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Zim Girl's 2nd Big Year 2019


Zim Girl

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Zim Girl

So looking forward to starting my second Big Year.:)

 

I now know my Meadow Pipit from my Wheatear and my Wigeon from my Pochard.  All birds I had never even heard of, let alone recognise, this time last year.  Some of the Waders remain a struggle - from a distance pretty much everything looks like a Redshank:wacko:  And let's not even go there with the Warblers!!

However, my knowledge has improved hugely because of the Big Year and I am enjoying it immensely.

 

I will never reach the giddy heights of some of the amazing numbers on the BY here, but my personal target is to beat my 110 UK birds total from 2018.  

We are off to the Western Cape in November so should find plenty of new birds there hopefully, but it is with the home birds that I am really keen to better my score.

 

I am still using my Panasonic bridge camera, so getting close enough remains the major challenge, but that just makes it all the more fun!

 

My first trip out was on 2nd January to Leighton Moss, however the forecasted sunny day didn't materialise and was instead very cloudy.

 

Never mind - first up something seasonal.

 

1.  Robin

P1100546c.jpg.e8f252e36beb9c3bd3b1b996d54098c5.jpg

Leighton Moss  -  02/01/19

 

 

Edited by Zim Girl
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Last one for today.   I was walking locally at the estuary and spent ages waiting for a warbler I could hear in the reeds to show itself.  In fact, it was starting to get embarrassing as the same

Now this one I am really pleased with.  I saw this bird for the first time ever last week, but just couldn't get anything more than a smudge of a picture, it was moving around so quick.  I went out ag

And while we were there I was also able to take advantage of a group of Knot being a bit closer than usual. Looks like there is one in summer plumage towards the left of the picture and the Black-tail

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Zim Girl

2.  Nuthatch

P1100526c.jpg.bf73c059de704b87696380787d68b4dd.jpg

Leighton Moss  -  02/01/19

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Zim Girl

3.  Wigeon

 

 Female

P1100501c.jpg.bea757d797e7c419cd62c899f34d0178.jpg

 

Male

P1100488d.jpg.091fd924aeb279bf0671126415d433f7.jpg

Leighton Moss  -  02/01/19

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Zim Girl

4.  Northern Shoveler

 

Female

P1100658c.jpg.4059ad29f3efbcb75780736b5e7bfbb9.jpg

 

Male

P1100643c.jpg.c5a8ab363f6c39e6793a50f77d44e385.jpg

Leighton Moss  -  02/01/19

 

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Zim Girl

I saw these birds all over the reserve on this visit.  The pictures are from two different areas.

 

5.  Common Snipe

P1100625c.jpg.a9319d56c87b764523c4a91868f0940d.jpg

 

P1100749c.jpg.fcb7c1d67e495efaa0d331a5f5fd9c50.jpg

Leighton Moss  -  02/01/19

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PeterHG

Off to a good start @Zim Girl and you are really making good use of the bridge camera!

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TonyQ

Off to a flying start. I am sure you will beat your UK total as you will have learned so much in the first year. You will get a lot in the Western Cape.

Anyway, it is the fun of taking part.

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Galana

Good to see a start and with your admitted increased knowledge I shall expect more.

The ducks are lovely.

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michael-ibk

Happy to see you back in. And don't worry, i will chase you around the Tyrolean mountains to get some good alpine birds.

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xelas

Birding is a contagious hobby,, @Zim Girl! Nobody warned me beforehand ... and I am glad that they did not. Excellent work with bridge camera.

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Dave Williams

The Liverpool Bay Irish Sea triangle is back in play! We should create an early warning system if we see things flying overhead.:)

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Zim Girl
17 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

The Liverpool Bay Irish Sea triangle is back in play! We should create an early warning system if we see things flying overhead.:)

 

I must make more of an effort this year to watch from the coast instead of just around the estuaries.  I know scoters, divers, eiders etc are seen regularly, although probably not within my camera range but you never know.

 

Working on a barn owl that is being seen a lot locally at the moment.

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Dave Williams
2 hours ago, Zim Girl said:

Working on a barn owl that is being seen a lot locally at the moment.

 If you detect that I'm turning green you are quite correct!

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Zim Girl

Some of you are going off like a train so I had better add a few more.  The trick is trying to find some decent weather to get out in.

 

6.  Magpie

P1100938c.jpg.1a52991e5487d42c85816989304a6c14.jpg

Near Marton Mere  -  09/01/19

 

 

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Zim Girl

7.  Tufted Duck

 

Female

P1110136c.jpg.fceeb38b5ba15d8a778cd9d1d01f5b75.jpg

 

Male

P1110127c.jpg.a3628af4aa291fc17427ac990d40b654.jpg

Stanley Park  -  14/01/19

 

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Zim Girl

These seem to be breeding in the Park.  Last year, sightings were just of 1 or 2 birds but now they are seeing as many as 5.  I was watching two birds high up in the trees when this one suddenly just appeared in front of me.

 

8.  Ring-necked Parakeet

P1110192d.jpg.bb308d4296028490d0bb3454c11e982d.jpg

 

P1110201d.jpg.32f56c4c574bebc32c591a647d52fd34.jpg

Stanley Park  -  14/01/19

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Galana

How exotic.

All the best acts end up in Blackpool!!

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PeterHG

Beautiful photos of the parakeet @Zim Girl ! They seems to have conquered quite a few city parks here, too.

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Zim Girl

I have been working on project Barn Owl this last week or so, and after a lot of waiting around, getting wet and very cold, I finally succeeded!

@Dave Williams, Dave, this is specially for you.

 

There had been reports of a Barn owl hunting around the north west section of Marton Mere, my local nature reserve.  It had been spotted roosting in an old owl box set amongst the reedbeds. So each afternoon before dusk I went there to try my luck.  Nothing the first 3 days and then on the 4th day as I was walking through the reserve I spotted it flying close to the box but being mobbed by a crow.  I ran quickly round to the other side where the view is more open and just as I got there it came out of the box (it must have gone back in when I moved).  I only had time to get the camera up for a quick burst but I managed to get this.

 

9.  Barn Owl

P1110343c.jpg.a2306b83b25f2dcf25348546bdc55775.jpg

Marton Mere  -  16/01/19

 

Then it started to rain heavily so I couldn't wait around to spot it again and walking back to the car the rain turned into a hailstorm so I was drenched by the time I got there.

 

But, not to be put off I tried again the next day, timing it so I was there around the same time.  I was actually a bit early but that was very fortunate as it turned out.  I walked onto the track towards the front of the box and saw the owl flying towards it.  Again I didn't have much time but the light was a bit better today and this is what I got.

P1110640c.jpg.cea93e8cc1f0c2d48ef253ea588d39ec.jpg

 

P1110641c.jpg.8f1d20340276582d9712dced5edd5233.jpg

 

Then it went back into the box.  I waited until it was almost dark but it didn't come out again.

 

Below are other un-cropped pictures from the same sighting showing a bit more of the reserve.  The clock tower is in Stanley Park which is at the very far side of the reserve and Blackpool Tower can be seen although it is much, much further away than it looks in the picture.

P1110645.JPG.eb3c494021e7c0aece48a8905c9aa04c.JPG

 

P1110648.JPG.81d10302f9662c4ea8305fe5fb835140.JPG

Marton Mere  -  17/01/19

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Dave Williams

Well done indeed. Perseverance is starting to pay off. Later in the year when they ( hoping there's a pair) have bred they'll be hunting for their chicks in broad daylight.Fingers crossed.

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Kitsafari

Congrats on getting the barn owl BIF shots! Your perseverance paid off. 

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Galana

From me too. Amazing to see Blackpool Tower in the same shot.

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Congrats! Well deserved shots of the barn owl 

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Zim Girl

Thank you very much.

But it gets better.  You are going to have to indulge me with the overload of pictures but I just wanted to tell the story as it happened.

 

We were driving back from a walk on Saturday afternoon when we made a detour down a lane to where there had been recent sightings of Whooper swans in the surrounding fields.  We found the swans (more on that later). We carried on down the lane and then in front of us we saw a Barn owl sitting on a post. It flew away from us and along the dyke in the field hunting and then stopping on posts every so often.  The following pictures were taken from inside the car in the order they happened.

P1110812c.jpg.38ff55396a9382d3f3408281e40eb883.jpg

 

P1110817c.jpg.f1bf84605392334d9bbc3a8c1b90829a.jpg

 

P1110823c.jpg.5c1ec3e40a37b2d1f0b2dacbaa177529.jpg

 

P1110827c.jpg.f452d78140c400bb78347aca68b26b3c.jpg

 

P1110836c.jpg.0efb33d0d2619c3e89d33557904cc591.jpg

 

P1110842c.jpg.dfd80f7ecd0ab6a2671a311a8a792115.jpg

 

P1110844c.jpg.cb559167ed54616e6e008e7952d22d3a.jpg

 

P1110849c.jpg.415e8dabc712e918b2b6f316568b5cf0.jpg

 

The bird then dropped out of sight along the dyke.  We waited for a bit but didn't see it reappear. We drove to the end of the (dead end) lane to turn around.  On the way back we slowed down at the point we last saw the owl, looking around we saw it on the other side of the road flying low above the field.  We slowly followed it in the car and luckily it landed not too far from us on a post at the edge of another field. It was watching the ground and I was able to get out and take some better pictures.  It dropped to the ground and caught something, in the last (blurry) picture you can see something dark underneath it.  All pictures in the order they happened.

P1110866c.jpg.b5579423acdbde125150ef9bd5729389.jpg

 

P1110868c.jpg.d7a0305776086cfc77ac25cbcf4bb71c.jpg

 

P1110880c.jpg.c307052029b43af68e5f789d671c2f45.jpg

 

P1110887c.jpg.829b133a3bba431f3b6ffb5ef1b8bb22.jpg

 

P1110894c.jpg.7d73e6ef96c8c89687ffb2c5e4314735.jpg

 

P1110897.JPG.f97b4972b53151c6a2fbd5206f9c05d4.JPG

 

P1110905c.jpg.fafbe4f1755cfbd14832eba7269b5ef5.jpg

 

P1110911c.jpg.3cf781b42800bc2d3522a7f8ed631782.jpg

The owl then flew past us and behind the car then off across the fields towards the coast.

That was the best and longest Barn owl sighting I have ever had and I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you all. :)

 

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