoon Tea - Peregrine Style
Peregrine extending the hand of welcome to local corvids.

A couple of unsuccessful attempts at Little Owl and a Greenshank flushed from a channel on the Aln Estuary were the only other late afternoon birds of note. Not a classic day but perhaps much to do with the wind direction. I believe AR gets to do it all again with another local birder tomorrow.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Last Pelagic - Part 2 The Skuas.

Unless you happen to live in north west Spain or spent the Spring encamped under a railway viaduct on the Solway it seems to have been a poor year for Skuas in the north. Very few records of Long-tailed Skua in the North Sea and not great numbers of the commoner three. The three evening pelagics over July & August had produced two Arctic Skua, a mean return.
It was pleasing then to get a couple of skuas on last week's eight hour odyssey. First up was an adult Great Skua.


Great Skua adult
It or another was seen again later in the day. It was interesting to note that it/they seemed to focus slightly further back in the 'wake' of gulls rather than right up with the boat.
Later a single Pomarine Skua graced us with a reasonably close flyby. At the time I remember suggesting this was an intermediate bird but getting back and studying the images it wasn't. An adult, as there is virtually no barring on the underwing at all and it has a good tail 'spoon'. Possibly a female as they more frequently have the barring visible on the uppertail and flanks. It may be that this bird has already moulted into winter plumage as some non or failed breeders can apparently complete their moult early whilst still in the northern hemisphere. (Olsen & Larsson:Skuas & Jaegers)









Wednesday, 23 September 2009

It may be considered by some as a token gesture, others might see it as a symbolic move in the right direction but news that the Holkham Estate in Norfolk have matched a reward offered by the RSPB for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting of a Common Buzzard in August should be applauded.
According to police, a postmortem of the bird revealed its body contained pellets from a shotgun cartridge. The exact location of where it was shot is unknown.
As long as the shooting and conservation lobbys remain at loggerheads the individuals perpetrating such crimes slip through under the radar all too often. Game estates and responsible shooting organisations need to do more to get the message over that wildlife crime is unacceptable and must end the culture of silence and secrecy and co-operate fully with the police in these matters.
Those involved in conservation need to recognise that landowners will seek to make profits from their assets and on moorland that means game shooting. The RSPB is right for example to be involved in the Langholm Moor Project where methods such as alternative feeding of Hen Harrier are being tested. Perhaps it's also time for government to recognise it has a role to play. If we want landowners and estates to live with and encourage biodiversity there will need to be compensation. To be honest I think many of us would be happy in the knowledge that money that would represent a tiny proportion of other subsidies was being used to remove any notional need to 'control' raptors and improve biodiversity in upland habitat
What all parties can do without however is narrow minded opportunists such as Robert Gray spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance who in an anything other than a conciliatory tone commented "We hope this marks a new era of the RSPB and shooting estates working together for the benefit of shooting and wildlife, but I am not holding my breath. It will be back to bashing gamekeepers and shoots when it needs to raise some more money."
Some folk just can't seem to get to grips with zeitgeist can they.

source

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Silvery Wing Update

What did we all do before the Internet? The speed of communication sometimes just knocks me out. I forwarded the photographs of Sooty Shearwater on to Dr Ismael Galvan at the Department of Evolutionary Ecology, National Museum, Madrid who led the team that produced the original paper, which I'm going to have to purchase now. I enquired if Sooty Shearwater was one of the skins that they examined as supportive evidence and if they thought that the feather mechanism discovered could be present in Sooty Shearwater. this afternoon I had a reply which I'm sure he won't mind me publishing part of. Dr Galvan replied

"Thank you very much for your interest in our work and for sending these amazing pictures. In our paper, we aimed at describing the mechanism because it has been overlooked, but did not try to perform a comprehensive search of sheen feathers among birds. This is because we didn't conduct a comparative study, although this must to be the next step. However, we searched for these feathers in several species of birds from different phylogenetic groups, which led us to conclude that sheen feathers seem to have evolved in large species that are limited to generate conspicuous colouration through other mechanisms. Thus, the Sooty Shearwater fits very well in the group of birds we predict to have sheen feathers. Indeed, and although we didn't examined shearwaters in any museum collection, after viewing your pictures I'm almost sure that the silvery colour they display when in the sun is produced by the same sheen feathers we have described. Sheen feathers are easy to identify because they present a whitish, fuzzy appearance without iridescence. The effect in Sooty Shearwaters is very similar to the effect that can be seen in Bearded and Egyptian Vultures, you can be sure this is the same mechanism. However, I'd like to examine shearwater feathers closely. Do you have flight feathers of Sooty Shearwaters?"

So if anyone out there finds a Sooty and wants to forward on a couple of secondaries just drop me an email at birdneast@btinternet.com

Monday, 21 September 2009

Silver-winged Sooty Shearwater

I wasn't really ready for this post so soon after the last crop of Sooty Shearwater images but sometimes chance deals you a hand that you can't ignore. Saturday was mostly a bright day with good sunshine. Whilst out on the Northern Experience pelagic and in a lull I was reviewing images on the camera screen and came across a shot of a Sooty with what looked like silvery white secondaries. A few frames later same bird no silvery white secondaries. Puzzled I began to show MK and we both had shots of same bird, recognized by the two white scapulars with and without shiny silvery secondaries. We discussed this briefly concluding it was perhaps a trick of the light. I made a mental note to read the literature and see if the feathers were metameric (looked different colours in different light). Issue parked move on.
Tonight a post appeared in my reader from the excellent 10000birds entitled 'Explanation For Silvery Wings' which briefly summarised a news story from the BBC here.


Essentially they report for the first time the existence of a structural mechanism of feathers different from iridescence that makes plumage conspicuous. By using electron and light microscopy, they have shown that the mechanism consists of special lengthened and twisted distal barbules that are very susceptible to damage. The dorsal side of these barbules is translucent, which creates a distinctive sheen colouration to feathers that otherwise would be dark. When distal sheen barbules are broken, the black proximal barbules are exposed, thus generating a conspicuous difference between abraded and non-abraded areas. Total and ultraviolet reflectance of sheen (non-abraded) areas are strikingly higher than in abraded areas. They propose that this mechanism represents a case of convergent evolution in species that are limited in developing colourful plumage patches.
Lo and behold it seems that our 'silver-winged' Sooty Shearwaters could be another example of a dark species with the specialised barbule mechanism discovered by a group of scientists based in Spain and Canada led by Dr Ismael Galvan of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. Given that Sooty Shearwater easily falls into the category of a large dark feathered, open habitat species it would seem entirely reasonable to conclude that this may be the case.

The researchers suspect that dark coloured birds evolved this silver sheen as a way to show off, while maintaining the benefits of dark coloured feathers.
Dark feathers contain the pigment melanin, which protects feathers against the damaging effects of abrasion and UV radiation.

So there you have it you get it all from this blog, investigative journalism, witty repartee and now I can add cutting edge science to the list. And all for free....



Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Last Pelagic - Part 1 Shearwaters.

It was for me at least, my last one for 2009. After missing out on an adult Sabine's Gull on 5th I was hoping that we would get some quality this week. The boat seemed slightly less full as we steamed out of the Tyne but the morning sunshine was welcome and the swell was negligible. A full eight hours lay ahead.
All three of the previous evening pelagics were characterised by lots of Manx Shearwater but only the odd Sooty Shearwater. Saturday was the flip side of the coin. I only saw a single Manx Shearwater in eight hours, there may have been one or two others seen by other observers but I wasn't aware of any. The one that did appear suddenly took flight from near the boat startled by our appearance.
Manx Shearwater
Sooty Shearwaters are elegant birds in the air, a staple of any regular seawatcher during July-September. Numbers can be very good in the North Sea in peak conditions but some years only a few appear. We were lucky to see 20+ with up to four around the boat at any given time. We also had groups of three and a few occasions with two birds present. On the water they allowed reasonable approach by the boat.
Sooty Shearwater
Once on the water they engaged in a number of interesting behaviours including wing-stretching, submerging, preening and stretching. Never a dull moment.
Sooty Shearwater, wing stretching.
Sooty Shearwater, partially submerging (or bathing?)
Every now and again one would sit up and flash that diagnostic silver underwing at us.
Time and again when we were static with birds around and about the boat a Sooty would shear in coming to within 30m then veer off. Some landed others circled once or twice and moved off.

Sooty Shearwater commenting on my camera technique.

Flushed

Tootling along near the now closed and sealed Ellington Road Landfill (RIP) I noticed about 50 large gulls roosting in the large ploughed field. "Super" I thought "that'll fill in twenty minutes before I go home."
So with scope setup I'm working my way through them when up they go in a flash.

The Culprit
None of the large gulls hung about any longer than necessary but the Crows they were a different story. This was their field and they were going nowhere. However our culprit maybe young but he wasn't giving up either.
Closing in on the Crows
After several mock attacks he managed to ruffle a few crow feathers and got them up in the air where he/she promptly started giving chase.

Juvenile Peregrine chasing Carrion Crow
No sooner had the youngster headed off to wreak havoc elsewhere than an adult arrived and promptly landed in the middle of the field, sitting there a good ten minutes before heading up to a higher vantage on one of the nearby pylons.


Pied Wagtail Variability

Watching a few Pied Wagtail yarrelli going to roost the other night and I was struck by the variability of the females. I'm hoping one or two of the ringers might comment on whether this is just moult ( I think not) or simply variability in individuals. It seems to be particularly with regard to the amount of black on the forehead and in the ear coverts. I've arranged the images from least black to most, the final image had me checking other races but it is simply a yarrelli with extensive black on the forehead and ear coverts. Image 2 also shows the slight yellowish tinge that sometimes occurs in winter plumage.
















Saturday, 19 September 2009

And On The Way Home...

Almost forgot to mention that on my way back from

Where I spent a good deal of time looking at these when I wasn't trying to winkle out the details on a certain alleged breeding record and changed the camera shutter speed to take images like this without using flash.

I messed up all my images of three of these by not remembering I had fiddled with said settings.
This being the only one without two heads and four wings.








Thursday, 17 September 2009

The Man From A.L.S.T.O.N

As planned I drove to Alston today to meet the man who has claimed to have watched as the first pair of Great Grey Shrike bred in Britain this summer at an undisclosed site on Alston Moor. Having done a little research it was with some trepidation that I went as he appeared to have a feisty & fearsome reputation. However I wanted to look into his eyes (don't tell the wife) as he answered questions about this story.

Having visited the outside of his house twice I met a man today who was a little tidier in his appearance than his front garden and windows suggested he might be. A recent haircut and neat beard gave him a distinguished look.

He was quick to make clear that he had no wish to get involved with records committees and the 'politics' that come with them, despite being a Parish Councillor.

I took my time and shared my first experience of Great Grey Shrike, a wintering bird at Normanton, South Yorkshire, with him before asking when he first saw the pair of shrikes together. "Back in April or May, one bird had wintered and was joined by another"

We moved off the subject and he kept moving around the small transport and 20th century memorabilia museum in which he volunteers. I remained patient and asked how he had first realised they were breeding.

"I watched their behaviour, nest building, although it took a while to locate the nest"

"Their nest was built high up in a big tree"

What kind of tree? I enquired.

"A Sycamore" came the brief reply.

For over an hour he was happy to relate tales of past endeavours and naturalists met or worked with (Ennion, Tunnicliffe, Fisher et al). Every time I drew the conversation back to the shrikes the detail dried up. I sensed an unease, a nervousness, whenever I re-raised the subject.

Had he recovered any material from the nest?

"Yes, food pellets and a piece of eggshell"

The nest site had been kept secret "to protect it from visitors and a local man who shoots everything in sight" (17 herons and an unspecified number of Goosander this year allegedly).

He had "seen four of the five birds bathing in the South Tyne near a ford in the river"

A coach trip arrived and I was nearing the end of my time. The $64000 dollar question, could I have a piece of the eggshell "for DNA analysis" he replied as his eyes lit up almost as if he had been expecting the question. "It's already happening, I have a friend in the Midlands who is carrying out DNA tests. It might not even be from the shrikes but the colour & texture of the eggshell are very similar to Red-backed Shrike eggs that I have seen."

"Could I have a copy of the report when you get it?" I asked

"Yes although it might be some time yet before it comes back" he replied.


So no further forward, just a few almost random pieces of information. There are no photographs as he made no attempt to take any. He has sketches. No specific dates just vague references to months and weeks. A DNA test on some eggshell, that may have come from the alleged nest or may not, carried out by an unspecified 'friend' in the Midlands.

I went to Alston knowing it was unlikely that I would come away with definitive proof either way but I wanted to understand more about the underlying paradoxes. Why would a man intent on shunning publicity and avoiding the 'politics' of records committees put himself in the firing line by handing the story to a newspaper? Why would someone who has kept the secret of a a first breeding record for our small islands to protect the birds choose a country newspaper read predominantly by the sparrowhawk hating, shotgun owning, good country folk of Northumberland to break the news?

He is a poet, with a poet's imagination, he may have seen a Great Grey Shrike, he may have seen two. I have a theory that might resolve the paradoxes. A chance conversation, with perhaps elements of a fisherman's 'it was this big' about it, with an old newspaper friend may have resulted in the publication of the story. Perhaps the old friend at the Courant got wind that binocular clad hordes had descended on a small golf course high on the moors and rang his local friend to find out what was going on. I believe that something of this nature occurred rather than a deliberate news release by our man. The story has snowballed taken on a life of it's own beyond the circle of friends and village walls of his isolated home. Backtracking isn't easy, it takes a lack of ego, one has to be able to deal with hurt pride, that can be hard when pride is perhaps all you have. Somewhere in this there are some facts, I'm not sure what they are nor am I sure that they are not interwoven into the fabric of a fiction.

The Return Of The Snap

We've had an absence of images as a result of all the good seawatching, so after a quick check this morning to make sure that the passage had ceased as I expected I wandered onto a fairly busy (in avian terms) Newbiggin Beach. The Med Gulls here seem to becoming increasingly confiding and allowing reasonably close approach. A minimum of five today, one adult, one 2nd-winter and three 1st-winter.

Med Gull, 2nd-winter.

Med Gull, adult winter.

Med Gull, 1st-winter


Med Gull, 1st-winter.
Plenty common waders Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover & Sanderling feeding over a wide area and again not spooking too easy.

Common Redshank.


Sanderling


I was trying hard for the reflection but not quite there.


Not quite sure I'm getting the white balance right yet.
A quick foray along the Ash Lagoon Bank produced a tsunami of Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch & Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting
A good few warblers rattled around the bramble on the banks, too many to get to grips with in the half hour I had remaining. So apart from this sprightly Lesser Whitethroat and a skulking Common Whitethroat the rest shall remain nameless.