New Raptor for the site. Bev's (DWE). 26th May 2013.

 The morning started grey and a bit chilly, after the last visit to Bev's I was hoping to see more if not in quality then in numbers. Well I was spoilt for sure, and not long after arriving. I heard the usual commotion from one of the Oystercatchers but this time joined by the crows, and on looking up I saw a Marsh Harrier circling low over the main pit, a new addition to the site and one I was elated to see. Unfortunately it was against the light and was pursued quickly away to the north.

 Luckily I noticed it heading back a short while later and after a few more record images it moved away from the mobbing crows towards broom. Right time right place thankfully.

 The walk around seemed formality after getting the Harrier, but I was enjoying the nice weather. The Meadow pipits were insect collecting amongst the grasses, and the Skylarks filling the sky as per norm.

 The Sedge warblers were more vocal now the sun was out, on seeing one get seen off from the reeds I thought it had ventured into a rivals patch, but then I heard a song that was not a Sedgy' but a Reed Warbler, my happy levels raised even more after the Harrier. Last year I had photographed a single Reed Warbler later in the year and had not seen any in the spring or summer so an early bird was great for the year list, but then I saw a second bird in the same reed bed so hopefully success will follow and they stay and breed here.

 I then turned my attention again to my favourites, the Swifts. It was still windy but I still tried, mind you in calm weather I struggle with these aerodynamic beauties. 

 In the image below you can just see the insect it is about to swallow. 

In this set of 3 images I was able to capture a pair of Swifts mating. I witnessed this brief encounter on the wing a couple of times that morning but only just managed to get a couple of reference shots on one attempt. You don't get to see this event often but I have been lucky to witness it a couple of times in Norfolk and now in Bedfordshire.

 I was hoping for a few more butterflies to of been on the wing but was happy to get a shot of a female Orange Tip. What a great morning.

Quiet times at Bev's (DWE). May 2013.

 Over the last couple of weeks the weather has been less than favourable to say the least. During the last 3 visits to Bev's I have had cold,frost,fog,high winds and rain. On one occasion the sun did make an appearance but it didn't make a difference to species seen, which have been very low. The total for species seen at the moment, nearing the end of May, is 85. 

 As the sun began to rise nice and bright, the fog began to dissipate, I thought I was in for a good morning only for it to disappear behind a huge bank of cloud which then made the fog creep back down. You had to rely on sound and the loud calls of the Common Terns signalled their approach but only became visible as they passed overhead.

 The Common Whitethroats only really showed on the one visit when the weather was better, on the next two trips the wind seemed to be keeping all of the song birds deep in cover. There was a definite increase in the Swifts which seemed to relish in the winds, buzzing past me at such a close proximity just put a smile on my face, fantastic bird.

 Looking for Warblers I felt myself being watched!!

 I grabbed a record shot of a Common Sandpiper, only the one was seen of the original 3.
 Typically whilst on the opposite side of the main pit, 3 Egyptian geese flew in, so I grabbed a distant record shot, but they didn't stay on site for long as the resident male Mute swan took an immediate dislike to them being here and duly pursued them until they took to the air heading north.

 The Sand martins were still in better numbers than the House martins and Swallows, this pair took a rest in a tree before resuming the insect catching. A very quiet time at present, no butterflies on the wing because of the weather, surely the weather has got to turn soon bringing with it something new fingers crossed.

Strong Winds bring on a Challenge. Bev's. 9th May 2013.

 Will the weather ever settle? There was not going to be a chance of mothing for the rest of this week due to the high winds now upon us. I headed to Bev's (DWE), but the atmosphere was very quiet compared to the last visits, I endeavoured to get some images anyway but the strength of the wind gusts made it a challenge to keep the tripod still. It seemed most birds were keeping their heads down too as it proved quiet all round.

 One of the Lesser black backed gulls took some bird for a snack, I only just caught the sight of 2 legs disappearing down its throat! How many more will succumb to these monsters?
One of the Oystercatchers decided to freshen up with a bath, and even though a tad too far I snapped a few shots, if only to keep me active.

 There were however large numbers of Martins, Swallows and Swifts feeding over the main pit. The Sand Martins were the most numerous followed by the Swifts which was great to see. The weather was becoming cloudier and rain moving in, with no ease up in the wind so my next challenge was to try capturing the birds skimming the waters surface....ha ha ha...what was I thinking! 

 A few choice words but I had fun in proving how badly I was coping. I tried to pick out the birds as they skimmed the water heading towards my position, the track them and hopefully grab a shot or two, the speed as they flew past was immense, even against the wind!

 This set of 3 record images show one Swallow skim the surface then crash dive into the water, then emerge and fly off as nothing had happened, whether this was intentional or as an outcome of the strong winds downing it? Perhaps it happens a lot more than is seen, perhaps a high speed car wash effect!

 The Sand Martins sometimes grouped together making it easier, if possible, to pull focus on a bird before they left my field of view. The tracking in high winds, and to a certain extent in normal conditions, is more luck than anything, and these little missiles gave me more deleted images than keepsakes and most of them only record images, as the first drops of rain fell, and a downpour imminent the birds seemed to vanish, keeping just ahead of the rain. I decided to do the same and just got into the car as the heavens opened.
Challenge Over.