Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Red Deer and Dungeness

To start with this time, the Red Deer at Minsmere RSPB reserve. It's that time of year again for the stags, and they are to be heard all day every day at the moment. I have been lucky enough to get some great views. The rut will determine which males will take control of the various harems that roam the reserve. There are around 500 of these animals on total around the reserve, so spotting them is not too tricky! This magnificent stag was certainly the pick of the bunch, and in fading sunlight was stunning to watch as he made himself known.

Red Deer, Cervus elaphus

It is possible to tell the age of a Red Deer by how many points it has on its antler; they shed every year and add a new point the following year. So by my reckoning this stag is 10 years old. It wasn't just the large males getting active, the younger ones were also practising, ready to one day try to win themselves a territory.

Red Deer, Cervus elaphus

This weekend I was at Dungeness, and caught up with some of the birds that appear to be becoming a regular fixture now. There were five Great White Egret, four Black-necked Grebes, a Raven, Stonechat, and a Glossy Ibis amongst the numerous wildfowl. A very pleasant way to spend a few hours on one of my favourite reserves. Below is a fairly poor record shot of two of the four BNG, one of the five GWE that was in a fishing frenzy with c30 Cormorants and a few Grey Herons and Little Egrets and the Glossy Ibis. Glossy Ibis and GWE are certainly heading the way of the Little Egret, and it shouldn't think it will be long before they are a far more common feature of wetland reserves around the country.

Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis

Great White Egret, Ardea alba

Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus

Monday, 14 October 2013

With winds they will come!

Well it has been an exciting past week here, with the recent storms and winds bringing in all sorts of goodies; some of which I've been lucky enough to see and some which I am yet to catch up with. The influx of Yellow-browed Warblers was fantastic, and to also catch a Pallas's Warbler at eye level while looking at a mixed flock of Goldcrest and a YBW was a real highlight. I've never used other peoples photos on here before, but I didn't have my camera to hand and they are such stunning birds (this was a lifer for me) that I feel one must make an appearance.

Pallas's Warbler
A few early mornings sea-watching have paid off and highlights have included Leach's Petrel, Manx Sheerwater and plenty of Skuas. The highlight so far though was last Friday, when at work at Titchwell I was able to stand in one spot and view a Long-eared Owl, Grey Phalarope and Green-winged Teal in one go! There are photos of all three below, however the owl is rather difficult to spot; I assure you it is there if you look hard enough.

Long-eared Owl, Asio otus

Green-winged Teal, Anus carolinensis

Grey Phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius

That's all for now. As luck would have it I am off site this week learning first aid, vital but not at an ideal time. I'm hoping the few hours of daylight I have at the end of the day will allow me to pick up a few more vagrants before the week is out. I also have a weekend of ringing on the south coast to look forward to, and who knows what will turn up there!