Otter Cubs - Isle of Mull 2011

Otter Cubs - Isle of Mull 2011

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Saturday 27th March - Connahs Quay Nature Reserve

I have recently become a member of the Deeside Naturalist Society. This was a good move as the nature reserve is superb, right up close to the estuary.There are 5 hides, all of which are of superb quality with great views out over the estuary.There is also a visitors studies centre. A key is required to enter the site and you must sign in and out. The tide was coming in on my arrival and boy does it come in fast. I went in the west hide first to check it out and it is superb,I could just about fit my 100-400mm Canon lens through the hide window, so photographing things in flight was quite difficult, if it was right in front of you, you were okay.
I then went on the the other 3 hides towards the E-on plant. There were six Little Egrets in the distance, so I waited there for 2 hours to see if they wanted to venture over towards the hide I was sat in, and my luck was in , they did.

A series of Little Egrets - All taken with a Canon 100-400mm lens and a 2x Converter using manual focus, all at the 800mm end.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunday 21st March - Marina on the Wirral

I went to Burton first to see the Short Eared Owl. I arrived at Burton at 10.00am and hung around there for a couple of hours.I didn't see any ring tails today though, neither did I see the Shorty. But the Kestrel put in an appearance. I then went on to Parkgate, parked up and had some lunch. I stayed there for about an hour. From there I then drove to the Marina and walked half way around and came back. As I got back to the front where the rocks are, there were some Knot sat on the rocks. see below.


Though the weather was very good today, for some reason, it was not one of my most productive of days. I got back to Burton for 4.30pm and stayed there until it clouded over and started to rain.No shorty either, so set off back home.

Until next time.

Cheers Al.

Saturday 20th March - Moore Nature Reserve

I decided to go somewhere local, as the weather was horrible, Raining as predicted. Moore Nature Reserve is only a 30 minute drive from my house, so I thought, lets chance it, you never know, it might stop raining. And it bloody well did. I arrived there at 12.30pm just to see the elusive Bittern, but 3 hours later it never showed.
During that period of staring at the reed beds shown below and being convinced that the reeds themselves were morphing into Bittern's, I did photograph other things.

Reed Bed

The Hide with no roof

This hide has no roof, so anyone wanting to go to this hide , please note, if it starts to rain, you are going to get wet.

Looking out of the hide, something jet black caught my eye. I turned round to see it disappear over the ridge of the grass mound that the hide is built on. It came into view further down and to my astonishment, there it was, only a Mink. see images below. Due to the weather conditions,excuses again, they are not the best of shots, but you can clearly see, it's a Mink. It ran along the waters edge all the way along to the reed bed on the opposite side to where the Bittern is usually seen, and disappeared out of view. Brilliant.

A series of Mink Shots

The local friendly Robin showed up again,a Mute Swan and a Grey Heron put in an appearance.

Not a bad day after all, speak to you next time.

cheers Al.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Sunday 14th March - Flint - Dee Estuary

Sunday was a day I decided to go on the other side of the Estuary, to Flint in this case.I wanted to see what could be seen and photographed from Flint Castle, as I have read about quite a few bird sighting reports from there. I walked along the Estuary to the end of the path, past the rugby pitch on the right, when there was this Little Egret in the field quite close. After 10 minutes or so, it decided to fly off over the marsh, most probably to get away from me and my camera.

Little Egret

I stayed there for a couple of hours, but there was nothing up real close to photograph again, as they were all way out in the distance. Great with the scope not the camera.

I managed to get a Red Shank flying some distance away.

Red Shank

I didn't manage to take many photographs in the couple of hours I was there, as I was really there to visit my better half's parents who live in Ffynnongroew.

I scanned the other side of the estuary with my camera and noticed Burton, so took a pic of it from Flint Castle.You can clearly see the field where the Short Eared Owl quarters, but not the Owl, my lens ain't big enough.I don't know what the white flock of birds are in the other image.

ta ra until next time.

Cheers Al.

Saturday 13th March - Burton - Dee Estuary

I set off from Home approx 5.50am with the stars shining bright above my head. Half way to Burton the stars started to disappear. This was most probably the nasty grey cloud that was to be present for the remainder of the day, not impressed. I arrived at Burton at 6.35am and parked up on the side of the road. Camera poised, at the field with the two boxes in, for 45 minutes.Then, from the marsh, came the Short Eared Owl, gliding in without a wing beat across the road towards the field. It flew around the field looking for it's next meal for the next 10 minutes.

Short Eared Owl

Short Eared Owl

Short Eared Owl

The owl decided to land, as shown here, for the next 50 minutes, slowly moving to wards the long grass. It then took off out of site, not to be seen again until later that afternoon.

The above photo's are not the best due to the very poor light conditions. My camera was set to ISO 800 and the shutter speed for the above owls were approx 1/100 of a sec. not the best for birds in flight or noise on a digital camera.

A short while after the owl went away, A Stoat appeared out of the long grass, approx 30 feet way, and had a quick look round before it spotted me and ran back below the grass.


After sitting there for another 2 hours with no show. I decided to walk towards Decca pools to see if the owls spotted there last week would be around. But I never saw them. A Mallard, 3 Greylag geese, Common Kestrel and 2 Curlew flew over head.



Common Kestrel


I stayed at Burton all day waiting for the Short Eared Owl to show again and it wasn't until 5.00pm that it appeared again, as if out of the blue or grey in this case.Again, no light and again slow shutter speeds, but you have to deal with what the weather throws at you. Another day with the right conditions will happen some time in the future, I'm sure. Below are a few taken out of a series of some 50 shots. It's these or nothing. The sun did put it's hat on for about 15 minutes early in the morning, that's when I took the Mallard, Curlew and Greylag Geese.

Short Eared Owl

Besides all the above, I saw the Hen Harrier, Peregrine and all the other usual stuff, no rarities that I saw with the scope.