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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Hare today, gone tomorrow?

I am very lucky to have a job where I am regularly out in the countryside. Sometimes I'm in a town or City centre, but more often than not I'm working by fields, lakes and woods in Somerset and Dorset.
    Today I happened to be working close to my home on the Somerset Levels. I drive the road every single day, to and from work, yet I had never seen the animal that I saw this morning here before!
    Whilst waiting for the contractors to arrive I stood and glanced across the road to the neighbouring fields. There, charging across the nearest field, was a Hare!

   I quickly grabbed my camera and went and knelt by a gate that accessed the farmland, expecting to get a distant shot or 2 of this elusive animal. I'd never had luck photographing them. I'd only ever seen them on the Levels a handful of times in my life!
   To my surprise and amazement the Hare turned and started running straight towards me!!
I took the opportunity to click away, making the most of this rare situation! I wasn't even hidden!
  At one stage I thought it was coming to shake my hand! It got so close that I had to pull my lens back to get it in the frame!
    It stopped, looked at me, then ran on past me!
That's when I noticed another Hare! They ran towards each other and danced a little, I was hoping for a 'boxing' match, but that would've been a bit too lucky!!
  Shortly after I noticed a 3rd Hare in the field! Amazing!
They all seemed to be doing circuits of the field and ran past me a few times!

Overhead Rooks were coming and going to a nearby Rookery, and I noticed a Heron, Mute Swan and Little Egret on the river than ran alongside the 'Hare field'
  There were plenty of Woodpigeons, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, a lone Stock Dove, a Pheasant, Magpies, a passing Cormorant and a calling Buzzard high overhead!
 Such a beautiful morning!
I wonder if the Hares will be back there tomorrow?

Belows are some of the other pics I took;

^Above^ - The wonderful Hares!

^Above^ - Little Egret.

^Above^ - Rook and the Rookery.

^Above^ - Carrion Crow.

^Above^ - Magpie.

^Above^ - Cormorant.

^Above^ - Mute Swan.

^Above^ - Stock Dove.

^Above^ - Woodpigeons.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Sitting on a bench, watching Yellowhammers!

Yesterday I had a call from my friend, Nick Stacey.
'Do you want to go and see the Yellowhammers' he said.
'Um, yes please!!' came my immediate response!
  Yellowhammers are one of those birds I rarely see, especially on the Somerset Levels! I've seen them on the outskirts of the County, on the Quantock Hills and around the farmland of South Somerset, but I can only recall seeing one once or twice on The Somerset levels, despite living here for over a quarter of a century!
   Even more incredible, these birds were on the outskirts of the very village that I lived in!!

Nick picked me up this morning at 10, and we drove for literally 2 minutes to a small holding out in the countryside. There was a stream running alongside, some dotted about hedges and one or 2 trees, plus flat farmland and green fields all around. Luckily it was a lovely sunny Spring morning.
  We met the friendly owner of the small holding and thanked him for his kindness in letting us sit on his land watching the birds.
   There was a bench opposite a hedgerow by the stream. There was a bird table with feeders below the hedge. It was a tiny area, but so quiet! Behind us was a single large conifer.

   No sooner had Nick and I sat on the bench, this beauty had turned up;

Wow! A gorgeous male Yellowhammer!!
A couple of minutes from my home!!
  There were 4 or 5, all male, and they would come and go throughout the time we were there!
  We sat and chatted, unhidden, on the bench opposite the hedgerow. The birds were wary, but as long as we didn't move suddenly they didn't mind our presence too much!
In 2 hours, we saw quite an impressive variety of species, whilst not moving once from our bench!
  The list;

Reed Bunting
Great Tit
Long Tailed Tit
Blue Tit
House Sparrow
Carrion Crow
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Colllared Dove
Stock Dove

We actually heard the 2 Kingfishers first, then saw them flying up the stream behind the hedgerow.
 Unfortunately I didn't have time to even get a record shot!
It was a fantastic morning, and a wonderful little nature haven right on my doorstep!!

Below are some of the pictures I took, every one taken whilst sat in the same spot!

^Above^ - Stars of the show.... the Yellowhammers!

^Above^ - Male Reed Buntings

^Above^ - Female Reed Buntings

^Above^ - House Sparrows

^Above^ - Blue Tits

^Above^ - Female Chaffinch

^Above^ - A shy Great Spotted Woodpecker.

^Above^ - A not so shy Great Spotted Woodpecker!

^Above^ - Great Tits

^Above^ - Male Blackbird.

Above - Dunnock.

^Above^ - Robins

^Above^ - Starlings

^Above^ - Chiffchaff

^Above^ - Collared Doves.

^Above^ - Long Tailed Tits.

^Above^ - Wrens.

^Above^ - Fieldfares..... a couple flying with Starlings in the top picture.

^Above^ - Stock Dove.

^Above^ - Buzzard.

^Above^ - Primroses under the hedge added a dash of colour!