Friday, 11 February 2011

Highlights from Hampshire

Spent Wednesday with Adam and Matt down in the New Forest and around Hampshire. Ignoring the lure of Dorset's Ring Billed Dull and Dowitcher we decided to focus on staying in and around where we were familiar with. The day started grey-ish but with the odd bit of sun poking through, it unfortunately never improved and if anything just got worse, not ideal for photography!

We began in the Keyhaven area around the stubble field of Hurst Beach/Cutt Bridge. Unlike pre-xmas the field was ploughed meaning the various buntings and pipits that were all over the place then were nowhere to be seen, really dissapointing. Back in Decemeber (when it was much colder) birds such as Rock Pipit and Little Egret were also far tamer but this time around we hardly got a chance to approach them and take photos so opportunities were limited due to weather and the tameness of birds!

Brent Geese were constantly flying around

The Turnstones were by far the most confiding birds at the site and i spent a good amount of time trying to capture images that were a bit different to what i already had. Was nice to see them in the water and actually turning small stones and pebbles as they looked for food...

The only other bird that seemed to be willing to have it's photo taken was a Greenshank, a bird i have rarely seen let alone get close to. This particular individual was confiding after you put the effort in which meant lying flat down on wet muddy seaweed, classic bird photography! Unfortunately just as it was becoming very tame and approaching Adam and myself 2 dogs ran into the water scattering around 20 Turnstones and sending the Greenshank flying.....ridiculous behaviour from the dogs owner and even more saddening when we found out that 1 of the dogs had grabbed hold of a Turnstone and killed it, a real shame as we didn't get the photos we could've got and even more of a shame as a bird who'd i'd been photographing happily feeding only moments before was now dead and for no good reason.

After leaving Keyhaven we stopped off atEyeworth Pond, a site that would guarantee close views of Mandarin and some woodland birds but by now the weather had seriously deteriorated as so most of my photos although still decent aren't what i consider my best and therefore will be left alone.

We ended the day at Blashford Lakes with the main aim of photographing Siskin, Redpoll and Brambling. All 3 species are regular winter visitors to this site and very obligingly frequent the various feeders all day long. This particular day we had good views of Siskin and there was huge numbers of Brambling but only a few Redpoll. Once again the lack of light was our worst enemy but also the birds were mainly favouring the feeders rather than the more natural perches around the feeders so photo opporunities were tricky, the Woodland Hide was also extremely noisy with some really loud talkers in there clattering around and the door constantly opening and slamming shut...this can't have helped.
After going through my photos i am happy with this Chaffinch hovering shot considering the light and a Brambling on the ground but little else was worth blogging.

Overall the day was a decent one, we saw lots of bird with plenty of close views but a bit of sun would've made all the difference, bring on Spring and some more consistently good weather i say!

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