Sunday, 30 October 2011

Grey skies at Bough Beech

Yesterday was the last day before the clocks went back. We got out for a couple of hours in the afternoon, to Bough Beech where the forecasted 'sunny intervals' had become more like 'sunny glimpses'. So brace yourself for some noisy grey photographs... but at least the birding was a bit better than last time.

The water was even lower than ever. These sheep were on the reservoir side, grazing among some long-drowned tree stumps that are normally covered in water.

On the other side, there were a few dozen Teals in the various pools and channels. Not long after we arrived, a microlight flew over quite low and spooked them.

The flock took off and made several circuits over the water. In typical Teal style they flew packed closely together, with fast twists and turns, generally giving the impression of waders rather than ducks.

At one point the whole flock whooshed directly overhead. I nearly fell over backwards trying to get photos of them, was amazed to find one or two were sharp and included a whole bird rather than just a slice of one.

As the Teals finally settled back down, there was another commotion over the trees - an unfortunate Common Buzzard had attracted the attention of the local corvid gang.

There wasn't all that much else going on. A few flights of Mallards, the odd Black-headed Gull, Cormorants, a pinch of Meadow Pipits and a couple of juvenile Grey Herons. I cropped this photo quite tightly, because I had to brighten it so much to recover any detail on the backlit bird that all the nice cloud detail was completely burnt out.

Here's some of the aforementioned cloud detail, with bonus Woodpigeon flock.

We moved on to the visitor centre, in the hope that the feeding station was up and running for winter. It was, and was attracting a healthy clientele.

Besides Goldfinches and Greenfinches, there were also Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits and Collared Doves around, but I didn't see any Bramblings. I'm sure there were a couple there, though - there were birds feeding on the ground but the grass is still too high to see them easily.

The fallen apples (the feeding station is in an orchard) must have been the draw for the many Fieldfares around, but none of them wanted to pose. This Great Spotted Woodpecker landed on a very close tree, but refused to edge around the trunk for a full view.

By now it was about 5.20pm and getting pretty dark - though by 5.20 today it will be completely dark. It's always a bit depressing when the clocks go back - but I suppose the lighter mornings are some compensation.


Phil said...

Another super set of in flight shots Marianne. I particularly like the Teal flock and the Buzzard.

Alan Pavey said...

I agree with Phil nice Buzzard and Teal shots, you did well to get anything in the greyness :-)