Sunday, 24 August 2008

Short Eared Owl

I had yet another trip out to pat Haven today.
Took my trusty mate george (the dog) just for an hour to see if the short eared owls I had seen the previous day were still there.
I went right down the side of the drain past the sluice and up onto a raised bank near the estuary.
Straight away I saw both birds hunting over the saltmarsh, every now and then dropping on to something.
I guess they were feeding on something pretty small because I never saw them come up with any voles or small mammals.
I thought I would try my luck digiscoping, and whilst they are not the fastest birds, they do present a challenge.
I was quite happy with these shots.

More From Pat Haven

I had another trip down to patrington Haven yesterday, I was hoping to get some shots of the greenshanks that are currently residing there.
It was my intention to get there a couple of hours before the tide came in and set up my small hide to wait for the birds.
After initially flushing a few redshank on the pool as I set up, it wasn't long before the birds started to come back.
First was a knot, then a redshank and a juvenile ruff.The bird activity increased dramatically as the tide flooded and the sky was filed with the sound of thousands of knot.
Soon the greenshank came they settled at opposite me about 30m away and roosted with just the odd flurry of activity.
More redshank came in along with a couple of Dunlin, and also a littel egret came in for a short while.
One of the problems with Pat Haven is that it is quite a popular walking area and anyone up on the bank invariably flushes all the birds.
I figured that If I got there early I might have a couple of hours undisturbed.Fortunately it wasn't while half eleven that the first walker came along so at this point I decide to pack up and go.
I noticed a couple of short eared owls hunting in the field opposite as I walked back.
Another nice morning, still didn't get any shots of the grey or golden plovers, I might have to change my spot...........

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Patrington Haven

I went down to patrington Haven for a look at the waders yesterday morning.High tide was around 6.00am so I thought it would be good to get there for then.
The first bird I saw when I got there was a hunting marsh harrier,(a good start) then there was a couple of sedge warblers feeding young along the drain bank.
The trick about not scaring the birds at pat Haven is to keep your silouette off the sky line so instead of oging straight over the bank I stayed down on the track and walked to the pumping station.
On the way down there was goldfinches,meadow pipits,2 wheatears and pied wagtails.Also the hirundines had just started to feed.Withe the sun on my back it was easier to get over the top of the bank in the shadow of the sub-station and I could watch the birds virtually undetected.
The sheer amount of bird down there is unbelievable especially the waders.
By now the tide had started to ebb and the birds had become more active, there was at least 5 species of gull, golden plovers (including one rather well marked darker bird) grey plover,curlew,whimbrel,greenshank,ruff,green sandpiper,oystercatcher,dunlin,hundreds of knot.
There was also at least 7 little egrets.
As the tide ebbed futher most of the birds moved off this sight in itself was an absolute spectacle.
The probem with Pat Haven as far as photography goes is that you cannot get that close to the birds, but a rather nice hollow near the edge of the bank brings the birds that much closer.
I thought it might be woth setting up a small hide before the next high tide and waiting for the birs to come in as the tide flooded, so at about 2.30 in the afternoon I came back, set up my hide and waited.
It wasn't long before a flock of redshanks dropped in ( if I could fool these then I could fool anything!).
These were closely followed by a pair of greenshank and then a party of knot.
The best was saved to last, normally I cannot get within 200m of a little egret, but a pair came within 15m, absoultely fantastic!
This was one experiment that I was really pleased with and I will certainly be giving it a go again.