Category Archives: Snapseed


Yesterday evening Leigh and I went out into the garden with our Sunday Dinner just before 20.00. I was aware of a chewing noise coming from the garden fence. Aware that we have a Wasps Vespa sp. nest in the roof-space I was expecting to see a Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris chewing up the wood for pulp for their nest. what I wasn’t expecting was a European Hornet Vespa crabro munching away. as the sun was sinking behind nearby houses I ran in and grabbed my Nikon Coolpix P310, probably not ideal for the job but at least I could shoot some video.

European Hornet Vespa crabro

European Hornet Vespa crabro

My first attempt led to the Hornet flying off – I thought for good but it soon returned and set about our fence with an appetite similar to mine for my Roast Pork dinner.

On it’s return I did manage a short video clip and I decided to try a bit of Black & White macro photography.

European Hornet Vespa crabro

European Hornet Vespa crabro



Forgive Me Father

It’s been over a month since my last blog post. In all honesty I’ve just not been bothered by birding of late and even only the second County Glossy Ibis couldn’t tempt me out.

Today however a Twitter message as I finished work alerted me to a County first… a Pied-billed Grebe at Rutland Water. Well, it’d be rude not to. A quick dash along the A47 and I was soon enjoying a summer-plumaged adult. Get in!

After a few minutes watching it was time to get out the excellent Phone Skope iPhone adaptor marketed by Newpro. Clipping my phone in was quick and easy and there’s no way the phone is coming out once it’s in. The eyepiece ring is interchangeable depending on your chosen spotting scope. The fit on my Kowa 883 is perfect straight from the packaging. So, set up in seconds, I was getting some excellent results even at distance.


All the images and video were taken at 60x magnification.







Blade Runner Birding

This morning I headed back North for another bash at the Yellow-rumped Warbler at High Shincliffe in Co. Durham. Our car consisted of Brian Moore, Dave Gray and me and we rendezvoused with John Walters, Colin Green and Steve James for a McDonalds breakfast at Markham Moor before heading North. We passed through a snow storm near Scotch Corner but otherwise things weren’t too bad and we made our destination by 08.00.

Thankfully the Yellow-rumped Warbler was on show as we arrived and despite the Baltic conditions we enjoyed it for well over an hour. It never gave itself up for photos though. Here’s a rubbishy video grab.


Yellow-rumped Warbler… Honest!

After having our fill we headed off to RSPB Saltholme. A cracking reserve in a very Blade Runner like landscape. The reserve staff were welcoming and we soon got ourselves into the café for a coffee and in my case a sausage bun*. Out on the reserve we failed with the Green-winged Teal (and dipped it again later) but the birds and landscapes kept us entertained.


Little Egret, RSPB Saltholme


Middlesborough Transporter Bridge



Our next stop was Cowpen Marsh where Greeny picked out the Tundra Bean Geese at distance. They did fly closer but dropped out of view. A Short-eared Owl was very welcome as it hunted below the tip.


Tundra Bean Geese

Baikal Teal – From Russia With Love

This morning I joined ASBO Birders Adam Archer, Dave Hutton and Jules Allen for a trip to the seaside. This time we were off to Southport to have a look at a mega rare duck. Arriving on site there had been no sign of the bird so we split up a bit to have a scan, Jules and I checked the Teal flock (difficult) while Archie and Dave checked through the Wigeon. It wasn’t long before Archie relocated the bird but as it moved in and out of the Wigeon flock it was tricky to get on. Everyone eventually did and we settled down to enjoy a stunning Baikal Teal.

Always distant or after lunch partially obscured by the sea wall, we got some half decent digiscoped shots. Many have mentioned the lack of a black band on the face but you can see this clearly starting to come through on both cheeks. The bird appears fully winged and clearly unringed… I’m happy!


Baikal Teal


Baikal Teal


Baikal Teal


Baikal Teal


Baikal Teal


Baikal Teal

From what I saw yesterday and from reading discussion on Birding Frontiers, I’d push y luck and age the bird as a 1W male.

Oh Yeah! The Norwegian Blue?

This morning Dave Gray, Steve James and I headed off to Norfolk for a spot of birding. Colin Green had gone down with the Jimmy Smits and The Llama thought the weather wasn’t going to be any good. As we headed through the fens we did wonder whether Andy was right but in Norfolk it was a pretty nice bright morning.


Holt Lowes

Our first stop was Holt Country Park. Here we took radios with Steve walking the park and Dave and I headed to the Edgefield sign clearfell. After a good hour we’d seen or heard nothing Crossbill like so set off back to the car to think about strategy. There’s an awful lot of good habitat there…

Dave and I found a Fly Agaric that looked like something had been munching on it.


Fly Agaric

Just as we set off towards the car park a flock of Parrot Crossbills over unseen but calling loudly. We radioed Steve and headed back out on to the Heath where I picked up a few in a lone pine. Steve joined us and we started to move closer. The birds soon settled in a stand of trees and started to demolish the cones. Snipping them off, then trapping the cone with their feet before demolishing it to get the seeds.


Here Be Crossbills


Parrot Crossbills and Common Crossbills


Parrot Crossbill


Parrot Crossbill

We counted 15 at this point but as a Sparrowhawk went through it was clear there were a few more. We were joined by Richard Millington and finally arrived at a total of 23 Parrots and one Common Crossbill… in flight it looked tiny by comparison. There were also a few Brambling knocking about.

After lunch we stopped in at Holkham and had Pink-footed Goose and White-fronted Goose.

Our last stop was Roydon Common where we were treated to five Hen Harrier roosting including a beautiful ghostly male. Not a day of quantity but hey, feel the quality.

Ride A White Swan

A few more photos of the Collingham Pied Wheatear from yesterday courtesy of Colin Green.


Pied Wheatear © Colin Green


Pied Wheatear © Colin Green

Both show the tail pattern quite nicely. Why Ride A White Swan? Well I guess you had to be there when a mad old lady was trying to give direction to where it probably wasn’t but then again it may have been…

Here’s a bit of Marc Bolan and T. Rex to cheer you up.



A quiet start to our vismigging – we were joined for an hour by Dave Beckerton – this morning. The Yellow Wagtails finally got into their stride with a record total for us of 17, all singletons except for a flock of four. The flavas were eclipsed by the 37 Swallow but still not one Mipit.

Totals on Trektellen here.