Friday, March 16, 2012

Warnham Nature Reserve - again

Earlier this week, we went to Warnham Nature Reserve yet again; it's just a lovely place and you know you'll probably get some nice photos of woodland birds (in winter anyway). However, it was very busy, Woodpecker hide was quite crowded so I couldn't sit/stand in my favourite spots and didn't stay very long.
I did get a shot of a long-tailed tit feeding...been after that for a while! :)

Also photographed one of the reed buntings...almost in full breeding plumage now...

Not too keen on the feeder in this shot but I really like the look on the little siskin's face...

 On the way back to the car park, a male dunnock perched right in front of us and sang his little heart out. Brilliant! Such beautiful little birds - not "dull" at all! - and fabulous songsters.

Spring is in the air!

With reports of many new arrivals in the country - including the first few hirundines, chiffchaffs and wheatears (loads reported yesterday and today!) - I just cannot wait to get out there.
Hopefully Monday...I hope there'll be some male wheatears waiting for me somewhere...I'm still hoping for a really good shot of one before they move on to their breeding grounds. To hear the first chiffchaff, spot the first know what, I'm childishly excited!!!!! :)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Warnham LNR

As this photo I took of a beautiful male lesser redpoll at Warnham LNR last week won 'notable photo' on today, I realised it was time to update my blog!
Not done much birding recently - went to Warnham a couple of times and today finally decided to go and see the Paddyfield warbler that has been at Pagham North Wall since November. Well, what can I say - it didn't show. It was seen several times this morning and also at lunchtime and then disappeared just before we arrived. Oh well, typical. ;)

We did see a few reed buntings, plenty of teal and wigeon, pintail, redshank and a snipe that I spotted in the distance next to a few sleepy mallards. By the time I had made my way down the steep bank, trying to get just a LITTLE closer...yeah well, you guessed it, it had disappeared. So I ended up with just another rubbish record shot (the over-exposed reeds tell you that my settings were totally wrong as well) - then again, probably slightly less rubbish than the first one I got last year.
Spot the snipe...

I also met "Pagham Birder" whose blog I've been following for quite a while so that was lovely!

Apart from that, a rather disappointing afternoon for obvious reasons.

So...back to Warnham! It's really one of my favourite places for bird photography at this time of year. March is the best month really because the numbers of winter finches build up and you can take lovely photos from Woodpecker Hide. It's also where I found 'my' mealy redpoll a year ago! I reported the bird to the West Sussex rarities committee and I'm pleased to say that it was accepted a few weeks ago!
I didn't see a mealy last week but plenty of lesser redpolls - and got my best shots to date. Here's another one, this time of a female:

For more shots of this beautiful little finch, please click here: Lesser Redpolls

Another favourite of mine is the siskin! Here's a lovely little female - they are so beautifully marked! 

I even saw a singing male - which is rather unusual, they don't breed at Warnham after all.
More shots of this great - and surprisingly tiny - finch can be viewed here: Siskins

Reed buntings can also be seen around the feeders. Some of the males are really coming into breeding plumage, their heads already almost black whereas others are still in winter plumage.

Two males: Almost in breeding plumage above, still in winter plumage below.

A water rail made a brief appearance - just like last year, fabulous!

I also enjoy watching and photographing the resident "common" woodland birds. Nothing common about them, really - each and every one of them is a little beauty.




Wren - I still haven't managed to get a really good shot of a wren...but...getting this space!

Same with fieldfare and redwing - but I did get a nice shot of the former at Warnham a few weeks ago!

A cheeky blue tit

Soon the winter finches and thrushes will be leaving...and the summer visitors will return. A few sand martins, swallows and even a wheatear have already been reported. I SO can't wait to spot my first whitethroat of the year!!!! :)