Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Round Up

A  bit of a round up of the last few days. On Friday I had to be in Horsham, so no better excuse required to spend a couple of hours at Warnham LNR. For the last few years  this has been the banker for getting close to Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and the occasional Brambling. Sadly they have not turned up this year, perhaps there is time yet. Amongst a myriad of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and all the tits on the feeders I chose to try and photograph a Bank Vole that has set up home under one of the feeder supports. It must seem like heaven for this little chap, all day he gets showered with sunflower hearts. Whilst I ignored  most of the birds a rather good looking Song Thrush got the better of me. On the way out I recorded one of the grass cutters, as I have said before, the hardest working staff on the reserve.

Monday found us out on a pretty dull day, this time in search of a few ticks. We started at Steyning sewage farm, not the most salubrious of venues but large numbers of Chiffchaffs kept us entertained as we searched for one of the Siberian variety. A pretty convincing specimen was captured, alas from underneath, but with a belly as pale as that it looks a good candidate.

 Next venue was another SF, this looks like a trend developing. The Coldwaltham works were not as productive in birding terms, but we managed contact with a couple of Goldcrests, a probable Firecrest that never really came into the open and of course Chiffchaffs. One on the fence caught my eye and I reckon that was the second Siberian of the day.

We dropped into Waterwoods at Arundel, continuing the search for a confirmed Firecrest, sad to say that is was all very quiet.. Final venue of the day was a quick check on the mouth of the River Arun at Littlehampton. The Kumlien's is still in attendance, we found it on its favoured perch, one of the piles opposite the slipway.

A loaf of bread helps

Today it remained dull and overcast so I just had a recce of venues on the Selsey peninsular. The Bean Goose was with Canadas and Greylags out on the field behind East Lake at Chichester GP. I was hoping to photograph it out on the water so in the end I gave it a miss. Down to Church Norton where it was also very quiet, though I did manage to see the leucistic Curlew way out on the mud. The churchyard yielded a pair of Goldcrests but no accompanying Firecrest. Finally I washed up at the North Wall, almost deserted save for a sprinkling of Wigeon and Teal on the Breech Pool.

I just missed an opportunity for some decent shots, a Grey Heron had caught an enormous eel and was having difficulty dispatching it. Unfortunately as I got adjacent to the action the bird slid the protesting eel down its throat in one smooth movement. However, it was apparent from the shape of the bird's throat that the eel was still very much alive and kicking.  The resident Kingfisher in the sluice kept me entertained as it flitted between the salt and fresh sides of both sluice gates. I finally got a reasonable shot of it on the usual posts. An obliging Spotted Redshank came within range until a belligerent "ordinary" Redshank sent it packing.

On the way out I met Dave Shepherd, I think we chewed the fat for so long that he gave up and went home, not even getting as far as the sluice. It reminded me that I had a couple of shots reserved for Dave. The first is of a Typhoon completing an attacking run on a "target of opportunity", in this case the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Stornoway. Second is a Van's RV-4 (G-CEVC), just a bit more pedestrian than the Typhoon!

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