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Zim Girl's (very tiny) Big Year 2018


Zim Girl

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Zim Girl

Now the big draw to this particular Reserve is the chance to see Marsh Harriers, and Spring is the best time to see them flying low over the reedbeds.

This was the absolute highlight of the visit as they were very, very active.  From one of the hides there was a pair who were consistently showing and swooping around much to everyone's delight.

I apologise in advance because you are now going to see a set of blurry bird pictures.  I am afraid that BIF shots are still something I need to work on, but I just wanted to show how often we saw them and because it's not a bird you see every day and really just because it was pretty thrilling to watch.

 

36.  Marsh Harrier

 

The male and female together.

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Hovering over the reedbed.

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This one had just pinched some nesting material from a Greylag goose nest nearby.

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RSPB Leighton Moss  -  20/04/18

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We get Sparrowhawks in the garden fairly regularly.  This one was flying around the bushes chasing a small bird.  It didn't get it and landed for a minute.  Just managed to get these but he was jumpin

12.  Robin       Marton Mere, Blackpool  -  06/03/18

Now the big draw to this particular Reserve is the chance to see Marsh Harriers, and Spring is the best time to see them flying low over the reedbeds. This was the absolute highlight of the visit

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Zim Girl

Now if there is anyone still with me after that, I am nearly done.

We spent 7 and a half hours at the Reserve and even then felt a bit rushed at the end (who knew bird watching could be so much fun?).  

I know I don't seem to have a huge amount to show for it but we did see loads of stuff and watching the Harriers soaked up a lot of time.

But to take a quote from one of my favourite 80's movies  -  I'll be back!

 

As a footnote, on the way back we stopped off at Warton Crag which is just 5 mins drive away from the Reserve.  It is a rocky limestone outcrop that is well known for it's many Jackdaw nests as well as Ravens and the odd Peregrine Falcon.

No I don't have a Peregrine Falcon picture :(, but we did see one!  In fact we had just got out of the car (the car park sits just at the bottom of the crag with a fantastic view up) and one was swooping down the rock in front of us - fantastic.

There was a chap with a scope trained on a Raven's nest with young in which he let us look at and I got a picture of a Jackdaw.

So a good end to a really enjoyable day.

 

37.  Jackdaw

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Warton Crag  -  20/04/18

 

 

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Galana

"Good fun this bird spotting lark!! "  Too true.

Leighton Moss is a wonderful place to go and no you don't need feel "camera envy" with a bridge as the Garganey showed all to well.

An RSPB sub will get you into all the reserves. Saves a few quid.

Lot's more at Leighton to justify a return.

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Dave Williams

Nice one with the Garganey!

Going back to your anti social/superior being  types reminds me of a story when  friend of mine was at a bird watching spot in Anglesey where a Ring-billed Gull had been reported. A gathering of 3 or 4 male birders with their big 'scopes were scanning the mud flats out in front of them searching for the said gull. She asked them what they were looking for and they completely ignored her. " If it the Ring-billed Gull it's behind you" she continued. One of them actually paid attention and looked behind on a small pond about 20m away were said bird was happily floating around. He nudged his pal and they all turned rather sheepishly to look but not one said thank you!

I was new into birding at the time and decided to take a look for myself and for once Claire came with me ( she has long since dropped the idea!). As we arrived in the car park I told her what to look for and we pulled up alongside the same pond. "It's like a Herring Gull but it has a black ring around it's bill" I said. "Do you mean this one?" she replied. It was sat on a post next to the passenger door about just a metre or so away!

Birding can be fun !

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Galana
4 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

A gathering of 3 or 4 male birders with their big

Good tales and sad to say I think it is a 'man thing'. A non scientific finding by me has shown that on you entering a hide a lady will be first to advise you what there is about with directions. The group of males in the corner rarely do.

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Kitsafari

fun tales! From my perspective, it is a bit intimidating carrying my little bridge camera while all these guys position their tripods and bazooka lenses. but i have thick skin and i walk up to them and chat them up about birds! LOL. they become quite friendly after that, actually.

 

well done on the Gargeney @Zim Girl! your BIF shots are nothing to be shy about. you should see mine, they are all in the bin. 

 

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Peter Connan

Brilliant photos! Get any kind of a shot of a bird in flight with a bridge camera is, to my mind, a major achievement. I certainly have never managed that.

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PeterHG

Great stories and matching photos! I'm glad you found the people in the hides to be friendly and helpful. As others have told you this is not always the case. I have found that those who are primarily birders are always willing to share sightings, but the dedicated photographers are often so focused on getting a good shot that they will take up the best spots in the hide for the better part of the day and       look upon other visitors as uninvited guests. Not true for all of them, of course, but I've certainly come across this attitude a number of times. When, on occasion, they did speak to me, it was to ask if I knew what species they had just taken their award-winning shot of...;)

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xelas

My comment on fellow hide birders: all of them were always happy to share with me, both sightings and knowledge! It must be my happy face and innocent eyes that makes them melting down :blink:?!

But seriously, I have not yet encounter a grumpy birder, OK; one only, an Italian (??) photographer at Foce dell'Isonzo. But he might also be from some other country as he never replied to me neither in Italian, English or Slovenian :wacko: ... 

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lmSA84

@Zim Girl - beautiful Chaffinch shot and I’ve yet to see a Garganey in the UK - so maybe I’ll have to rush up to Leighton Moss to!

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Zim Girl
22 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

Thanks to your skill using it your "little bridge camera" takes excellent photographs so no need to feel in the slightest bit inferior to someone who has all the kit but doesn't do it justice. 

 

 

Thank you very much kind sir.  I am trying hard to get the best out of it but bird photography is certainly very testing!

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Zim Girl
21 hours ago, Galana said:

"Good fun this bird spotting lark!! "  Too true.

Leighton Moss is a wonderful place to go and no you don't need feel "camera envy" with a bridge as the Garganey showed all to well.

An RSPB sub will get you into all the reserves. Saves a few quid.

Lot's more at Leighton to justify a return.

 

Yes, we actually decided to join the RSPB while driving up to the main reserve.  We do a lot of walking in that general area so it means we can pop in every now and again.  I also got a rather nice Handbook of British Birds thrown in.

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Zim Girl
10 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

fun tales! From my perspective, it is a bit intimidating carrying my little bridge camera while all these guys position their tripods and bazooka lenses. but i have thick skin and i walk up to them and chat them up about birds! LOL. they become quite friendly after that, actually.

 

well done on the Gargeney @Zim Girl! your BIF shots are nothing to be shy about. you should see mine, they are all in the bin. 

 

 

Thank you., and very true, by the time we hit the last hides I was quite happy to go and sit next to them and ask what they were looking at. 

 

7 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

Brilliant photos! Get any kind of a shot of a bird in flight with a bridge camera is, to my mind, a major achievement. I certainly have never managed that.

 

Thank you very much Peter. 

 

4 hours ago, lmSA84 said:

@Zim Girl - beautiful Chaffinch shot and I’ve yet to see a Garganey in the UK - so maybe I’ll have to rush up to Leighton Moss to!

 

Thank you very much, and while I don't have much to compare to, Leighton Moss seemed to me to be a really very nice reserve.

 

 

 

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Galana
2 hours ago, Zim Girl said:

I also got a rather nice Handbook of British Birds thrown in.

No doubt it will be put to good use soon.

There is an RSPB reserve closer to you than Leighton. Drop over the Mersey to Marshside north of Southport. That is also very good for wildfowl and strangely the guys in there seemed much more welcoming. One dragged me outside in the rain to show me a Long-tailed Duck.

If you have GPS in your car, do you know you can download all RSPB reserves? Handy when touring UK.

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Zim Girl

Thanks for letting me know @Galana and yes I pretty much haven't put it down since I got it!!

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Peter Connan
11 hours ago, PeterHG said:

... but the dedicated photographers are often so focused on getting a good shot that they will take up the best spots in the hide for the better part of the day...

 

Perhaps this is neither the time nor the place to have this discussion, but I feel that if the photographer was dedicated enough to get to the hide first (very often in the freezing cold before dawn), he deserves his seat, and if he wasn't dedicated enough, perhaps he shouldn't feel hard done by if the one who was dedicated enough doesn't feel the urge to move?

 

Certainly, this seems to be the operating principle of hides here in SA, If you want to be assured of a good seat, make sure you gete there early, because nobody is lilkely to move before the light goes.

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PeterHG

You have a valid point there, of course, @Peter Connan. It was perhaps more about the general attitude I’ve run into a number of times. I’ ll try to be less cynical..;). 

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Zim Girl

Very pleased to get this as it isn't a bird I see that often and when I do, it's usually whizzing off in the distance.

 

38.  Jay

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Brockside, Forest of Bowland  -  26/04/18

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Zim Girl

39.  Greylag Goose

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11/03/18  -  Stanley Park

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Zim Girl

Thanks to @TonyQ, @Dave Williams and @Galana for confirming the ID's of the next 2 birds.

 

40.  Herring Gull

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P1020339c.jpg.053c0aef284c2bbb842a79b9976fe300.jpg

11/04/18  -  Stanley Park

 

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Zim Girl

41.  Lesser Black-backed Gull

P1020346c.jpg.cef829efc2c2b6a5cb55a6cb685ea35a.jpg

11/04/18  -  Stanley Park

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elefromoz

@Zim Girl,what a great day out at the Reserve, don't think I could get the OH to endure 7 hrs though. Nice big flock of Knots and the Marsh Harriers would have been very exciting to watch, and photograph.I like that you've got foreground and background in the photos, I can see what their habitat is.

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Zim Girl
7 hours ago, elefromoz said:

@Zim Girl,what a great day out at the Reserve, don't think I could get the OH to endure 7 hrs though. Nice big flock of Knots and the Marsh Harriers would have been very exciting to watch, and photograph.I like that you've got foreground and background in the photos, I can see what their habitat is.

 

We actually popped in again last weekend, so it is highly addictive, those 7 hrs whizzed by. Could have watched the Marsh Harriers all day, they were amazing and so active.

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Zim Girl

As mentioned above we made a quick early visit to Leighton Moss last Saturday morning.  The light was so much better this time and I have the following birds to add.

 

This little chap was perched on a rock just above a stream.  Never seen one sat still on anything other than a telegraph wire so was really pleased with this.

 

42.  Barn Swallow

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28/04/18  -  Leighton Moss

 

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Zim Girl

43.  Oystercatcher

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And I liked the bit of comedy provided by the Black headed gull in the middle of this picture.

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28/04/18  -  Leighton Moss

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