Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Barred Warbler

I managed to kill three birds with one stone today, a necessary visit to Portsmouth, taking the hardly used car for a much needed run and a trip to Titchfield Haven for the juvenile Barred Warbler. Business out of the way I made my way to Hill Head, the skies growing ever darker, no suggestion of any brighter periods on the horizon. As I arrived at the visitor centre quite a few birders were already on the bird. So there it was, my first UK sighting. Now down to the impossible task of getting a record shot, cranking up the ISO to annoying levels, that level where noise becomes intrusive - but better than getting no shot at all, then a quiet prayer that perhaps a sunny interval might just arrive when the bird was perched in the open - not today I am afraid.

The warbler disappeared for at least an hour so I made my way down to the spit in search of some "usual suspects" or padding for the blog. There were a few Ringed Plover, Sanderlings, Dunlin and Turnstones on the shingle doing what I call "looking busy" until the tide ebbs and the real food becomes available. Fat chance of any reasonable shots and the rain was just starting - time for home and some sustenance.

Not many catchlights about today!

Looking busy

Monday, 4 December 2017

Black Guillemot

Whilst we were photographing the Parrot Crossbills last weeek we were both wondering if the juvenile Black Guillemot that was residing in Sovereign Harbour at Eastbourne would hang around long enough for us to get a Sussex tick. Well the upshot was that it was reported yesterday, so today's venue was a no-brainer. We arrived at the harbour entrance but couldn't find the bird so we started a circumnavigation of the inner harbour. Although I am of advancing years my eyesight is still pretty good, how we walked by such an obliging bird I'll never know, good job that I was making an occasional glance behind me. There it was, as bold as brass amongst the pontoons and only yards away.  Same old routine - get some record shots and then try to improve the capture.

The bird seems to be in good health and is not going short of food as there is an abundance of small fish available. In fact as we watched it managed to catch a Pipe fish and entertained us trying to get it down its throat.

Having recorded the bird satisfactorily we headed off for Norman's Bay and a reported Snow Bunting. Not hard to find for as we arrived six birders were in attendance, most of them with cameras. Nice to meet David Gardiner and Bob Eade. I couldn't raise much enthusiasm for the bunting so snapped it perfunctorily, noting that it looked a tad damp and dishevelled so wasn't the ideal subject.

Finally a visit to Warnham failed to give any more photographs but it was good to see the improvements made to the site - cracking new and very comfortable hide overlooking the lake.