Sunday, November 26, 2006

Not Hatfield Forest

My plans for an autumnal walk round Hatfield Forest were scuppered last week by being outvoted by the Dipperettes who preferred the excellent but bird free Harlow Town Park (even the usual Grey Wagtail was absent), and this week by a downpour on Sunday morning.

Tried to leave a comment on the excellent Boulmer Birder but the new blogspot beta version seems to insist on my leaving my full e-mail address. Annoying ...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Potential First For Britain!

A quick dash to Sawbridgeworth Marsh before the start of the day’s hectic social whirl. Sunday morning is management morning so the reserve was filled with woodsmoke, the swish of scythes, and as always good conversation with the regular management group.

Birdwise the marsh was typically quiet: A Water Rail calling in the reeds, a Redwing in the bushes, A few Bullfinches in the usual bushes, Goldfinch, 3 Mistle Thrushes, Wren, Blue Tit, GSW calling, 1 Snipe flushed from the marsh. And then as I was leaving, a Common Buzzard over – my first for the reserve.

Well I say Common Buzzard. I thought about taking a photo, but what if I posted it and a passing expert saw differently? I could have my own thread on Birdforum, full of experts wondering how I had missed the distinctive puce eyelids and blunted third primary of Britain’s first Patagonian Bush-Buzzard! Tomorrow the marsh could be heaving with thousands of twitchers pushing and shoving, blocking the roads with hastily parked cars and trampling the reed-bed flat!

So I let it fly over undisturbed, and took a photo of some Bull-rushes instead.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gull watching

There's something strangely therapeutic about Gull watching. Picking through our standard gulls for something a little bit strange or off-beat must hit the same nerve as crossword puzzles, and now that there are so many more varieties of gull to look out for its twice the fun.

I've noticed at Radipole that Med Gulls seem to be confined to a small area; the open water between the road bridge and about 100 m beyond the centre and the associated car park. I've scoured the gull-filled boating lake on many occasions, found an Iceland Gull, but never seen a Med Gull there.

I've also noticed that when I find a Med Gull there's often another one close to but not next to it. Is that just some artefact of watching, that having found one you tend to watch that one and notice surrounding birds more?

Here's a picture from Ferrybridge last Saturday in the murk.

Commonly Spotted Orchids

We are fortunate in the UK in that the commonest orchids are also amongst the most beautiful. I spent a morning photographing some on the lo...