Winter Arrivals

Winter Arrivals - Greylag Geese
Winter Arrivals

I have been thinking recently, it happens, that when I go out with a target in mind (photography wise) I usually end up with much better photos than when I just go out on spec.

With that in mind today, as winter has started to creep up, what better birds to try to target than the winter thrushes whose flocks are currently gracing our shores, often in good numbers and sometimes very photographable (they eat in large numbers off berry bushes so can be easy to see).

So with Fieldfare and Redwing as my target birds I headed out across the fields and started (as I so often do) with the Old Lock area.

Winter Arrivals

I felt that my luck would surely be in as i passed the Old Church as a number of Mistle Thrushes rattled their way around the old trees, this had to be a good sign of things to come but sadly the only thrushes I could see when I reached the Old Lock were fly over Redwings and the odd Blackbird, far from the dripping bushes I had imagined.

Spending a little time watching the Great Tits and Blue tits pick their way through the bushes I was pleased to find a couple of Goldcrest in amongst them, the flash of gold on their crown always a pleasure to stumble across.

Great tit
Great tit

 

Great tit (same as above) front on.
Great tit (same as above) front on.

Leaving behind the delicate little sprites I headed off down to the Aqueduct and just as I approached a slender necked, water bird flew up stream, the rusty, orange head and neck of a female Goosander, the first of the winter, batted her way north towards Stony Nature reserve and out of sight.

Goosander - female - quite heavily cropped.
Goosander in flight – female – quite heavily cropped.

 

Black Headed Gull stood on the Aqueduct
Black Headed Gull stood on the Aqueduct

Manor Farm Pits

Bumping into another local photographer, she reliably informed me that the goosander had been swimming in the river this morning and even showed me the pictures as proof (not that it was needed). And while we discussed other birds locally a stunning Kingfisher (the first of four seen today) belted past. Heading under the aqueduct and off up the river.

I continued on down stream and was soon passed by the second Kingfisher as I walked. Also heading up river towards stony. Above me Fieldfare “chacked” their way over head, never stopping as they moved off over the camp site. It really was not going to be my day with these thrushes.

Treecreeper
Treecreeper

Last Chances

The regular Pochard were diving about on the camp site lakes but very little else was showing itself in the warm sunshine. In fact that proved to be the case as I continued my walk. The main pits were pretty much empty; a number of loafing Lesser Black Backed Gulls and a lone Herring gull were the only birds about really.

Magpie (my favourite photo of the day I love the blue and green against the purple and brown)
Magpie (my favourite photo of the day I love the blue and green against the purple and brown)

I wandered back along the river, passing under the aqueduct again with little of note. Sadly and it wasn’t until I was nearing the half way point between the canal and the old mill buildings that I finally found a winter thrush feeding. Unfortunately the Fieldfare spotted me and dived deep into the bushes where I couldn’t manage a photo (typical). However I was rewarded for sitting waiting. It to emerge as two Kingfishers flew up and down the river right past me, a wonderful sight indeed.

Fieldfare (heavy crop)
Fieldfare (heavy crop)

 

European Robin
European Robin

I gave up after about 20 mins and headed home. Plans for photos failed (pretty much) but it was a nice walk anyway. And I did get a few nice photos in the end, I hope you’ll agree.

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2 Comments

  • Jan

    Doesn't look a bad outing at all! Always lovely to see Goldcrests and Treecreepers, a lovely selection of photos and great to see some blue sky in your photos too! Glad you got your Fieldfare in the end. With the exception of the photos I took of Fieldfares from an upstairs window this autumn, I've always found them to be very wary – even with my longest lens and being as careful as I can, before I can get close enough for a photo they'll decide I'm too close already and move on!!!

  • AshleyBeolens

    Lots of blue sky that day (sadly seems to have vanished the last few days).

    I agree with the Fieldfare being the most wary of birds, always seem to fly at the slightest approach, at least early in the season.

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