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Sunday, 24 February 2013

My Garden - 24th February 2013

It's Sunday and it's a bitterly cold day! The wind is biting and the clouds are so thick that the light is awful! A very depressing Winters day!
  As a consequence, the birds are flocking to my little village garden on the Somerset Levels, to feast on the Sunflower hearts that are put out for them.
  During an hour of watching the birds, between 14.30 and 15.30, at any one time I saw;

2 Brambling (1 Male, 1 Female)
1 Reed Bunting (Female)
5 Long Tailed Tits
2 Blue Tits
1 Robin
2 Blackbirds
2 House Sparrows
2 Dunnocks
18+ Chaffinch
6+ Greenfinch
6+ Goldfinch
4 Woodpigeons
2 Collared Doves
2 Starling

Not a bad haul for such a little garden in the village centre! Especially nice to see the Bramblings. The first time I ever saw these birds was in my garden a couple of years ago!
   One of the Chaffinches was a Male and a lot 'fatter' than the others. It was obviously ill, when all the other birds flew for cover when there was a noise, this Chaffinch always stayed oblivious! Unfortunately, this is just the kind of bird that gets picked off by a passing Sparrowhawk or the local Cat!
   Some pictures below...... the light was horrible for photography so the shots are a little noisy and lacking in sharpness.

^ABOVE^  - Female Brambling

^ABOVE^  - Brambling (bottom) with Greenfinch and Chaffinches

^ABOVE^  - Reed Bunting (Female)

^ABOVE^  - Long Tailed Tit

^ABOVE^  - Collared Dove

^ABOVE^  - Blackbird (Female)

^ABOVE^  - Chaffinches and Greenfinch

^ABOVE^  - Chaffinch (Female)

^ABOVE^  - Chaffinch (The 'fat' Male!)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Greylake Sunset. 19th Feb 2013

I'm very lucky to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Britain!
The Somerset Levels are a unique and very important area for wildlife and nature. There are many nature reserves here, including 3 wonderful RSPB reserves.
   One of them is the reasonably new Greylake Reserve, which incredibly was just a few arable fields just a few years ago! Water is no longer drained, many Reeds and Sedges were planted, and now the reserve is maturing into a fantastic place for wetland birds!
 It's also right on my doorstep, so to speak!
A few days ago I stopped off at the Reserve on the way home from work to photograph the sunset. Greylake sunsets are stunning! The combination of golden reed beds and big skies make for a beautiful spectacle as the sun sets, often with birds filling the sky, either coming into roost or flying over to roost at the nearby Shapwick Heath, Westhay and Ham Wall Reserves!
    It's a great place to get close to nature and unwind, and right besides the main Taunton to Glastonbury road, so it's very easy to get to!

 Here are a few of the pictures from that evening.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Golden Plover and Great White Egret.

I popped into RSPB Greylake on the way home from work this evening. The Sun was setting and the reserve was bathed in a lovely warm light, although the temperature was dropping rapidly!
  A couple of birders were taking pictures in the car park of the Reed Buntings and Tits attracted to the seeds that had been put out recently on the tree stump, one of whom was 'Cookie', someone whose posts on the Somerset Ornithological Societies forum I'd been reading for years. A thoroughly nice chap he is too!
   There were many Lapwing, Snipe and Fieldfares in the neighbouring field and as the light started to fade handfulls of Pied Wagtails started to settle in the car park, preparing to roost, there were about 30 by the time I left. A group of Golden Plovers numbering about 40 went overhead towards Shapwick Heath, there was also 4 unidentified smaller Waders with longer beaks with them that I only noticed after I looked at the pictures at home! They are the birds at the top of the picture below. Large groups of Starlings went in the same direction to their famous roost on the Avalon Marshes.
    Just as I went to leave, a 'heron' flew past, silhouetted against the Sun, Cookie pointed out it was a Great White Egret, the first time I'd seen one at Greylake. All in all a very pleasant way to spend half an hour at the end of the day!

ABOVE^  The group of Golden Plover and the 4 unidentified Waders at the top!

ABOVE^  Large flock of Starlings heading towards RSPB Ham Wall.

ABOVE^ Silhouetted Great White Egret.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Some favourite shots of mine!

I've taken thousands of pictures since getting my first DSLR, a Nikon D50, back in 2006, and here are some of my favourites!