Manure Matters. May 2011.

The Yellow Wagtails continue to delight, they are still quite active and maybe two female birds look like they have not got nests as they continue to be followed everywhere. The Yellow headed' bird was happy to perch up just three feet from me, content with my company.
There are good numbers of Swallows around and at least three House Martins mixed in. The Swallows have been resting up sleeping on the mud peaks, the wind is definitely hampering their usual willingness to land. What a contrast from my village where there are only a few Swifts so far this year and no sign of House Martins at all !, even Swallows are lower in number.

A Jewel of a Moth...

With the high winds we had been getting lately I decided not to put the moth light out, the wind whips around in the corner where I normally place it so I thought it would be less than productive. but whilst on a nightshift the wind dropped and I witnessed a few moths on the wing. Two of these were warming themselves on a wall and made for easy trapping.  The Light Emerald (above) is a lovely pale moth very delicate indeed, and the accompanying moth is a Marbled Minor and by far the most helpful whilst photographing. Hopefully the wind will keep at ease over the next few nights whilst off work and enable me to put the trap out, its well overdue.

"Flycatchers in Gods Acre". May 2011.

 I ventured further afield to look for Spotted Flycatchers. The setting was a churchyard with plenty of grave stones, launch pads for them to chase flies from. The ivy and lichen clad stone lends a lovely touch. By the end of the venture they were moving higher to the trees as the heat moved the flies skyward. I look forward to returning for more images, hopefully closer.

Mud Mud...Glorious Mud.

What a sight to see these birds back again. For a few days I estimated around 50 perched on wires after feeding frenziedly over the crop fields, now it was time to start nest building, and for Swallows that means wet mud.

First they pick up some hay, grass or any other binding material they choose and then gorge on the wet mud to bind it, and when placed to dry the nest becomes a welded mesh of materials. As they gather the mud the long wings and tail almost seem to topple them into the ground before they regain their poise. Every five to ten minutes they would return circling around close then landing for the next mouthful.

Splish Splash Taking A Bath.

Bath time.

The male Yellow Wagtails still like to keep in pristine condition whilst keeping their females and territory.

Shake off that water.

And finally preen.

Shy becomes not so Shy.

 Well there is definitely no way the title depicts the Yellow wagtails behaviour for sure, but the shy Linnets and Corn Buntings were now becoming more familiarised with myself and Nigel Blakes presence. Usually one click of the shutter and they are gone, but now we were able to capture some images. The Linnets are always flitting back and forth sounding off their chirpy little calls, and when judging the size of the Wagtails and Linnets to the Corn Bunting when it lands there is no
comparison to this lump, dowdy in colour and plumage but a beauty in its own right and what a bill!.

Standing in S**t, Clearing S**t, But happy as a pig in S**t....May 2011.

Myself and Nigel Blake decided to clean out the pool due to it getting stagnated with dung. We were truly up to our ankles in S**T ! But the hard work payed off and with cleaner water the birds soon came in. As usual the main birds were the Yellow Wagtails, I will never tire of photographing these, and I like the challenge of capturing the right moment when they are bathing and then the preening shot with the feather still in bill, not easy to capture, and I dont just fire off the shutter and hope for the best that Ive got an image in focus, I like to know that I controlled the timing and captured it just right. And new additions are becoming bolder with Linnets and Corn Bunting. Hopefully you are not bored with wagtail images so here are some new additions.


Yet again another bird missed. I picked up Nigel Blake and headed off before sunrise to Milton keynes for the Spotted Sandpiper. I still havent connected with this species, and still things are no bloody different. We arrived just after 5am and stayed till almost 9 and the bird did not show. DIPPED! Totally frustrating when the images from the day before depicted it so close. DAMN! I think I will have to make a template like this entry just for the fact that it would get so much usage!.


When I received the MEGA alert for the Collared Fly' at Holme it was 45 minutes before having to go to work for my first night shift.....DAMN
I decided I would go straight from work the next morning and travel up hoping that the bird would by some remote chance stay.
So I headed off for Holme and on arrival the news was not good, the bird had not been seen at all. I decided to stay and do some searching anyway, it would relieve some of the traffic on the roads before I headed home.....DAMN DIPPED
So I arrived home at midday with only a couple of hours sleep under my belt since Sunday morning, half a tank of petrol less, in need of a shower and trying to perk myself up for the next night shift. Birding eh!... DAMN..DIPPED..and DREARY EYED...

Wagtails - Wire - & - Water. May 2011.

A selection of Yellow Wagtail images from the last few days, I had been concentrating on just the Yellows'. The image above portrays a very yellow headed bird,probably at the extreme yellowness of flavissima rather than 'Lutea'. It showed on a few ocassions normally in a submissive stance due to the dominant male flavissima.

The resident female posturing a readyness to mate when a male appeared. And preening after a welcome bath.

Walking the high wire !

This bird has a such a yellow head lacking the green tones, a real beauty.

My attempt to get some hovering shots bagged me a few half decent images.