Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend birding

Assistant editor Mike Weedon writes:

Little Owl, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincolnshire, 21.4.07 (click it for a bigger version)

This weekend (21-22.4.07) I got a chance to go out for a few snippets of birding. I started Saturday with a visit to my regular 'wader' patch of Maxey pits, north of Peterborough and just ten minutes from home. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing near where I parked and a female Wheatear was scurrying around on the short-cropped Rabbit grass. Next stop was Deeping Lakes LWT, where I added Cuckoo to my year list and heard my first Whitethroat of the year, warbling out a varied, almost Blackcap-like subsong. The highlight, though, was a Little Owl near the main track by the car-park, which allowed me to digiscope it.

Female Wheatear, Serpentine Brick Pit, Cambridgeshire, 21.4.07 (click it for a bigger version)

In the afternoon, I took a walk around Serpentine Brick Pits, to the south-west of the city, where I found four Wheatears (two males, two females) and digiscoped one of the females – on its bricky habitat. It was on the edge of what was a great weedy field last year, but has now been destroyed by ploughing and rolling. Indeed, only a week ago, Lapwings and Sky Larks and probably Redhsnks were sitting on eggs in this field, but they have now been brutally removed. Criminal.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Nene Washes, 22.4.07 (click it for a larger version)

On Sunday, I took a long walk on the Nene Washes, east of Peterborough. Drumming Snipe were everywhere, though the scarcest bird I found was a Bar-tailed Godwit – an uncommon migrant through these parts.
Though I am a devout digiscoper, I also possess a DSLR, and use both with some regularity. Digiscoping covers most of my photographic needs, but occasionally, when I want to catch action, particularly flight, I turn to the DSLR. Luckily, the Barwit flew right passed me and I was able to get some shots. I also indulged in a bit of Snipe-drumming action...

Drumming Snipe, Nene Washes, 22.4.07 (click it for a larger version)

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