Wednesday 16 February 2011

More from Champagne

Still stupidly busy at work right now, but here’s a few more photos – need to get these posted before heading off again! First, some birds…


Great White Egrets were relatively abundant – we saw 50+ at one point on Lac du Der, and flocks of over 200 have been noted in the last couple of years. Coming soon to marshes in southern England?


Middle-spotted Woodpecker – none showed well enough for good photos, but several gave excellent scope views.


The local Buzzards were quite freaky – most birds were VERY pale, with distinctly gingery colouration (at times recalling Long-legged Buzzard). Some had almost no carpal patch on the underwing, and several had a large white base to the tail – beware any claims of Rough-legged Buzzard… One also had large white panels on the upperwing, rather like pale phase Booted Eagle!


The woodland around Lac du Der and in Foret d’Orient held all of western Europe’s tit species – it was fantastic to see plenty of Willow Tits (shown above), and hear both these and Marsh Tit in song. Crested Tit was also pretty common, in mixed woodland, rather than the exclusively Scots Pine forest where I’m used to seeing them.


And now, a little scenery…

eglise de champaubertlacd'orientlacd'orient2

And finally a mammal challenge: what’s this? I’m actually not sure – choice of two species, despite the name of the image file!


Saturday 12 February 2011

Shoveler Studies

A few pics from the brief period of sunshine this afternoon, while I was visiting the centre of the birding universe (also known as Wanstead). I’ve usually found Shoveler to be quite wary, but this smart drake was more interested in preening than worrying about me.


I also nearly bumped into a particularly tame fox, but am still kicking myself for not having the camera on sensible settings! This is what happens when you handhold a 400mm lens with a shutter speed of 1/50 – not recommended for capturing sharp detail…


And then, after the sunshine, the weather reminded us that it’s still the boss with an impressive (at times painful) hailstorm!


Friday 11 February 2011

And now for something completely different…

Suzanne and I have just been cracking up at a bit of clever musical comedy… so if you have a few minutes, check these tracks out. I reckon you will be laughing out loud!

So, as you’ve never seen them before:

Normal service (ie some more photos from France) will reappear shortly…

Monday 7 February 2011

Cranes in Champagne

Jono, Howard and I have just got back from an excellent long weekend ‘en France’, birding around the forests and lakes of Champagne. A full trip report and more photos will certainly follow in the next few days, but in the interim, here are some shots of one of the main target species: les Grues!