As a tribute to those mesmerising little goldcrests that keep cropping up in this blog but also as a reflection of some amazing recent birding. It didn't all go right but as well as the crests [both feature] there are some exceptional goodies. The new camera and lens have started to amaze me - especially the capabilities of the camera at 1000 ISO whilst not becoming too grainy: the 1D couldn't produce images like some of these that were taken in challenging lighting conditions.
Let us begin... October 12th at Bempton then Old Fall and then Thornwick Pool. Bempton first. Pity the branch got in front of the bird. These were taken whilst I waited for the red-breasted flycatcher to reappear. If birds could get Oscars I'd give this one an award! At Old Fall I looked for a great grey shrike but it had scarpered. A few yellowhammers were in the hedge. At Thornwick all was fairly quiet. One cormorant, one snipe and one dunlin [plus a few ducks and moorhens].
Snipe and drinking straw!
Outside the hide a kestrel came literally overhead.
October 13th reminds me of a day Barry and I went to Covenham Reservoir in Lincolnshire and saw a phalarope but the day was memorable for us getting unbelievably soaked - although we then moved to Spurn and had a wonderful day. Well, this October morning I stood in a strong wind with my back to aggressive rain watching very brief views of a paddyfield warbler [lifer 427]. I gave up trying for a photo and headed back to Bempton for a chiffchaff and brambling extravaganza [plus a couple of goldcrests of course!]. I'll start with the chiffchaffs - several different birds feature.
# A redwing posed briefly - not a bird I find easy to get good photos of. They seem pretty wary having just arrived.
Bramblings showed well at the feeder station and nearby. Here's a selection of views - again taken in poor light... ...and some goldcrests again!
I went back to have another look for the paddyfield warbler. Saw it perched ever so briefly and could only manage this 'almost' shot. It's in focus!! I met Mark Killeen in the morning as I was departing for Bempton. For proper, decent photos of the paddyfield look at his images on Rare Bird Alert.
October 14th was very special. I joined a couple of thousand birders at 7.30am to see the siberian accentor [lifer 428] at Easington. The whole experience was mad! Parking, crowds of excited birders. People I knew from many other twitches...including people who never, ever twitch! I went to Sammy's Point and saw a few ring ouzels... ...but a report of a confiding shore lark drew me back to the Blue Bell car park. A firecrest was to be released at Church Field. Watch the world's shortest video!
A short while later a dusky warbler was also shown to the crowds. I moved to Canal Scrape to recover from the adrenalin rushes of the morning. Jack was there.
I'll finish this blog with a photo of a bird whose amazing plumage is sometimes overlooked. Gadwall in his finery.