A recent week long stay in Shetland has allowed some fantastic views of a number of native birds. ¬†Visits to Sumburgh Head, Unst and Fetlar gave good views of many sea birds including a large colony of puffins at Sumburgh and circa 50,000+ Gannets at Hermaness National Nature Reserve in the north of Unst. ¬† Another spectacular experience was about trip around the gannet colony on Noss. ¬†The Bonxies at Hemaness ¬†and on the ferry gave great views.…

Aug 11th by Ian under Bird Watching

11/8/14 been nearly a month since I visited the Ospreys, normally by now the juvs will have fledged and be around the eyrie being fed by usually the male and the female will usually be gone in a week, with the whole family migrated by the end of September. However this being the year of "nest frustration" I think both have gone as I saw and heard no Ospreys. The frustration nest in the man cage of the navigation pole has got bigger and was photographed from a boat that had obviously come down river to do just that, the…

Jul 13th by Ian under Bird Watching

Tags: Nae tags again!

13 July 2014, absence of bird song noticeable, even the swifts are quiet, went to the Osprey site for a couple of hours today and heard a reed bunting a robin tic tic ing and a great spotted woodpecker chip chip ing (calling, not chipping a branch), later a buzzard mewing at me and that was it. Oh and the female Osprey call begging for food, and from the frustration nest in/on a navigation pole, this man cage by the light is barely a metre by a metre in square dimensions, yet by careful entry two of them manage to…
A couple of weeks ago both Ospreys were around, the male on a river navigation pole with a fish that had been partially eaten and he seemed to have finished with it. The female was issuing begging calls but it became obvious without an eyrie how was he to transfer the fish? she tried to join him on the pole top which has a man cage for light maintenance and not enough room for two long winged Ospreys. She landed he took off and with the fish did a high circling flight over the woods on the…

May 17th by Ian under Bird Watching

Tags: Nae tags again!

I kinda knew where the Ospreys were, due to hearing begging calls and seeing the male bring in a fish to that area. The problem was I never looked behind me, when I was near the old, rebuilt by human hands, eyrie I looked behind me and there on a bifurcated pine was a large pile of sticks, too big for a buzzard or crow, but it was as described, a pile of sticks, and at an angle. I had walked under this tree several times and never heard a disturbed osprey annoyed at my presence. I have not yet…
Well it appears that my osprey diary could indeed come to an end, as I searched for them and failed to find them. The point is I searched where I could watch and failed, I certainly don't want to observe from a public place or the corner of a farmer's yard, kinda removes the "wildness" feeling. However good news on the marsh harrier front, I just by mere fluke put my scope on a tree where a crow was scolding a male marsh harrier, and in his own time he departed to hunt, I watched him for about 30 mins…
Easter weekend and 4 days off, had two visits to the Osprey site where the usual viewing area showed no rebuilt eyrie, I did see an Osprey bathing in the estuary but it did not visit the eyrie site. On my second visit whilst "glassing" a female marsh harrier an Osprey with a fish came into the same view, ahh, which bird to follow? the osprey won and I watched it do, for me, unusual flight patterns, it circled like a buzzard over the far side of the estuary from the eyrie then after 4 or 5 circles it flew…

Mar 22nd by Ian under Bird Watching

Some, not in the best focus, male Cirl Buntings taken at max zoom (50X) on my canon SX50, could actually have been 60x with some digital topping off the optical. However I didn't have to travel far to snap them, in fact I walked from my office. The previous day I heard them,¬† but was too far away to identify them. The next day was Saturday the 15 of March and far from bewaring the day I was out with canon and binos, I was lucky to get any confirmation photos as these birds do not like…
Two of the pictures is the bough that held the Ospreys eyrie, the gales have done for it. It was a large nest and with the weight and the windload the bough which was abnormal anyway has had its day. So it could be the end of my 10 minute drive to watch Ospreys, they have nested there for ten or more years so hopefully they will nest nearby, there are plenty of big trees but none like that Scots pine with a deformed flat top. Heard a jay, a Robin singing as was a song thrush,…

Feb 2nd by Ian under Bird Watching

Tags: Nae tags again!

In the open plan office in Sth Devon I am fortunate to be on the second floor and have a window that looks out on the ¬†remainder of the field not occupied by our office and car park. This about three acre patch is a useful distraction from email dross and open plan verbiage, it is suprising the regular bird visitors it has, carrion crows, magpies, meadow pipits, buzzard and kestrel, I have just watched a male kestrel succeed in¬†the capture of a small item, shrew or mouse¬†I guess, our convenient setting out posts was chosen as a perch to …

Dec 27th by Ian under Bird Watching

Tags: Nae tags again!

I saw our site friendly buzzard again eating human food, this time it was on top of the security cabin the food probably placed there by the guards. I know the contact call of long tailed tits and whilst standing quietly under a tree with about¬† a dozen of them feeding and calling, their calls all changed to a shrill Chree, Chree,Chree, then a buzzard flew over. so I had learned a new call, an alarm one. Within five minutes I heard it again and looked up, a female sparrow hawk cruised over the tree. I would not have seen…
Industrial sites can be little oasis for nature, the picture of the grass snake was taken minutes before I took a tour of a concrete plant in Exeter. For some reason I thought grass snakes were about the same size as slow worms when fully grown, not so, they can grow up to 5 feet in old money and swallow a mature toad. The toad's poisonous skin not putting off a grass snake. The one pictured here ¬†was taken by the most ubiquitous camera today, a smart phone, and its about 2 feet in length, just sorry…
A few weeks ago I had the good fortune of spending a day on the Black Isle photographing pine forest wildlife. ¬†My thanks go to James Moore (www.jamesamoore.co.uk) for the grandstand seat in his hide. ¬†If you fancy a seat there give James a shout on his website. ¬†My main 'targets' for the day were Red Squirrels and Crested Tits and I saw these in abundance along with a few of the more common birds. ¬†I got settled in the hide around 9am and finally left at 3pm with a card load of what I hoped were great shots. ¬†I…
24/9/13 and in Devon, still a few swallows about, my brother has seen skiens of wild geese¬† around Elgin, there are some here along with canada geese that frequent Decoy park. I cross the river Teign twice a day and regularly see a little Egret, and a visiting friend got a shot of it opposite the Passage house hotel, I was surprised to see three of them on the 22/9/13, if you look on bird guides photos you can see little egrets have been photographed for 11 years in Devon. I also noticed on the same site…
4/8/13, am, as I predicted (to myself) both juveniles on the wing and as it was low tide, down on the estuary sand banks. One was up to its tail washing the other standing doing the odd preen. It is obvious the independence of the pair to each other given the distance between them and just doing their own thing, in fact one flew off and the other remained. Both juvs had been ringed. I saw no adults so female could be gone with the male remaining or both adults may have gone leaving the juvs to migrate separately to…
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