Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday 28th.January 2011

Following Allan Woodcock/Snodland and Surrounding Area's post yesterday , and after three hard days volunteering , I made arrangements with a fellow enthusiast , who I knew was desperate for some Waxwing photographs , to make an early start , to arrive at Snodland just after light . We found the Cotoneaser bush/tree , perfectly directed by Allan's post , and waited in the gloom to see if anyone had told the Waxwings . Within 10 minutes , the first few birds arrived and started to gorge on the berries . It was quite windy and this seemed to be making the birds very flighty . Within the same 10 minutes , whilst photographing the Waxwings , a Common Buzzard drifted high overhead on that wind . It wasn't too long before all 25 birds that Allan had seen last night , were seen in adjacent trees . From here they made quick sorties to the Cotoneaster , before returning to their high perch to digest the berries , before returning the compost to the soil beneath . We watched and photographed for some time , before everything went quiet and there were no birds to be seen . We took the opportunity to sit back in the car and try to warm up as the temperature probably didn't rise above 3C. , but in the bitter wind , felt well bellow zero . With the birds not returning , we went looking for them , and eventually found most of the flock sitting high above some houses that were being built , with all the attendant noise of a building site , including delivery lorries which sometimes spooked them , but they settled back again , a bit further away . The attraction of the building site turned out to be Privet berries on the side of the lane leading to a few houses behind the site , and these too were avidly devoured . The flock did eventually disappear and this time we could not find them , but , when returning to the Cotoneaster , found fellow blogger Ken/Focusing on Wildlife , who had stopped to get some sightings/photographs , whilst out doing some errands . It was good to meet up with you and Pam again Ken .
That middle part of the day was probably the quietest part of the day , so we decided to give the Waxwings a rest and have a look around Brooklands Lake at New Hythe . I would like to post that we found several Bittern , but we didn't , just the car of Mr.Bittern , although that title is beginning to slip recently , Phil/Sharp by Nature , who I assumed would be well over the other side of the railway by the time we arrived . The wind was even colder at Brooklands lake , and with not a lot to see , apart from a flock of 50+ Siskins in the Alders in the N/NE corner of the lake , Some were coming down to wash and drink at the side , and one male posed for me , but once again a branch ruined the shot . Also around was a flock of 15/20 Goldfinches , some of which I got a shot of . A look at the river from the small wood felt like standing in Siberia , with the wind coming straight down the river , so we did a quick scan , and headed back towards the warmth of the car . Later we stopped at the small Alders Lake and found the male and immature Goldeneye , but wit anglers present , the pair kept well out of range .
By now , the skies were breaking up a bit , but the forecasted bright spells and blue skies did not happen . Heading back to the Cotoneaster area , we soon made contact with the flock again , and some of them , like this immature bird without it's yellow and red wing markings , came down to a low tree , I think of the Malus family , and feasted just a few metres in front of us . At one time 7/8 birds joined the juvenile to feast and for us to feast on the beauty of this winter visitor . Another feeding place was found along the road a bit in a front garden , where a Crab Apple had dropped all it's fruit on the grass below it , but the birds were much more wary when feeding on the apples , apart of course from another immature that just tucked in .
It was a very cold , but very pleasurable day , and I would like to thank Alan for letting us know that the flock were about . But , most of all , I would like to thank these little Scandinavian visitors for doing their best to keep us warm , chasing from one food source to another . As we were leaving , the Waxwings were getting ready to roost , and in a brief moment of evening sunshine , several sat enjoying the warmth it gave , whilst they trilled a goodbye to us .


Ken. said...

Hi Fred.
First of all it was good to meet up with you again, even if it was such a bitter cold morning.
Nice to see you finally got some good pics of the Waxwings.
Catch up with you again some time. Have a good weekend.

alan woodcock said...

Nice read and nice shots,pleased you both had a nice day.

Simon said...

Some really nice Waxwing photos Greenie, sounds like you had a great day! I like the shot of the Goldfinches too - was that photo taken with your big lense or a standard small lense?

Greenie said...

Simon ,
The Goldfinch shot was with the 100-400 . The flock was very flighty in the strong wind , and I couldn't get any closer before they flew .

Alan Pavey said...

Nice photos Greenie, I never tire of watching Waxwings. Although that biting wind must have made things a little uncomfortable!

Phil said...

Great stuff as usual Greenie, you must be pleased with the shots.
I think I saw you yesterday from a distance but didn't realise it was you. I was chatting to somebody on the south edge of Brookland lake when I noticed a large lens and two people heading back towards the mill late morning.
Have a good week!

Warren Baker said...

Fantastic Greenie!

Great Waxwing photo's, but I see you have caught my stick problem with the Siskin :-)