Monday, 14 December 2009

The odd three out, and Long eared Owl update.

It been a busy past 2 weeks. Avalon Marsh 24 hour wildlife marathon is on and booked and this will start on midday of the 29th of May, and finish midday on the 30th. All the Long-eared Owl survey nights are also booked, and we can now confirm that Mendip AONB will fund for a third year for the LEO surveys on Mendip through the SDF. Big thanks to them. I will be e mailing the dates for these surveys prior to Xmas to all those that took part last year, this before sending PR to ask for additional help. Also at the weekend I was sent a task to photograph a Coal Tit and write an article about them here's one of the pictures, how did I do? Answers on the comment board please.

Yesterday (Sunday) I had a return, relaxing not working visit to RSPB Ham Wall nature reserve. It really is a great reserve, full of proper wild areas, not so called wild areas. The reserve places a big emphasis on people as well as wildlife which is brilliant and actually the combination of the 2 as in real wild and real people means that the people can get closer to the wildlife, as it does not feel so threatened, (well done RSPB). I did not go for the Starling spectacular, indeed I made sure I had left before the thousands of people turned up to watch the 15 million Starlings coming in to roost. Well that's what one birder told me as he left the railway pub. 15 Million wow!

I did find one starling as I walked along the old railway line path.

I had good, but distant views of 2 Marsh Harriers patrolling over the tops of the reeds, with slow flight and occasional turns with almost ungainly yet accomplished hovering. What great birds they are much maligned for all the wrong reasons. The scene at Ham Wall this afternoon remined me of being in Sweden when Tom Arnbom showed me a Swedish expanse of Marsh full of tall reeds and lots of Harriers which seemed to be dotted everywhere. As there was I bouncing up and down saying to Tom "oh my god, oh my god its a Harrier, oh there's another and another" There was I nearly passing with excitement. Looking across the reeds and marshes of Ham Wall really did remind me of that Swedish trip, here's a picture view looking across Ham Wall which includes of course Glastonbury Tor.

RSPB Ham Wall and the view of Glast Tor, a well run real wild reserve

Sadly the Harrier was too far away for a picture but a wild Kestrel followed me along the path, I have to say wild because when ever I show anyone my Kestrel pictures they all think they are Falconers birds, this is a genuine Ham Wall WILD Kestrel!!!!!

Lastly and last week I took this picture at the Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve of Catcott, you need to study the picture (double click for closer view) then leave a message on the comment board and answer the simple question which three birds are the ones that are not supposed to be on the Somerset Levels and in fact should be around the Mediterranean.

To answer the question just the species name will do, so leave your answer in the comments section. BFN see you all soon.


Gaina said...

Last Photo - Glossy Ibis?

The photo of the Coal Tit is lovely! How did you get that close, or what lens did you use?

What time would you recommend getting down to Ham Wall if I want to be settled before the crowds to see the starlings?

Chris Sperring said...

Oh Giana that was very quick:) Glossy Ibis, yes spot on. Coal Tit was taken with the EOS 7D and the Lens was the 100-400mm Canon zoom lens, the Coal Tit is cropped and processed through Photoshop CS.

I left before the crowds. They arrive from 1530 onwards, Starlings at the mo, start rolling up about 1545 to 1600hrs, if its cloudless you will get much better and longer views. I'm going down over the xmas break may well see you there.

KatySarah said...

Great picture of the Coal Tit Chris, but obviously the Kestrel is my favourite photo! Looks like a little male, lovely.

Chris Sperring said...

Hi Katy. I liked the Kestrel,it was a good test of the new auto focus system in the 7D, see you at the xmas owl prowl.

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