Things Just Didnt "ADD" Up!

A few days back my Dad and I set off to look for some Adders, what with the warm weather they would be sunning themselves and hopefully give me my first photograph of one. I had seen them before at Walsey Hills NOA in Norfolk, and so I was keen to connect. On arrival I passed a couple walking their dog and they informed me that they had indeed seen one and the gentleman had been able to get a shot. Things looked rosy. Then we met Diana who was surveying the Adders, we had a good chat about the snakes before viewing her great photos....taken that morning!

I was excited now and looking forward to connect, but alas my luck shone as normal and after a couple of hours we drew a blank, frustrated and most disappointed we set off home and decided to stop at The Lodge RSPB to try for a glimpse at the Ravens there......yeah you guessed it they didn't show either.

Plenty of 'fishing' on Bev's Birdland. March 2012.

As March draws to an end I was pleased with the efforts of the local fishing community down at Bev's. Tucked up in the hide the Grey Heron was unaware of my presence, and I was happy to be able to get some shots before it was so close I couldnt fit it in my view and then it sensed my hide was not just a bush!

Normally they take flight as soon as they see you within a hundred yards away or more, so this was a nice change.

Another flighty and stay away bird here is the Green Sandpiper, they take flight before Ive even seen its there. So when this bird landed within a decent range of my lens I fired off a few shots and even though cropped in, its a lot closer than the previous efforts.

And then the 'fishing' got really good. I had seen some passing of blue, as it were, recently but came across the female perched up and most confiding. The male had shown on previous days but this time I was hunkered up in a hedge and was able to get some nice shots as they flitted about.

I never tire of watching these birds, absolutely stunning and colours that words cannot do justice for.

This is the male bird, told by the all black beak as opposed the orange based females. On a couple of occasions he brought back a fish to entice his loved one which she dutily scoffed down.

They would both perch up close to the waters surface and also on the shoreline, and even though so brightly marked it wasnt until they took flight that you realised it was there in the first place. And with finding another Little Ringed Plover had joined the first and all other waders still in attendance I headed home feeling like a 'King'.

'LRP' new in on 'Mr Bank's' Birdland. March 2012.

The day before, on the 19th March, Sarah and I visited Bev's Birdland so I could drop off some stuff for the next day. Whilst there we located a single Little Ringed Plover and luckily for me it was still there the next day for me get a shot for the diary. The Ringed Plovers still numbered 3 birds with one sat up the scrape. The Oycs' were still mobile between the two lakes but seemed content on the cleared island. Just one pair of Redshank were seen and a new addition the previous day were two Linnets feeding on the western side of the lake. There were a few Lesser Black Backed Gulls that seemed to be ready to set up nesting on the newly cleared island too.

Definitely a "Drab" Day at Beeston. 18th Mar 2012.

The day of ringing came and it fell on a day off, so I set off to get there around 08:30 knowing I had to leave earlier for Mothers Day. On nearing Beeston I was contacted by John Day to get my bum there in a hurry otherwise I would miss seeing the captured Kingfisher, so luckily for me I was 2 minutes away.

It was a busy morning too with plenty of activity from finches and the usual garden birds. It's most enjoyable listening to the finer details of plumage and ageing, whilst studying the birds at close quarters.

After a very short wait it was time to unbag the Jewel of the morning, the Kingfisher, and what beauties these birds are, absolutely stunning. It gracefully posed whilst being handled by Sue and then released as soon as possible to cause less stress, unluckily for everyone else that did not get to arrive in time, I was glad of getting up that bit earlier on this occasion.

As with this time last year the mothing turned out to be a success, although not as grand as last years tally. Here John is carefully removing the moths from the cartons, I think it was around 44 moths trapped which isn't bad considering the night before where I live, not too far away, we had heavy downpours and then a chilly night thereafter.

Most of the haul were Lead Coloured Drabs and Common Quakers, with Hebrew Characters and a few Small Quakers.

The "pink headed" Hebrew Character, below, was a vivid colour and one I don't recall seeing before.

Some moths even helped with identifying themselves by resting on the page of their own namesake....most helpful of them!.

Not just rubbish after all! Thur 15th March 2012

What a lovely day it turned out to be once the fog had cleared. I set off to Bev's lakes and wanted to set up a couple of things and do a rubbish sweep around the lake. I had a scan around the place with the bins, couldn't carry anything else, and sods law I missed a couple of new species to get a shot of. Looking around the larger lake I noticed the Redshank were back, and not one but two pairs, I noticed something sat on the scrape and moved round to get a better look, I was then able to list Golden plover with a solitary bird among the few Lapwings there. The Ringed plovers were present and the Oystercatchers were still there and one was actually on the nesting platform that was installed over the last weekend, great to see its doing its job. Also in one of the smaller nest boxes was a Black headed gull looking comfortable, promising sights for sure. Further over towards the fishing lakes I could hear a Chiffchaff which was a lovely sound sound to hear announcing the change in seasons. A flash of blue gave itself up as a Kingfisher put its name on the site list and a welcome one at that. Then to top it off, along the grass meadow adjacent to the river flew a Red kite, very low quartering the field and then over the common before slowly moving north with a crow in tow!

4 Men And A Boat. March 2012.

"Steve about set off to the island"

The time had come to help Bev with clearing the island for the breeding season. Steve Blain and I had planned to help the previous Sunday, but heavy rain put a stop to that. In total contrast this Sunday turned out to be a scorcher and so we began.

We were joined by Dave, who was to be the 'Boatman', and he made short work of reaching the island. We then set about pulling the boat from bank to bank by rope instead of rowing. This worked well and whilst Bev set about clearing the vegetation we hauled over the nesting platforms and tools.

One of Bevs dogs wanted to join him on the island, even jumping in the boat on one ocassion, but it kept itself content by attacking the rope as it was pulled back and forth. Now let it be known I do not like deep water !(seen Jaws too many times), if I cant see the bottom then I am not comfortable, and in a few places I could see the edge just drop off. So when it was my turn to join the 3 of them on the island I was none to keen in getting in the boat alone....but up stepped boatman Dave and he came across and picked me up. "Cheers Dave it was much appreciated".

Bev and Dave making up the large nesting platform. After we covered it with stones mud and sand, and it certainly looked the part.

"Looks like Steve picked up on something calling here....drop tools and pay attention!"

These smaller boxes were set up along from the main platform and hopefully will be a success.

Yours truly proving I did get on the island !. Here Im gathering the cuttings from the vegetation ready to be burnt.

"Look Fin......Shark"

Should of brought some sausages along.

With the work completed and the island looking great it was time to bring "The Captain" back to shore.

New Arrivals at "Mr Bank's". March 2012.

I had been awaiting the arrival of these Ringed plover, it was only a matter of time before they graced 'Bev's Land', and whilst watching this pair another joined them and set things a stir with its display flight. But much too fast and jinking from side to side to get a shot though.

The original pair were content on resting up when I first arrived so were probably fresh in. The Redshank were not around though, but could be somewhere close by and may return.

The Oystercatchers where still present and seemed settled enough still, so fingers crossed they stay and breed. The Green sandpiper was still roaming the lake too, and just the one present as far as I can tell.

The Skylarks and Meadow pipits were still very active, and the Pipits were in a group of around six feeding in the meadow area and adjacent lake edge. On a few occasions they would sit up on the wired off area enabling me to get some record images before they darted back off into the grass to feed.

Whilst scanning the far side of the lake I spied a Stoat bouncing through the grass before it disappeared down a rabbit hole.

A foggy start to March. 2012.

My first jaunt out for March and a foggy start to contend with. I headed off for first light (not that I was going to see it with the fog!). I sat myself up under a cammo net and waited for the skies to clear....but it never did until too late. As I sat near the shore line I could make out some waders feeding amongst the usual group of Lapwings. And one in particular stood out due to its size.

As the fog crept in and out I could see it was a Dunlin and what appeared to be the only one. It closely associated with a pair of Redshank, and moved off at times when they were disturbed. As the sun tried to break through it showed briefly slightly closer before joining the pair of Redshank as they flew off to the south. It might of returned along with the Redshank later but I was not able to stay as a visit to the vets was in order for my 'Bully'.

What was frustrating was when the pair of Shelduck ventured right in front of my position, totally oblivious to my presence and happily feeding away and too close to photograph after a couple of shots. Mind you the fog put any chance of a good pic out of the window, but good to know my fieldcraft was up to scratch.!