Saturday, 21 April 2012

Fun in the forest

With light winds and cloudy conditions forecast, it promised to be ideal conditions to try to catch some Tree Pipits in Thetford Forest.  Well the weather may have played ball, but the birds weren't so cooperative, with one bird singing and showing well but staying well away from the mist net.  In the same clearing were a family of Woodlarks which showed well, with one of the adults sporting colour rings, and also a Cuckoo calling nearby.

As I got the 'scope out to try to get a better look at the pipit and other adult Woodlark to see if they too were also colour ringed, I noticed a raptor being mobbed by crows over the back, so first had a quick look at that expecting it just to be a Buzzard, so was quite surprised when I got on to it and realised it was a Honey Buzzard instead.  I always find they are one of those birds that every time you see a Common Buzzard, you double check it's not a Honey Buzzard even though structurally it looks like a buzzard, but the second you see a proper Honey Buzzard, they stand out like a sore thumb being a distinctly different shape and jizz.  It showed well for a few minutes before drifting south, but despite getting the news out immediately, it couldn't be relocated.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Slow start to the day

With spring now upon us and the glorious weather continuing, I headed down the Nunnery Lakes reserve for a morning walk, hopeful of some migrants.  As it turned out, other than the first Willow Warbler of the year and several Chiffchaffs around the reserve, it was pretty quiet birdwise, so I turned my attention elsewhere.  On one of the banks round the lakes, there are three sheets of corrugated metal which have been left out and act as shelters for reptiles, especially first thing before the air has warmed up, and more importantly for photography, before the reptiles have warmed up.  Turning over the first two sheets produced nothing but a few ants and spiders but the third did produce a smart Slow Worm, which although looks like a snake is actually a lizard, albeit one without legs.  It was now I missed my Sigma 70-300 mm macro lens which I managed to break last year, the Nikon 70-300mm lens I replaced it with, although better optically, doesn't have the macro facility that the old Sigma had, and the closest it will focus is 1.5 metres which isn't anywhere near as good for photographing butterflies, dragonflies or as it happens reptiles at close range.