Sunday, 22 July 2012

Red-veined Darters, Kelling Water Meadows

At last! A weekend out of the office, and a sunny one what’s more! A last-minute change of plan took Suzanne and me up to see my parents in Norfolk, where I thoroughly enjoyed plenty of time bimbling about in the sunshine (and catching up on some much-needed sleep!).

Bird highlights were a pair of Turtle Doves (alarmingly rare these days), a moulting adult Curlew Sand, and a grand total of 15 Spoonbills – the latter asleep, of course.

But trumping all of those were some cracking views of several Red-veined Darters along the track at the north end of Kelling Water Meadows. We found our first one immediately on arrival, and then had no problem getting repeat views regularly - probably ended up having seen four or five individuals, including a pair in cop. The macro lens made its first appearance of the year (!) and I managed my best shots yet of this increasingly regular vagrant.




Wednesday, 4 July 2012

An Alpine bonus

Never let it be said that I leave a birding opportunity missed!

Last weekend Suzanne and I had the pleasure of a trip to Munich to celebrate Florian (a fellow Girton mathmo) and Julia’s wedding on the Saturday. It was a fantastic day – so many, many thanks for the invite and wonderful Bavarian hospitality. I hope to post some photos in due course, but there are quite a few to dig through, on two cameras.

But what of this birding opportunity? Well, after a superb breakfast and saying our goodbyes the next morning, we had a fair few hours spare to drive down to the Alps. Specifically, we headed for the Eibsee near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, just north of the Austrian border – less than 90 minutes from Munich. On arrival, there was a disappointingly large number of tourists milling about, but we headed out for a walk into the forest and as usual it didn’t take long to escape the crowds.

And then this guy appeared right in front of us!


Happy days: a World and Western Pal tick! I can’t claim that this was a complete surprise, having done my research beforehand – but at this time of year, finding woodpeckers is never easy (just ask Suzanne about a 3-day marathon for Norwegian White-backed a few summers ago…) and I hadn’t got particularly high hopes, so it was a pretty good result. (If anyone is reading this and looking for further details: this bird was around the furthest point NE on the red circular loop shown on the Eibsee map on the above link).