Thursday, 24 January 2013

Urban Waxwings

A quick jaunt to Stockers with Lewis to look for last nights reported Bittern did not go to
plan . A few birders walked along the Colne missing it as did I ,but after I left Sir Geoffrey
Laptop had it  on his radar for 3 seconds before it flew off to Maple Cross or any reed bed with
So  Lewis dropped me off at Denham Way where 10 Waxwings duly obliged on cottoneaster
but the light was crap and they are quite mobile.
Just lately I have been struggling to get good photos always a stick in the way ,plus some
sun would be a bonus ,two weeks ago I was in Mombasa, it was 40c .Always moaning us poms.
Here is an urban Waxing of the sub species maplecrossius.
Brendan Glyn has been running around the estate like a headless chicken dipping on
the Waxwing. So thats all for now.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

winter wildfowl

Lewis and I had an hour of window oppurtunity to view Bury and Stockers GP's
parked in the Aquadrome car park and viewed the frozen lake some water was
still available for the ducks mostly.
This particular male Tufted was quite confiding although further away a pair
of Wigeon were a bit dark.
We did a circular walk colne side of Bury lake where a number of Goldeneye were
swimming along the edge of the ice.
We crossed the causeway between Stockers and Bury noting reed bunting and ring
necked parakeets before crossing the canal at Stockers house.
Finally a male blackbird posed on a branch just prior to the car park.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Friday 18th Jan Birding Maple Cross

Just along the road at Denham Way recreation ground a few Waxwings had put in an
appearance,Christine Bessant gave me the nod they were there so I ambled up the road
for a few pics although the light was poor.
Nearby at Maple Lodge on Sunday the 20th I was looking out of Club house hide on to
the lake.A few Common Teal obliged but on or near the feeders a male Great spotted
woodpecker showed well.Also of not feeding on the floor was a Stock dove and a superb
Robin in a thistle bush.
Next up viewing Lynsters from the hide off the Paddock cast a wintry view over the
lake.Further up Long Hedge across the field in adjacent Lynsters Farm ,Corvid city
had irrupted with huge numbers of Jackdaws and Rooks.
Finally a Red Kite patrolling Denham way  sent the Wawing on their way.

Friday, 18 January 2013

New years Eve on the Mara part2

15.00 hrs we meet John our guide and board our jeep,it's overcast and we stop for a few birds,
but the lights poor.However just above the Talek river we find 3 lionessses with 3 cubs and 3 more
lionesses thats 9 altogether.
I photograph the cubs at play with mother and family.Moving on plains game is a bit thin on
the ground,but a Crowned Plover obliged.It had been sitting on a single egg close by.
Another wader of note was a Temminck's Courser and it too posed in fading light.
Along the river another Lioness had four cubs be it a bit distant,next up 13 Masai Giraffe
including two juveniles.
A  message comes in from Aashit and Aatish two wildlife photographers from Mara intrepids.
The river is rising from the heavy rain ,so off we go back to camp ,but its really a bogus message and
John is on to something.Further along the river Olive breaks cover ,this is the mother of Bahati
the Leopard we photographed in Nov 2011.
She poses and walks the river bank giving incredible views,back to the camp in the dark
19oohrs only one Spotted Hyaena,it ran along the airfield before we entered the camp.
New years eve its an evening meal with Aatish,Aashit,Massimo,John Parmassu ,Carol.
The Masai singers and dancers made this a memorable night. In 1984 I was dancing with
the Samburu on New Years eve, this year I am dancing with the Masai to the tune of
Caribbean Queen with Susan Mugush then the wife said it was bed time.

Hornhill,Didicot Alley Woodoaks farm and Stockers

Lewis and I parked in Chalfont road and walked along the field opposite Beechen wood.
A little further on as we walked over the frozen field we flushed a Common Buzzard from
the hedgerow.
We now walked up the gradient called Didicot Alley where Christine Bessant had said the
mixed flocks of Yellowhammers,Skylarks and Meadow pipits obliged.
Next up Woodoaks farm where a small flock of Golden Plovers showed from the track
leading up to the dung heap.
Around 51 birds showed well particularly in flight around the farm a few Yellowhammers
showed along with collared dove and wood pigeon.
Then it was on to Stockers where on adjacent Bury GP two pairs of Red crested pochards were on
view. Also of note here was a pair of Goldeneyes the male showed quite well as did a number
of Wigeon and Pochard.
A  cup of tea in the cafe while Lewis did his Wildfowl counts was proceeded by views of
a couple of confiding Redwing as we left the cafe.
Finally a female Pochard posed in cold light from the Shoveler hide at Stockers before
Lewis and I called it a day.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New Years eve in the Mara part one

Got up 0630hrs  picked up and taken to Ukunda airport where around 0845 hrs we took off for the
Mara arrived around 1115HRS from the crowd at the airstrip John Parmassu arrived and we greet then drove off to Mara Intrepids.Edwin the camp manager reintroduced himself before being shown
our tent. First bird on route to the tent was a Grey headed Bushshrike.Now its time for a beer
by the river prior to lunch and here Rosemary the bird guide points out an Arrow marked Babbler
before lunch.
After lunch the weather was turning and the river was in full flow below our tent its here
a Hippo  eye balls me from the river ,1400 hrs its now raining,thunder rages overhead.The Hippo
facing the current of brown turbulent water as the afternoon darkens a prelude to our late game

Monday, 14 January 2013

Waxwings at Maple Cross

Today the 14TH of January I looked out the window around 0830hrs and I saw 5
waxwing land in the tree in the recreation ground at the bottom of the garden.
How fortunate I grabbed my bins and camera and got some record  shots in poor light.
After this they disappeared around 1000hrs they were in Denham Way in front
of the house,a little later the snow arrived.

12th of Jan 2013 Stockers and Chess Valley

Walked to Stockers on Saturday morning passed Woodoaks farm noticed two
Egyptian geese from the road.Passed Inns and on to Stockers where Geoff
Laptop and Tony Hulls but alas no Emu were in the Kingfisher hide where
a Red Kite passed over.
No sign of the Smew but Goosander and Goldeneye obliged in particular a
confiding female.Walked in to Rickmansworth for a tea break then walked to
Scotsbridge meadows the Chess valley to the uninitiated.
Little Egret showed well in the cress bed and a pair of Common Buzzards were calling
and setting up territory.I flushed a Jack snipe silent in flight and no zig zagging,
more Little Egrets  and heard Grey Wagtail as I headed downstream.

Friday, 11 January 2013

post New Year in Mombasa

Arrived Mombasa around 0800hrs the ride to the hotel in an un airconditioned
bus proved hot particularly at the Likoni ferry where a wait of 30 minutes in 35 centigrade is
always demanding after an overnight flight.
Arrived Swahili beach hotel at Diani around 1100hrs. Over the next few days got to the
beach where I was surprised to see Water Dikkops om the beach.
Catching them in flight and at rest was special ,normally they are on the golf course at
Ukunda.On New Years eve we are off to the Masai Mara to see the big 5 if we are lucky.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

On the border with Lewis

Tuesday Jan8th Paul Lewis and I visited the Chess Valley where we had a quick look for
the long staying Great White Egret,we only found Little Egret.So we decided to go to
Stockers on leaving we met Lee Evans then went on our way.
We parked at Stockers Farm and walked to the lake where we saw a few Goosander before
returning along the farm where Common Gull obliged.A phone call from Joan Thomson
via Lee Evans sent us back to the Chess Valley where Paul and I connected with the Great White
Egret as Common Buzzard mewed overhead.
So ended a mornings birding on the Border with Lewis thanks to Lee Evans and Joan Thomson.