Apr 29, 2014

Through the square window

Standing in the kitchen looking out of the windows putting off doing this and that, thinking of making a cup of coffee when bugger me a pied flycatcher lands on the compost heap then drops down and picks off a couple of flys. With this it rises to perch on the fork handle and look about. It probably sees me raising binoculars and moves off to the rugosa and out of view. After a reasonable time of about sixty seconds waiting I slip out of the back door for a spy and sure enough the wee fella is sitting low in the garden corner elder. Unfortunately for me a mop of grey hair and a grey hoodie dont make for very good camouflage and its off again. Returning to the kitchen I put the kettle on and before its boiled the bird is low down in the other corner of the garden. There is a cold wind blowing down there and the bird is flighty, just picking insects but it looks like slim pickings. A few moments later it was up and gone hopefully to better feeding. It was a delight to see for that brief time and a garden tick. I made and drank a cup of coffee waiting but it was gone carried away on the migrants wind.........then it was back to the task of putting off what ever it was off again. Who says procrastination gets you nowhere !

Apr 18, 2014

First wheatear of the year.

Briefly out and about

Out for my first run about for a while. The west side was devoid of auks with just a few razorbills and fulmars. There were quite a few kittywake about with one or two settled on ledges. I took a few shots of fulmars loafing. A female wheatear shot along the rocky shore at Mar Wick which was a nice site being the first one I have seen this year. Shooting over to the Butquoy carpark at Birsay for a bacon roll I met a holidaying birder that I had met before a couple of years ago, poor fella has had a rough time of it with the weather.!! From there to Northside and the geo to have a look at the puffin ledge. It to was bare apart from a few razorbills. There were plenty of fulmars paired up tho so at least that was encouraging. Just at the parking I spied another wheatear which I manage to snap a few photos of. It moved off to the garden wall across the road where it was joined by a second. I totally failed to get another shot and the pair took to the air disappearing in to the fields. Not much but it was fine and bright with a promise of better days to come !!

Apr 14, 2014

Facebook bloody Facebook

I may be preaching to the converted but I think that through out birding in general there is one rule that at the top of the list and it is this.... Your actions in the field should NEVER be detrimental to the interests of the birds, the birds come first. With the proliferation of DSLR photography this maxim has been pushed aside as more and more photographers push on for more and more intimate images. Now seasonal shots of unfledged chicks in nests, birds on nests are cropping up on the big facebook sites. Some of these groups are happy to host such images. Its a disturbing thing to see some shots of the worlds rarest freshly hatched ducks scattering before a snappers lens. Another shot one day had rare chicks in a nest with the photographer giving a description of how hard it was climbing the tree and getting mobbed whilst he struggled to get the shot. This instance did cause a fair amount of condemnation but such comment was soon stopped by the admin and the group continues to host such images. The problem is that such big sites attract superb photos and big audiences and turn over a large amount of photos in a day, the toxic shite is soon buried in the scroll. I saw a shot of a LEO around a occupied nest taken with 50-250 lens. The only reason the owl didnt fly and he got the shot was because the female was on the nest nearby. If the bird had spooked the female could have gone as well and left the nest open to predation and for what, a crappy photograph. You would probably need a licence to take that shot in the UK, to get that licence you would need a better reason than some ego massaging on facebook. The past few weeks things have looked worse in this respect than previous years. I hope its a trend that will get stopped and facebook groups will get a grip on this irresponsible crap but in reality I cant see it.,...sucks

Apr 7, 2014

Great Grey Shrike

The Great grey shrike at the Shunan today, theres a bit more on the blog facebook page.