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Ruff Close Encounters

Ruff Close Encounters - Great Crested Grebe
Ruff Close Encounters - Great Crested Grebe
With some heavy afternoon and overnight rain I was hoping that the patch (Manor Farm - I can't bring myself to call it the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, far too much of a mouthful) would have gained that little extra water that it needs to be really inviting to waders. 

And so with a morning of freedom (I left Zoe [I'm joking the Good Wife is actually quite good] and the little lady at home watching trash TV and Youtube respectively), I headed out onto the patch in search of waders and what ever other migrants might have been brought in by the sudden break of the recent summer weather.

Britains Birds - Review

Britain's Birds - Review (Cover image)
Britain's Birds - Review (Cover image)
Britain's Birds by Rob Hume, Robert Still, Andy Swash, Hugh Harrop & David Tipling | 560 pages | Wild Guides | Paperback | 2016 | ISBN: 978-0-691-15889-1|


I'm a huge fan of the Wildguides series of books, I've reviewed loads of them in the past on here (and a previous website) - Britain's Butterflies & Britain's Dragonflies are my two favourites, and ones I use all summer - so when I was offered their latest offering Britain's Birds I was eager to delve in and see what they had to offer.

Now I should say that through my life I have been a fan of drawn bird guides rather than photographic ones, I'm not sure why, but perhaps it is part of knowing that light can alter how a photograph looks, it can change colours etc. in such ways that identification can be fooled, if you look at any Facebook identification forum and you will see what I mean, so artist drawings are usually more accurate.

Would this photographic guide be the same?

Herons in the Sun

Herons in the Sun
Herons in the Sun
It was hot today, probably too hot to really hit the patch hard, but never the less, with the grand opening of the nature reserve scheduled for tomorrow (I wanted to see what was about without crowds of people), The little lady and I decided we'd take the risk and headed out to the nature reserve.

We were in search mainly of early migrants (well waders), and the exciting prospect of having some decent views of the Great White Egret that seems to have made the Floodplain forest nature reserve its home over the last couple of weeks.

We weren't disappointed on any count!

(Disclaimer: Photo heavy post)

Birdfair 2016

Birdfair 2016 - Our Raffle Draw
Birdfair 2016 - Our Raffle Draw
I had the weekend booked of of work, this past weekend (19th to 21st August 2016), I booked it last year if I'm honest, so what did I do on my weekend away from the paying job? Did I spend it relaxing by a pool somewhere, sipping on cool cocktails? Did I spend it out in the field spending a few well earned days hunting down migrants? Or Did I even spend it with the kids hunting fictitious creatures known as Pokemon?

Well.... No!

No in fact I spent the weekend on my feet from 08:30 till 17:30, selling raffle tickets and promoting Birding for All, the access charity I volunteer with, at the British Bird Watching Fair at Rutland water, more commonly known as Birdfair!

Hen Harrier Day 2016

Hen Harrier Day 2016 Image courtesy of Wino Wendy's Wildlife World - http://winowendyswildlifeworld.blogspot.co.uk/
Hen Harrier Day 2016
Image courtesy of Wino Wendy's Wildlife World
Hen Harriers, enigmatic skydancers who, should, rule the skies of British moorland. A raptor that I have often admired on their wintering grounds at raptor roosts (usually the more muted ringtails, sadly, rather than the striking grey male) but one I have never seen on a summer moor, or performing their legendary skydance display (one day). 

Sadly, very sadly in my opinion, it is also a bird that is under serious threat in the UK (especially in England).

What is happening to them? Well where there should be around 300 pairs (estimates put it around 330 pairs with suitable habitat) on English moors, currently there are 3 known pairs! Why? Because these moors are often used as grouse moors for shooting, and gamekeepers/land owners don't want them competing for the quarry so out come traps, guns and poison to "get rid" of this wonderful bird, all illegal of course.

Here is the petition (currently standing at some 74500 signatures) to ban driven grouse shooting, and, hopefully, give some protection to the wonderful Hen Harrier: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003

A Walk Amongst The Butterflies

A Walk Amongst the Butterflies
A Walk Amongst the Butterflies
We have just had the two hottest days of the year, back to back, and let me be honest with you here, with temperatures hot enough to soften the black, sticky, tarmac on the local roads, a slightly chubby (I'm being polite here) lad like me often finds himself melting like the ice lollies I wish I was eating. 

Today however the heat had dropped off a little and the warmth was as pleasant as you could like without it being too hot to walk, and without the humidity that sees me "glistening" the second I make any kind of physical movement. 

And so it was that today I headed out onto the patch for a walk amongst the butterflies, dragonflies and birds of a British summers day.