Bohemian Waxwing 


Heading back from the US today. I'll hopefully add a number of blogs for our trip over the coming weeks (including a review of the Canon 500L IS USM lens that we rented!) but here's one of my favorite pics to wet your appetite.

-Mark-

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Springtime down at Pagham Harbour 
Hi folks,

First post in a long while. We moved house at the end of last year and since then seem to have been far too busy to take many pictures. The following were taken at Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve while on a short break. Enjoy...


Wheater (F)


Mark's Pics. Click to enlarge..

Wheater (M)

Oystercatcher

Grey Heron

Reed Bunting

Pipit

Buzzard

Turnstone

Greenfinch

Blackcap (F)

Dunlin

Common Sandpiper

Whimbrel



Whitethroat


Jen's Pics. Click to enlarge..

Whitethroat (m)

Whinchat (m)

Swallow

Greenfinch (m)

Kestrel

Robin

Willow Warbler

Blackbird (m)

Orange-tip Butterfly (m)


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Skomer Island at Last! 

Puffin in Flight


Guillemot

Puffin

Razorbill

Skomer is a small island off the South West coast of Wales famous for its bird collonies and wildlife. Unspoiled by civilization Skomer is and will remain a protected area of outstanding natural beauty managed by the National Trust.

Having tried unsuccessfully to visit last year and again a month or so ago this year it was beginning to look like we were going to miss out again. However on Thursday last week all came good and we finally managed to make it to Martin's Haven on a day when the boat was able to cross and get a seat (seats are limited and available on a first come first served basis only).


The Boat & Skomer

For any bird enthusiast the excitement begins before you even dock on Skomer with large numbers of Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills fishing in the waters surrounding the island. They'll also be there to greet you as you climb the steep stairway that leads you up the cliff face when you dock.



We decided to head clockwise around the island sticking pretty much to the coastal path which unfortunately meant we didn't get opportunity to check out the various lakes and hides on the island. We'll check those out next time :) and in any case there was plenty to keep us excited on our chosen route.

At this time of year the island really is Puffin paradise with them showing up pretty much everywhere! Ignoring the Puffins just for a moment one of the first treats that we had having just started out was a Short-Eared Owl!


Short-Eared Owl

OK so it wasn't a great photograph but its the first one we've ever seen and we actually got a pretty good look at him through the bins! :)

The next landmark that we arrived at was "The Knapp"; a place where you can expect to have Puffins quite literally at your feet. The path takes you straigh through their collonely with burrows on either side and you can stand and watch as the adults come back from the sea with their beaks full of Sandeels!



Also at this point you can see a large number of Razorbills and Guillemots, Fulmars and Kittiwakes.



We moved slightly away from here and found a quieter spot to sit and eat a spot of lunch before continuing our trip around the island.



To be continued...

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Pagham Harbour - Day 4 
Final Day - Journey back home...

As the title says, this was our last day spent at Pagham. We spent most of the morning packing up and getting ready to head out. After we'd gotten checked out, we headed around the harbour one last time before we headed back.

The wind was absolutely brutal, with gusty winds blowing across much of the area. This made looking at anything through the binoculars or taking any photos a difficult if not impossible challenge. We saw the mergansers in the same spot as we had all weekend, though at a further distance than before. Additionally we saw the large flocks of Linnets that Mark had seen over the weekend, with plenty of goldfinches mixed in. Various waders were along the tidal line, which was right the way in, so gave us good views of anything there. Redshank, Curlew, and Oystercatchers were the most common sightings. Also along the way we saw one lone little egret hunched down out of the wind.

We made the dam wall in good time and had a decent look around. More Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatchers were about, with a lone Grey Plover. On the right of the dam wall, there were plenty of waterfowl about, including Wigeon and Teal, a few Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings, Great-crested Grebes, Cormorant, and heard a Cetti's Warbler nearby. We also got an alright look at the male Garganey through the binoculars, though he was huddled up against the far bank. With the high winds, photos were impossible.

On our way back I got a close-up view of a Kestrel as it battled the winds directly above Mark's head - winds making photos again just too difficult. We also spotted our first Little Tortoiseshell, which gave us good views and a chance to photograph something out of the wind :) And our last spot of the day was a lone Meadow Pipit. Here's a selection of the very few photos we managed this day:


Meadow Pipit Curlew
Small Tortoiseshell Grape Hyacinth



~Jen

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Pagham Harbour NR - Day 3 
Day 3 - WWT Arundel

This was another of our 2 full days in the pagham area. Mark started off by taking the morning shift around the harbour.

I'll leave space here for him to fill in his experiences, but will again leave a selection of photos he took this morning.


Skylark Redshank
Redshank Ringed Plover



After his tour around the harbour, we set off to nearby WWT Arundel. It was a glorious day, so there were certainly more people than usual. And by far the most big lenses and fancy cameras I've ever seen in one place. This was not our first visit to Arundel, and despite it not having the larger grounds of the two WWT sites near home (WWT Slimbridge & WWT Wales), it's still a great setup.

I spent most of the time taking photos of the ducks and other waterfowl. We did see some snipe from one of the hides, but with lighting less than ideal, there aren't any photos to share of that. Here's a selection of the various birds from this visit.


European Wigeon Pheasant
Hooded Merganser Hooded Merganser
Scaly-sided Merganser (m) Spectacled Eider
Baer's Pochard (m) Ring-necked Duck (m)



After our visit to Arundel, Mark took another quick tour around the harbour, and this is another spot he'll have to fill in. But here's another selection of photos:






Snipe Snipe
Redshank and Snipe Curlew in Flight




Then I had a turn around the harbour as well. The sun had pretty much gone down by this point, but I still got a decent look around. I did see the red-breasted mergansers again, various redshank and curlew, ringed plovers and a few grey plovers as well. I heard the occasional skylark, and saw linnet, gulls, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, wigeon, brent geese and turnstones. A real treat however was seen from one of the harbour walls, a grey seal. Here's one of the only photos I caught of him:



~Jen

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