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Dave Williams Big Year 2017


Dave Williams

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It's too cold, damp and miserable to go out at the moment and with 2 weeks gone my species photo count is 1. We get the odd Snow Bunting over wintering from Scandinavia here in the UK and fortunately

12) Chiffchaff These are probably the most common of our summer migrant warblers which also tend to be the first to arrive in late March to early April. To see one in our garden yesterday was a smash

271)Tawny Owl Seen on one of my garden perches late this evening when the light was fading fast. Thrilled to see it for the first time in a couple of years although I hear them calling during the

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Dave Williams

299)  Rook.

I set out yesterday to try and reach the next milestone on my BY. I knew where to find a Rook so that would be easy. They hang around parked cars on the seafront hoping to beg bits of sandwich and yesterday was no different.

Possibly the ugliest bird on my BY so far, I didn't want that to be No 300!

37372271145_1b2c79f142_b.jpgRook    Corvus frugilegus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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Dave Williams

300) Common Kestrel

 

Yes, I finally made it although there were times I began to lose heart, July and August can be disappointing here in North Wales and even in the Autumn we are not really on much of a migration route on the west side of the UK.

A year ago to the day I saw my first ever Wryneck, it now features in my avatar, but the likelyhood of something that special to me was unlikely, however, I did come up trumps.

The Common Kestrel is just that in the UK, fairly common. I have seen them in or hovering over the garden a few times this year but never managed a decent image. Ironically I saw my first ever Greater Kestrel and only my second ever Lesser Kestrel both at very close quarters earlier in the year so the fact it's taken over 9 months to get something decent on the Common Kestrel is as much about my recent apathy as anything else.

Anyway, yesterday I went walkabout on the Great Orme headland that stretches out in to Liverpool Bay and the Irish Sea. After the heavy rain in the previous 24 hours I was hopeful that something might have dropped in on passage but it wasn't the case. However, I did accidentally flush a Kestrel which had been sat on the ground and I managed to relocate it some 4 or 500m away. Kestrels are notoriously skittish if they happen to be on the ground and tend to fly when you approach them although they will often hover right above you when they are hunting.

I fully expected this one to fly too but it didn't. Maybe it was too busy sticking it's head in the cracks on the rocky limestone outcrop it had landed on. Must be something in there to keep it's attention. However, despite me being as close as 10m away in the end it was happy to let me sit there and snap away giving me my best ever "Close encounter of the Kestrel kind"

37381828735_873e25fb44_b.jpgCommon Kestrel  Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

So, to celebrate reaching 300

37200371992_e54b4ebc28_b.jpgCommon Kestrel  Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

A bit of Kestrel overkill!

37200372432_2e2e179083_b.jpgCommon Kestrel  Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I usually try to stick to one image, two at the most but hey ho

36519945744_74e34601f5_b.jpgCommon Kestrel   Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I'm celebrating!!

Where next. Well my original target was 400. I once kept a year list when I first started birding and I made it to 400 on New Year's Eve with a fleeting glimpse of a Firecrest. That was 2008. I have possibly seen more species in a year since then, but I have never kept a year list of any sort so out of interest I decided to take part in the BY.

Not sure it's a good idea really. It eventually motivated me to get out but it also demotivated me when I made a lack of progress.

Where next?

I am afraid that I doubt I'll hit my target but hopefully I'll get past 350.

I have a Far East cruise/land trip trip coming up soon but I don't think I'll see much in the way of wildlife but you never know!

Edited by Dave Williams
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Congratulations on you BY 2017 #300, @Dave Williams! What a beautiful set of Common Kestrel (which does not look common at all) fro close distance. 

 

As for the motivation / demotivation, I can feel you. Same here. While first 6 months were busy, second 6 months are/will be much less. And much less colourful, and birds at much greater distances.  The Big Year 2018 cannot come fast enough B).

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michael-ibk

Congrats Dave, a really special Kestrel series! "Common" maybe but difficult to get good images and yours are all stunning. 

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Peter Connan

Truly inspiring photography throughout, my congratulations on a magnificent effort!

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Wonderful photos of the Kestrel to make your 300. Congratulations - and good luck for the 350!

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Dave Williams

301)Red-breasted Merganser.

Some birds are starting to return from their breeding grounds and hopefully I'll get a few more in the UK before the year is out!

36806657324_054322b15e_b.jpgRed-breasted  Merganser Mergus serrator by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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Galana

Belated congratulations on 300 up and what a bird to do it with. You are so right to indulge it with such a close encounter.

Wish I had Peregrines over my garden. Indeed I sometimes wish I had a garden for them to fly over!

On 9/22/2017 at 8:44 AM, Dave Williams said:

out of interest I decided to take part in the BY.

Not sure it's a good idea really. It eventually motivated me to get out

I agree with this. Whilst I do not need motivating to get out and it did cause me take photos of birds I would rarely have bothered with I find the downside is a drive to get a photo, any photo, rather than watch the bird itself which is really why I am out there in the first place.

Good luck with the #400 in the Far East.

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Dave Williams
On 07/10/2017 at 11:44 PM, Galana said:

Belated congratulations on 300 up and what a bird to do it with. You are so right to indulge it with such a close encounter.

Wish I had Peregrines over my garden. Indeed I sometimes wish I had a garden for them to fly over!

I agree with this. Whilst I do not need motivating to get out and it did cause me take photos of birds I would rarely have bothered with I find the downside is a drive to get a photo, any photo, rather than watch the bird itself which is really why I am out there in the first place.

Good luck with the #400 in the Far East.

 

Thanks @Galana but I don't think I'll make 400 but you never know!

In actual fact it's the drive to get something special in the camera that drives me as much as anything and consequently I spend more time than most with my subjects and at the same places. It's disheartening when you keep going to the same place and nothing turns up however.....

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Dave Williams

This week has suddenly turned out well four days in the last week down at my local RSPB reserve have produced 4 new species. As winter approached some birds are returning!

 

302) Eurasian Widgeon

37622351421_a6d3c9f666_b.jpgEurasian Wigeon Anas penelope by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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Water Rail looks like a proper ballerina!

Edited by xelas
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Galana

Aaagh. Water Rail! My personal bete noire. We have em, I hear em but I can't find em!

Good to see you still progressing. Take it one bird at a time.

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Dave Williams

Thanks guys. @Galana First "decent" sighting I have had for a few years although it was very brief ( 20 seconds or so) and through grass as can be seen on the heavily cropped shot. I managed 4 shots in total between checking exposure on the first and taking three more as it walked back towards the reed bed from the few feet it had wandered out of.

I was pleased to have got anything at all!

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Dave Williams

305) Yellow-throated Petronia  Namibia,Etosha NP

 

I have been organising my photographs from the Namibia trip and what a tedious exercise it is too. Easy to press the shutter, button pick a few for a trip report, then forget about them but I decided to take a longer look in the hope of finding one or two new species for my BY as well as making some space on the external hard drives.

I'm pretty confident on this one, the Yellow throat is a small spot rarely seen!

 

36960508894_0bf4330a22_b.jpgYellow-throated Petronia    GymnorisSupercilaris by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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Dave Williams

@Tdgraves I am open to be persuaded as always but I can't match it closer than I have done. My only other shot gives a bit more bill detail.

36962520234_85f34c0712_b.jpgYellow-throated Petronia    Gymnoris   Supercilaris by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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Dave Williams

That reminds me I haven't counted this one yet!

 

305 0r 306) Buzzard Sp. The underwing markings still make it a Forest Buzzard to me. 

Etosha NP, Namibia..... not it's normal range but the habitat was as you might expect.

32997589430_c03aff5eea_b.jpgForest Buzzard      Buteo Trizonatus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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PeterHG
2 hours ago, Tdgraves said:

Seems very white underneath for a Petronia for me @Dave Williams is it not some kind of lark?

I do agree that e.g. the bill is more lark-like, but I'm not venturing into that territory...;)

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Dave Williams
Just now, PeterHG said:

I do agree that e.g. the bill is more lark-like, but I'm not venturing into that territory...;)

 

 

Go on, name that Lark!  It could be Sabota agreed.

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Galana

Sabota would be a reasonable guess but Fawn-coloured looks fits better.

Buzzards Pah. Go on count it. It is Common knowledge the beggars don't read books.:rolleyes:

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