Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Glossy Ibis

I saw my first ever Glossy Ibis back in 1989 at the RSPB's reserve at Fairburn Ings in Yorkshire. It was a beautiful sunny day in late May and the bird in its glossy breeding plumage fed in a shallow reed-fringed pool, unconcerned by the large group of admirers close by. My son wasn't yet one year old and a sudden breeze sent the plastic windmill attached to his pushchair spinning wildly; so much so that I thought it would scare the ibis! Luckily it wasn't bothered by the whirring of the brightly-coloured plastic blades.
This scene is in total contrast to the four Glossy Ibises that I photographed last Sunday on boggy windswept moorland north of Bolton. It was a cold, grey rainy day and initially we struggled to find the birds until one decided to fly out of the dense rush, thereby revealing the location of the other three birds. Despite the weather, and the fact that the birds where in winter/juvenile plumage, it was fabulous to see a flock of these Mediterranean wanderers in the northwest. I hope they stay then hopefully I can return and photograph them in more favourable weather conditions.

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Desert Wheatear

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jack Snipe

Last weekend I zipped out to North Wales for a spot of birding. I started on the Great Orme where a pair of Lapland Buntings had been reported, but despite scouring the area around the limestone pavement I was unable to find the birds. The strong easterly wind made if feel decidedly chilly so I retreated to the comfort of the cafe at the nearby Conway RSPB reserve. After a very welcome lunch I strolled around the reserve and was delighted to see a Jack Snipe roosting on the edge of a muddy pool. These small relatives of the Common Snipe are normally very secretive, but this bird clearly hadn't read the rule book. Unfortunately, the  hide did not have shutters only glass windows and and photographs taken through the glass were slighlty distorted. By the time the snipe woke up and fed at a site that was viewable without looking through the windows the sky had clouded over, but I still managed to take some reasonable shots of this normally elusive little wader.

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Norfolk in October