Monday, 24 September 2012

Maple Lodge and Woodoaks Nov 1985

Shovelers in winter plumage
a fox sleeping in the reeds in the afternoon sunshine unaware of dabbling moorhen.A gentle breeze brings many leaves from the trees,a glimpse of a heron's wing
in dense cover to my right.Long tailed tits in the willows calling and dancing amongst the branches.
Patches of frost still linger on in the shade,nearby the squirrel leaps through the hawthorns.
Earlier this morning with my Springer Spaniel while watching Lapwings a single Golden Plover flew
off we returned home rewarded by this unusual sighting.

birders diary April May 1985

Off to Norfolk for the weekend with Carol and Christopher at 1800hrs good views of Barn and Short eared Owls  behind Cley Windmill,plus a flock of displaying  Avocet.
Early the next morning birding along Coast Guards road we heard a Bittern booming,after breakfast at Wells car park in cold windy conditions we saw a male Parrot Crossbill feeding young in the pines
and later drinking from puddles.
They appear larger than nominate Crossbill,with heavier bill and some with bright orangey plumage.
We returned on the 4th and 5th of May,mostly a weekend searching for Serin,the Parrot Crossbills were still there and we managed a fleeting glimpse of Serin.
Carol and Chris showed extreme patience with me over the weekend I played with Chris and Carol in the pines and beach to end a lovely weekend.

Kamloops and the BlueBirds of Dew Drop Flats

Lake Shuswap  was once the happy hunting ground  of the Salisham tribe,now it is the haunt of
Kamloops trout and they grow to 20lb.
It is surrounded by sagebrush apart from a few wet sloughs,here Barrow's Goldeneye,Bufflehead and
American Wigeon and Blue winged Teal oblige.
Our second day here revealed the foothills of Dew Drop Flats,old barns interspersed by sagebrush and cacti.
This area was chosen to rehabilitate the Mountain Bluebird,Bill Huxley showed us the specially designed nest boxes their pale blue egg resembles our Dunnocks.
That evening at Lac Dubois I flushed a Blue winged Teal off its nest,before we climbed in to the hills
at dusk along the logging tracks dodging mosquitoes.
With 3 local birders RickHowie, Jack Bowling and Trevor Gower searched for Flammulated Owl,
we were lucky to see one,here in British Columbia in Canada it is found here only
The next day we returned to Vancouver  another birding adventure had come to an end.

return to Vancouver and the Rockies 1984

Well while the weather is not too good I thought I would continue looking at past
Knox mountain on route to  Kelowna provided Townsend's Solitaire and Red Crossbills,while
stalking a juv American Robin I missed the bus and was rescued by some Jehovah witnesses
who took me down the trail to catch our bus.
The following morning in Kelowna park I photographed a Common Flicker and found a Canada
warbler a rarity here with its yellow breast and black necklace on its upper chest.
Next up Mission creek provided Cottonwoods flanking a river here northern waterthrush,red eyed and warbling vireos obliged in the adjacent hayfields bobolinks were at the extreme range of their habitat.Nearby Woodhaven Conservancy  a sharp shinned hawk crashed through the trees and the uncommon Nashville warbler.
On the 19th we left Kelowna  via Rogers pass and photographed  Columbian Ground Squirrels.
Onwards to Hope where we pass through Kicking Horse Pass its named for Sir James Hector a doctor
and Geologist who was badly kicked by his horse in 1858.
Now in Yoho NP taking its name from the Cree indian word meaning It is Beautiful"
Now 530 miles from Vancouver and 20 miles from Lake Louise.

My first view of this opalescent lake,its quite clear  but once the glaciers begin to melt the turquoise
colour develops.
Around the lake tame Gray Jays oblige,a Varied thrush calls its wheeze like call reminds me
of Yellowhammer.We continue climbing the sub alpine zone of note Northern Three toed Woodpecker stands out and on the ground Western Boreal Toad.A fleeting glimpse of
Snow shoe Hare but a Hoary Marmot poses for the camera.
The following morning we take in Vermillion lakes and Johnston Canyon rich birding habitats in
Banff NP.
On the 22nd of June we walk up to the Plain of the Six Glaciers it was a 7 mile walk but I was fairly fit then.
Leaving the Chateau grounds and the noisy Gray Jays,a White winged Scoter flew across
Lake Louise.The conifer lined lake held Golden and Ruby crowned Kinglets,a steady climb
through moraine and avalanche damaged trees held three species of thrush Hermit,Swainsons and
Varied.At the Cedar Tea House we saw a helicopter informing skiers of probable avalanches.
Here while having tea confiding Mountain Chickadees posed while Least Chipmunks investigated
our tea pot  and cke wrappers.
Other birds of note were Clark's Nutcracker named after William Clark who with Meriwether Lewis explorers of note,
and Sacajawea a Shoshone Indian maiden to whom these shining mountains were home.
The following day a pair of Solitary Sandpipers were breeding on Bear Pool.It was our last day in the
Rockies today we took in Moraine creek and trail westwards to Larch Valley we traipsed through thigh high snow in search of Gray crowned Rosy finch eventually we found 4 adults.
I  finally collapsed by Moraine lake  in the afternoon drying my boots out and noting the only Water
Pipt of the trip.The following morning we left Lake Louise and its wonderfull wildlife.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Fly Fishing at Manningford Wiltshire

Friday 21st September 0600hrs on route to Hungerford with AWalsh,Geoff the Kiwi,RGilmore Kevin and I. Around 0730 hrs we are having breakfast in the Swan at Hungerford high street.
Hungerford a pleasant town in the Berkshire countryside aside the River Kennet.
A splendid breakfast was had by all with lashings of tea and coffee roughly £10 a head.
Richard pours the Kiwi's coffee and its not long before we are on our way cross country passing
the Salisbury plains with resident sheep and common pheasants everywhere.
Passing through Pewsey and arriving at Manningford  around 0830hrs.We paid for a four fish
ticket and moved up to Squires Lake.
It was not long before I was off the mark with my first rainbow,by 1100hrs I had my bag of 4 fish,
some of the lads were struggling.
We moved on to Manor lake where a few more fish were had,a passage of swallows were soon hawking insects late afternoon as buzzards called above.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Vancouver and the Rockies from delta to sagebrush

Left Vancouver on route to Chilliwack then onward to Keremeos via Princeton,we got off the
bus and a Golden eagle flew overhead,here at Roy Dennis's farm we had wonderful views of
Lewis's Woodpecker.
Before  arriving at our hotel in Osoyoos we saw  California Quail,we booked in and on the nearby
lake  a Spotted Sandpiper sat on an overturned boat.
The following morning we set off for Osoyoos Ecological reserve,but first we bird the Osoyoos road.
John took the big yellow bus down the dusty track where the lake stretches to Washington State.
Here at its northern end the lake is fed by a canalised river and associated wet meadows,marsh and
scrubby oxbows  was a superb habitat for a host of species.First an American Bittern flapped lazily
across the lake. Just off the road an Osprey was nesting on a telegraph pole.
Yellow headed blackbirds in the cattails showed their yellows amongst wading Wilson's Phalaropes.

Of the passerine I photographed  Grey Catbird and noted American Redstart,tree swallows sat in their
nest holes,finally a Downy Woodpecker before crossing the river.

Next up Kilpoola produced a Mountain Bluebird,on return to the hotel a Say' Phoebe had nested on the veranda.
A stop at Lake Skaha Penticton gave me a chance to photograph an Osprey with a trout in its talons.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Vancouver and the Rockies June 1984

On the 11th of June 1984 I arrived in Vancouver via Calgary,our hotel was in walking distance of Stanely Park.
The next morning we were up early cruising the suburbs of West Vancouver in search of an
introduced specie the Crested Mynah.
Later at 4039 Rose Crescent some friends of Ornitholidays opened there house and garden and
on the sugar feeders we saw Anna's'Hummingbirds
The rest of the day was spent at Stanely Park,we saw Bald eagles and at Lost Lagoon
showy Red winged blackbirds flashing their red epauelletes in courtship display.
At  Burrard inlet sea watching produced Pigeon Guillemot,Marbled Murrelet, Pelagic
Cormorant and rafts of Western Grebes and Glaucous winged Gulls.
On the 13th we were at George C.Reifel Migratory Sanctuary where small numbers of wildfowl
obliged,overhead Red tailed hawk showed well.
Further on at the Capilano river Belted Kingfishers and raucous Caspian terns called ,distant
Harlequinn ducks in the estuary.Our final venue today was Light House Park another stand of Pacific
rain forest it was here we heard the pumping call of Blue Grouse but failed to locate it.
Headed back to the carpark in the undergrowth Swainson's Thrush added spice to a long day.

The next day was another long one first Howe Sound a beautiful fiord running inland to
Squamish,next up Daisy Lake near Garibaldi produced exquisite warblers such as Townsends,
and Black throated Grays and the commoner Yellow rumped .
Nearby the tumbling white waters of Brandy Wine Falls and the Black Tusk river produced
American Dipper,the understorey held Warbling Vireos,Rufous hummingbirds and Flycatchers,
it was 50 miles back to Vancouver and our last venue today was Iona island where we saw a single
Marsh Hawk then it was a sub species of Hen Harrier.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

highly mobile Whinchat at Woodoaks

I was in Rickmansworth doing some more chores and  I am just getting a cup of tea in Costa Coffee
when the phone goes off its Sharpy he's got a Whinchat at Woodoaks so I get on the bike to the farm.
On arrival Sharpy and Laptop are scoping it at some distance so after a while I pursue it carefully along the fence ,however its a female playing hard to get, as a charm of goldfinches and a single magpie keep it on the move . I  manage a record shot then chat to Sally Findlay she and her helper are
picking the Ragwort as when the cows eat it affects their system as the can't pass it naturally
Not a lot of people know that.Thanks to Sharpy,Sir Geoffrey Lapworth and Sally Findlay

Maple Lodge yesterday with Paul Lewis

After our chores Paul and I made our way to the reserve it was another bright autumnal day.
First stop the Clubhouse hide where Jays and Ring necked Parakeets were present.
Geoff Laptop was also present and the usual banter ensued,we were fortunate today that
one of the two Green Sandpipers were present a little closer today.

The chat continued regarding  dragonflies and we moved off to Long Hedge ,we heard goldcrest
on route but first up was a Common Darter not Ruddy as I misidentified yesterday.
Next up a splendid  Migrant  Hawker  I got this one right as  I could see the golf tee prominently
on the thorax.
A few  butterflies put in an appearance Comma  and  Speckled Wood,before retracing our
steps back along Long Hedge.
Finally we pursued an avid feeder amongst the Hawthorn perhaps Chiffchaff or Willow
Warbler we settled for the latter ,it was quite yellow below and the legs looked right.
What would a  trip  to Maple Lodge be without the spendid azure Kingfisher.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

On the border with Lewis mid September

On the 13th Paul Lewis and I were in Ruislip picking up a shower pump so we popped in to the Lido
looking for migrants about four Chiff chaff  were feeding avidly near the shore with Pied Wagtails and Black headed gulls.
Also of note was a Great Crested Grebe sitting on a nest close to the shore ,when she vacated the nest  I  noted three eggs.
NOTE  The eggs are are dirty brown in colour but are in fact laid white they discolour them with
mud etc to deter predators and to camouflage.

Nearby pity the bird in question does not heed the sign as fish stocks and water are significantly low
once more.
Yesterday at Maple Lodge the now regular Egyptian Geese were actually on the reserve not on the adjacent farmland which is unusual.
Not much else showing apart from a fox drinking at the waters edge amongst the phragmites and
a good number of dragonflies.
 A  ruddy darter I  think  and a female I  need to identifiy.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

September Autumnal Days

Most mornings begin with a cup of tea watching the bird feeders in the garden,Starlings are coming
for the fat along with a Great Spotted Woodpecker mostly a male.
The Starlings bred next door in the eaves of our neighbours sharing the nest site with Swifts.
Yesterday I photographed one on the roof.
A little later I  walk to Maple Lodge overhead skeins of geese are calling mostly Canada
and Greylag.
However I saw two Egyptian geese ,probably what Chris Bessant had noted the day before.
I  arrive at Maple Lodge its a little colder this morning I manage distant views of possibly 2
Green Sandpipers and flocks be it small of  Gadwall and  Shoveler in eclipse plumage.
I  meet Tony Hulls at Long Hedge its fairly quiet we retrace our steps back to the Teal hide
where a Kingfisher obliges briefly on a post.
I say goodbye to Tony and walk home and  over the garden the now regular Red Kite
puts in an  appearance over another cup of tea.