Hunting for summer migrants was tiring work, and although I was looking for something a bit more exciting, I was still pleased to see my first Common Sandpiper of the year and a whole host of Willow Warblers. The walks are never quiet at this time of year, and Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs can usually be picked out of the chorus.
The light was not great as the sun set behind the Peaks, but this was my only decent shot as a Common Sandpiper flew across Errwood reservoir.
I took a lovely midweek evening stroll in the Goyt Valley, Derbyshire and was really on the lookout for Spotted Flycatchers and other breeding activity of our Summer migrants. I didn't see any Spotted Flycatchers, but did see a pair or Redstart and other Warblers and Tree Pipits. All seemed to be pretty busy and bird song was at minimum. Calling Cuckoos in the near distance was a real bonus, as was this Tawny Owl that I took by surprise.
When I'm out on my birding walks I don't walk particularly fast or make a lot of noise, as I like to use all my senses to notice things. Eyes can pick up any slight movement in the trees or distance and my ears are quite good at picking out the quietest of rustles. If I move too quickly I can can miss something of interest. So I take my time and enjoy the nature that surrounds me. It wasn't intentional, but by doing what I do I got a fantastic view of a Tawny Owl. It wasn't for long, but long enough for me to spot it 30 yards away and to set the camera up.
It didn't see or hear me coming and was quite happy watching the forest before it turned it's head. I managed a couple of pictures before it did.
It heard the camera click and turned to look at me. At first it wasn't sure where the noise had come from, so I managed a few more shots.
It headed off to the safety of the forest not long after. If I had raced through and been a bit louder with my shuffling feet I may have alerted it to my presence before I even got a chance to see it. So high five to me and my stealthy approach to birding. On this occasion it paid off.
It's a fabulous time of year for watching birds. Everything is a bit later this year, but finally things are getting into full swing, as is the weather.
I took a trip to RSPB Burton Mere for a fix of warblers and waders. I wasn't disappointed as the reed beds and scrapes were alive with activity. One warbler that I do really enjoy seeing, and hearing, is the Sedge Warbler. Their song is so varied and vivid it brings any reed bed to life. I found a few last week, and they were all busy on territory. This meant that they would sit up nice and proud to project their songs. It helped with the pictures I got too.
I made an early morning visit to Kelling Heath at the weekend. I was hoping for Cuckoo and possibly a chance to get some better shots of the Yellowhammer that are in abundance. I did much much better than that with a fly pass by a Turtle Dove and a very lucky chance meeting with a pair of Dartford Warbler that were actively gathering food for their young.
I've seen the Dartford Warbler on just a few occasions and never with a camera to hand, so when this pair popped up out of the gorse not 20 feet in front of me I swore very quietly in shock. I stood still and just let them carry on doing what they were doing. I didn't want to frighten them off, I wanted to observe them. Patience and stealth is crucial at moments like this. One false move and your moment will be gone.
They didn't even seem to notice me, as they were busy looking for grubs and insects. Time to prime the camera and see what I could get. .
They stayed around for some time, ignoring me. I just wish the light was a bit better, but I can't really complain with what I got. Absolutely delighted!!