Sunday, 11 March 2012

Deer, oh deer

Deer of all species are notoriously wary, usually requiring quite a bit of fieldcraft to get close to.  Thankfully, there are often the exceptions to the rule, and a female Muntjac on the Nunnery Lakes reserve is one such animal.  She is still a bit wary but instead of running the second she gets wind of you, over the last few weeks (usually at lunchtime when I don't have my camera with me) I've seen her quite a few times and possibly she now recognises me and realises I don't pose a threat can be fairly confiding, today even allowing me to approach a bit closer and kneel down to photograph her.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Snowball fight

When not trying to photograph birds, much of my time is spent ringing them.  One local site we visit is a garden which gets phenomenal numbers of birds with daily catches in excess of 300 birds not unusual, usually finches like Brambling and Siskin but this winter seems to be the winter of the Lesser Redpoll.  Even in my garden where redpolls are rare, this winter they are outnumbering the Siskins and this morning out of the 180 birds caught before the heavens opened, well over half were probably Lesser Redpoll.  With so many birds, it's not surprising that occasionally something slightly different appears with them and whilst extracting birds from the net, one redpoll looked particularly grey and immediately alarm bells rang.  Back in the ringing hut, its true identity was confirmed as an Arctic Redpoll.  As ever there was discussion as to who would get to ring this bird which was settled with a toss of the coin and I was fortunate enough to get the honour (sorry Nick!).

In the hand it was aged as a 1st winter male and the finer details of this cracking bird could be seen including the unmarked undertail coverts and white rump but the perhaps most striking feature was the stubby bill, most unlike any of the Lesser Redpoll we were catching.  I hadn't taken my camera with me so had to use the camera on my phone for these shots, but they are still quite good quality.