I know my place


This had to be one of the hottest and muggiest days so far! I rode out with little hope of much. The scrape had some interesting stuff and then there was the Osprey on Noahs Lake. It started however with a stop at Aqueduct crossing. Funny though I wasn't in a photography mood really. More of a looking and taking it in mood. With that I decided to just get this little chap suspended between the ironwork of the bridge

Hamwall was bereft save for a few Great WHite Egrets in the distance. No Marsh Harriers at all. I thought I'd take a chance at the Tor Hide. Might have a fly by there. There were two guys I had chatted to and just as one said he hadn't seen a Bittern all weekend one flew right behind him for a second or two. I saw it over his shoulder. Unfortunatelly neither of those two saw it. The other bird of note? A nice close fly by of a Sparrow hawk. I managed to just about get it.

Sparrow hawk

Next stop the must see Osprey which, if it's true to form will be sitting on one of the dead trees and wont move all the time I watch it.

It's now that I can confirm what I stated in a previous post Canoodling where the true nature of Mr or should that be Lord Morrison conducts his nature photography. You see this is how the day actually happened...........

Reaching the bridge and turning left down the track to Noah's hide at Shapwick to see the Osprey I thought something was different. The track seemed a lot wider than before and two large ruts were on either side. I got my answer when I arrived at the hide. Lord M's stealth black baby Bentley was parked right at the foot of the steps to the hide! I squeezed past the inconsiderately parked beast and entered. Indeed he was there with his Butler called Nick. Lord M was resting in the corner, feet up so no one else could get in the way. There were a group of birders in there as well but they were huddled up in the opposite corner. They knew their place. Nick was on watch and would cough to tell Lord M if anything of interest occurred.
I sat down with the centre post and some bushes interfering with my view but I didn't complain, I knew my place. Polite conversation ensued and then there was the most bizarre episode of deja vu mixed with predictions coming to life. While Lord M and his butler were looking at the Osprey I happened to see a Kingfisher flit into the reeds close by. I informed his Lordship who promptly proceeded to snap away. It then flew to the bush beneath the hide. He was, of course, in the perfect position to get a clear snap while the butler and I only got a glimpse through the leaves. That's ok, we know our place. 

Kingfisher with an annoying reed

In flight

My view of it beneath the hide

There were three in total. One went a bit farther out and fished from these series of branches.

Oh and here's the Osprey by the way. It never moved.

Little Egret 'doing a kingfisher'

Earlier on at Tor Hide I had seen this. Three pigeons swooped down and splashed briefly in the water. This one did the same. Now it's either cooling down or de-fleeing.

Swimming pigeon

Doffing my cap I left the hide to Lord M and butler, I know my place, and rode back to Hamwall. I fancied a bit of peace and quiet. The families were out at Shapwick along with all the birders. I practically had the place to myself. I entertained myself with butterflies and foreboding storm clouds.

Can you see the scary face?

I was honoured with a text from Lord M saying that the Vulcan would be making a fly by at about 3:30. Indeed on cue at precisely 3:30 it did fly by. Unfortunately I should have gone home since it went directly over Glastonbury and I only got a distant glimpse

I took note of the clouds and made my way home. Not too soon either. The heavens opened not long after getting back.

Here's some macro

Noon Fly

Great day out all in. The pleasure of Robin and the biannual Osprey pics. So there was little flying around, I did the 360 test and didn't see a single bird on quit a few occasions, but It's never a let down. I even spotted the Little Stint on the Scrape.


Who's Bad?

A few days back I took a trip to Bristol Harbourside. 

It was a family trip, but I had heard through the grapevine (that's a Marvin Gaye track, not a Michael Jackson one) that a certain (feathered) bird was showing well. 

So I did go with slightly selfish intentions...

BUT before I indulge you further there has been something weighing on my mind.

What birds are truly Bad?  You know, birds that pack a punch, aren't scared of a bit of rough and tumble...

Here is my top 5 with reasons:

#5 Robin


Gets angry at other birds ALL THE TIME
Beats the hell OUT OF ITS OWN KIND
Isn't scared of humans (I'm scared of humans)
Has an angry orange chest

Appears on Christmas cards
Eats worms
Has a slightly girly song

#4 Grey Heron
Larger than a toddler
Long, sharp bill
Eats voles and mice (its just not right)
Grumpy looking sod

Often scared of humans
Can get beaten up by gulls

#3 Herring Gull
Steals food from people
Theres f*** loads of them

Forages around in bins

#2 Mute Swan
Bloody massive
Bad attitude ALWAYS

Sticks its bum in the air a lot, which looks comical
Eats weeds

#1 Peregrine Falcon

Looks like Batman
Is faster than my Peugeot 107
Hates everything - I've seen one attack a swan, A SWAN!!!
Can scare 1000000 ducks into the air

Sits about a lot

Oh, here are some pictures of the 3 Peregrines at Bristol Harbourside (many taken from a boat).  That's my excuse as to why they are a bit rubbish...

 Male Peregrine

 Female Peregrine (she is truly the most bad ass of all)
 Female human depiction (also very scary)

So, what do you think? Is my list wrong? Give us your thoughts...



Simply the best


Better than all the rest.  Better than anything...

I was singing like Tina on the way home yesterday.  What a day it was! Let me regale you with tails of Owls, Hawks and Ospreys...
First stop was Cinnamon lane.  A truly lovely part of the world, nestled at the foot of the Tor. The sun was out and I was on my bike.  I was looking for Little Owls.  I have never actually found one here before.  But my luck was in. I took my time cycling along the winding country road.  It paid off with this very handsome deer feeding in the field.

I REALLY tried to get the Tor in the background but it was too difficult.  Just imagine its there.
From above a deep croak echoed through the air.
Raven from a long way away (in the end there were 3 of them)

I stopped for a bit and munched my sarnies, enjoying the warmth and the great view over the moor. 

Grt Lush

 I was nearly at the end of the lane.  It was time to try a bit harder and actually look for these Little Owls.  Pulling up next to a picturesque orchard I whipped out my binoculars for a quick scan...

I didn't need to.  My glass was filled with a pair of sharp yellow eyes looking straight at me.  No scanning, panning or even focusing required!!! Absolutely unbelievable.  What are the chances of finding a Little Owl in an orchard without even looking left or right, up or down?  I don't know the stats but I bet its pretty damn slim!

I felt like kissing him under the mistletoe.  Bloody fantastic! But things were going to get better still!

Hurriedly I gave Andrew a text.  He hast seen a Little Owl before and I knew he would be hugely jealous :-) Unfortunately, nature decided to perform an act of karma (not to be confused with karma sutra).  The owl decided to fly RIGHT OVER MY HEAD.  It would have been a fantastic pic.  Sadly I was busily texting... Slightly frustrated at what might have been I decided to pedal back along the lane.  My frustration eased off a bit as I considered the fact that I have only ever seen 3 Little Owls (including this one).  Then something really good happened... HOOT, HOOT.  There was another one in an old apple tree! I stopped and looked, hard.  I couldn't bloody see it.  No doubt it was hidden deep in the tree.  It was, but it rather kindly decided to walk out into plain view.  That doesn't happen... ever!

Thanks for walking out onto this branch :-)

This fella was very alert and was bobbing about all over the place.  I settled in for a bit and simply watched (and ate a nice ham sandwich, which I had missed first time round). Again, I was caught unawares.  A dark angular shape swept above me.  I bet know one has taken a picture of a Hobby with half a ham sandwich hanging out of there mouth whilst looking at a Little Owl.

I thought it was a Peregrine at the time.  But its got orange trousers (like Shaggy from Scooby Doo)

It wasn't done yet though.  It spun 180 degrees and dived down in front of the owl and over a hedge.  Superb!

Hobby, looking an awful lot like a Peregrine...

I had barely recovered from all this when I heard a group of very angry song birds overhead.

They didn't look much like this...

Sparrowhawk joining in the fun (sadly not very close)

At this point was was buzzing.  But in a bit of a quandary.  Should I stay or should I go? (there is a song by the same name, but Ive already done loads of stupid stuff on this blog psot, so I'll leave it out) In the end I though I would head over to Tealham, via Ham Wall, Shapwick.  On the way I did see a Kestrel doing a spot of hover hunting.  Through Ham Wall, I didn't stop as I had done it to death already.  I did notice a high flying gull that looked quite big but didn't think anything of it.. I did stop briefly at the scrape.  Plenty of small, brown waders and some white ones to. I sat on the bench at the corner of Noahs for a moment and updated Andrew.  He text back and said that I might see a Marsh harrier.  But I got something better.

Over to Noah's then...

It was an unbelievable finish to the day!

In fact it was simply the best...