Last September Ramble

Migrant Hawker at rest
Migrant Hawker at rest
September draws to a close today (I'd better get this up before midnight or I will look silly saying that), and yet we seem to be having more in the way of a summer than we did through July and August. 

Quite frankly I am loving the "Indian summer" we are having at the moment, and long may it continue, it means my autumn walks are warmed by the sun still (no need for a coat, and in fact sometimes I am still in shorts and a t-shirt), and that the air is still full of life.

Not just the domain of birds though (although more on birds in flight later), we are still being treated to the amazing air show that comes from the Odonata of the world, three species were about on today's walk (Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and Southern Hawker).


Last September Ramble


With September closing and the sun shining I headed out onto the patch again, I must admit I have given up on migrants at the moment; I think the clear skies mean that many are just passing straight over head but that doesn't stop me heading out (hell I have Fitbit steps to get in, can't let my friends do better than me and keeping my lead means I need to walk a minimum of 15'000 steps a day).

It's always a good moment when almost the first bird you see is a Common Buzzard, even more so when you get to see the bird soaring low over the trees that are across the road from your own home, I love living so close to the edge of town.

Hitting the Patch


Actually hitting the patch it was noticeable how quiet (in terms of noise not movement) the skies are now that the Swallows and House Martin have all but left us (1 lone Swallow was all today), their chattering is sorely missed however today it seemed to be replaced by passing Skylark, an equally bubbling flight call, it seems there was a small movement going on (or one very, very mobile bird).

Along the old lock area the numbers of birds is down as well, but there were still a few parties of Blackcap and Chiffchaff, as well as the now growing tit flocks, today I stood waiting to capture a Chiffchaff that was flitting around in a hawthorn, when one such party moved through. Mainly Long-tailed Tit but accompanied by several Great Tit and Blue Tit, the odd Dunnock and a few stunning Goldcrest trilling their way along following the herd, it just goes to show sometimes standing waiting pays dividends.

Goldcrest - Wolverton Mill
Goldcrest - Wolverton Mill

Long-tailed Tit - Wolverton Mill
Long-tailed Tit - Wolverton Mill

Long-tailed Tit - Wolverton Mill
Long-tailed Tit - Wolverton Mill


Walking the Lakes


Heading around the Manor Farm pits (not long now until they start putting in the paths, then the hides to follow, hopefully next year the whole area will be watchable and walkable - are they even words?) it was great to see that the number of ducks are building and the regular winter birds are now coming in. Wigeon were there in numbers, along side more Shoveler than over the summer months and Gadwall and Teal numbers are building.

On the Eastern pits gulls were everywhere, mainly Black-headed Gulls but good numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gull (including one I saw in flight with a marked, streaked hood, I have a very poor photo below of this) and a lone Common Gull.

Unedited photo of hooded lesser black backed gull (highly cropped)
Unedited photo of hooded lesser black backed gull (highly cropped)

Unedited photo of hooded lesser black backed gull (highly cropped)
Unedited photo of hooded lesser black backed gull (highly cropped)


And it was with the above gulls that I decided to try a different technique for photographing birds in flight (told you it was coming). Now I always use spot metering and a single focus point, it was how I learnt to make sure I got decent focus, but I recently saw a video (was actually a review of a lens) where the chap walking around with the long lens left it set to all focal points being active when walking in case of birds in flight. And do you know what it made for way more keepers (if only i had known this when I was trying to photograph swift!). I'm sure I look a fool now to other wildlife photographers but hey we all learn at different speeds. 

Anyway here are a few Birds in Flight photos.

Black-headed gull in flight
Black-headed gull in flight

Black-headed gull in flight
Black-headed gull in flight

Black-headed gull in flight
Black-headed gull in flight 
Black-headed gull in flight
Black-headed gull in flight

Cormorant in flight
Cormorant in flight

Rook in flight
Rook in flight


A Load of Bull


My final stretch along the River towards the old Mill buildings threw up one surprise in the form of a huge Bull (thankfully over the river from me - I've not got a great relationship with cattle) who was getting amorous with a lady cow (well she kept nuzzling him which was kind of sweet) and a post? Anyway I thought he deserved a photo shoot so hope you enjoy the photos.

Big Bull and Cow nuzzling!
Big Bull and Cow nuzzling!

Bull at Wolverton Mill
Bull at Wolverton Mill

Having a scratch
Having a scratch

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2 comments:

  1. I must get myself down to the mill myself soon. I am also enjoying this extended summer and the mornings are fantastic to be out and about, especially if there is a light mist. Great read and fantasia photography.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, it's always a good time of year to get down early, some lovely mist out there at the moment.

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