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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Black Redstart at Watchet, Bearded Tit at Greylake and Water Rail at Chew Valley Lake

Today I had lunch by the coast at Watchet.
 It was absolutely freezing! I walked from the car park to the edge of the cliff alongside a fenced paddock with sheep and a horse in. This is a good spot for birds. Last year I photographed a Wheatear in this paddock and a couple of days earlier I had seen a Black Redstart there!
    Sure enough, the Black Redstart was there again today!
The icy wind was ripping straight through me as I tried to hold my camera and lens steady on the bird, my eyes were streaming with the cold, all not helping me to get a focus!
   I kicked myself as the bird flew to within 10 feet of me, alighting on a mound of sheep droppings as I couldn't grab a focus! It was the closest it came, but I did manage a couple of ok shots from distance, despite the gloomy low light. It then flew over the cliffs to land on a rocky outcrop, out of sight. I grabbed a couple of shots of a Stonechat also feeding in the paddock, before making my way back to my vehicle, numb with cold! I really must invest in some warm gloves...
     Earlier in the week I managed a couple of shots of a Water Rail in flight at Herriots bridge, Chew Valley Lake. I was pretty pleased as I only saw the bird a second before it disappeared into the cover of the reeds, so my reactions had to be lightning quick! I think it's only the 2nd time that I've ever seen one in flight, they usually skulk about out of sight.
    At the weekend I finally saw my first Bearded Tit at RSPB Greylake! I had seen them at Westhay, but never on my local reserve, despite 10 years of visiting!  It was a female and she was attacking reedmace heads in front of the main hide, tearing out the fluffy seeds!
 It was a gorgeous bright day despite the cold, and I got plenty of shots of the ducks in flight too.

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 Below are pics of the above-mentioned birds plus others that I have photographed in the last few days, including Buzzard, Oystercatcher, Great White Egret, Little Grebe and Curlew;

^Above^ - Female/immature Black Redstart today at the paddock in Watchet.

^Above^ - The same Black Redstart earlier in the week.

^Above^ - Stonechat at the paddock in Watchet.

^Above^ - Meadow Pipits at the paddock.

^Above^ - Pied Wagtail at the paddock.

^Above^ - Woodpigeon at the paddock.

^Above^ - Oystercatchers, seen from the cliffs at Watchet.

^Above^ - Turnstones at Watchet (with Dunlin, bottom pic).

^Above^ - Ringed Plovers at Watchet.

^Above^ - Curlew at Watchet.

^Above^ - Woodpigeon on the cliffs at Watchet.

^Above^ - A red setter in the sea at Minehead.....20 seconds after I took this pic, it was up on the cliff behind me, I hadn't seen it approach....made me jump!!

^Above^ - Water Rail in flight at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Tufted Duck at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Mallards at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Little Grebes at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Great Crested Grebe at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Canada Geese at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Black Headed Gull at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Grey Heron at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Moorhen at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Mute Swans at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Buzzard on a dry-stone wall on the Mendip Hills in Somerset.

^Above^ - Cormorant at Westhay Moor in Somerset.

^Above^ - Great White Egret at Westhay Moor.

^Above^ - Goldcrest at Westhay Moor.

^Above^ - On Golden Pond..... young Mute Swans at Westhay Moor.

^Above^ - Redwing near Godney, Somerset.

^Above^ - The female Bearded Tit ay RSPB Greylake.

^Above^ - Hovering Chaffinch at Greylake.

^Above^ - Great White Egret at Greylake.

^Above^ - Pintail at Greylake.

^Above^ - Shovelers at Greylake.

^Above^ - Teal at Greylake.

^Above^ - Lots of pics of Wigeon at Greylake!

^Above^ - Mallard at Greylake.

^Above^ - Marsh Harrier at Greylake.

^Above^ - Rook at Greylake.

^Above^ - Lots of Winter ducks at Greylake.

^Above^ - Snipe at Greylake.

^Above^ - Reed Buntings at Greylake.

^Above^ - Dunnock at Greylake.

^Above^ - Robins at Greylake.

^Above^ - Wren at Greylake.

^Above^ - Starlings at Greylake.

^Above^ - Sunrise at Bawdrip in Somerset.

^Above^ - Reed head at Westhay.

^Above^ - Misty view at Clutton in North Somerset.