Saturday 15 November 2014

15 Nov 2914 - Tree climbing badger...

I'd have expected some scent marking from a badger, which would result in other males having a good wiff - but this chap (or chap-ess) seems to be really going for it. Is there another explanation?
Tree climbing badger

Thursday 13 November 2014

13 Nov 2013 - camera trap results

2nd set of results from camera trap revealed Badgers, Fox, Grey Squirrel and Blackbirds - how come Simon King always comes up trumps with a flippin Tiger or some previously unknown species of rodent-marsupial-bat?

Of the 10+ badger pictures I got, this is the only one head on - but I do have an extensive photographic collection of Badgers' arses!

Fox again
and again...
And a badger

Monday 10 November 2014

10 Nov 2014 - Camera trap

Tried out Adrian Harris' camera trap over the past two evenings near a badger set. First night (Saturday) was wet and the camera set too high - the result was two pictures of grey squirrels investigating the badger sets.

Grey Squirrel - well, a bit of one
Following a repositioning of the trap - lower and pointing down an animal track - bingo! A nice badger trying to show us his best side.

The system needs a little further refinement, but I think there's a start of something interesting.

Sunday 9 November 2014

9 Nov 2014 - Reculver Towers, Kent

Popped up to north Kent this afternoon to pay homage to the male Desert Wheatear.

A later than hoped-for arrival (me, not the bird) helped 'warm' our quarry in the fading light. Still, the Wheatear was ultra-confiding for the first two minutes of my stay - then it moved from its favoured rock and never returned!

A Black Redstart with newly replaced tertials on the right wing was an interesting start to the visit.

Black Redstart with asymetric moult in the tertials
Desert Wheatear
Desert Wheatear

Sunday 2 November 2014

1 Nov 2014 - Brotton, Cleveland

On 23 October 2009, I was on a pelagic off the Queensland coast of Australia, enjoying a few shearwaters, turtles and Humpback Whales - little did I know that back home my fellow crew were enjoying a First for Great Britain & Ireland in the form of an Eastern-crowned Warbler. The comments from Adam Whitehouse, on my blog post for that day (see here), were amusing at the time and even more amusing today.

That six month trip to Australia and New Zealand, cost me Sandhill Crane and Eastern-crowned Warbler - though I only live and work 20 minutes from the Tufted Puffin, I'm (nearly) certain I wouldn't have got to it in time... I unblocked the Sandhill Crane on 23 Sept 2011 in Aberdeenshire, but still the Warbler niggled me...

Fast forward to Thursday and news broke of an Eastern-crowned Warbler at Brotton, Cleveland - I wanted to see it, but... The 'But' was that it had been Max's 6th birthday on the 29 Oct - and we'd arranged for a woodland camping party for him on 31st - so no Thursday night travelling. With further family events planned for the weekend and a busy few days at work, I wasn't going to be able to travel north - until one very sickly sounding sister phoned to apologise, most profusely, that she'd have to cancel her visit - bloody marvellous!! Ten minutes later and I was on the M20 and on my way.

The drive to Cleveland was thankfully uneventful, but with clear skies I must admit I was feeling less than positive about my chances... Dossing in the car, I was on site and up at first light, trying to get the gen and working out where best to stand. Two groups formed - I positioned myself between them. I saw some movement in the further group so decided to head that way. Sure enough, they'd got the bird - sat there quietly in a Sycamore, snapping at the occasional insect. Clean white underparts, no tertial markings, single wingbar, pale underside to the lower mandible, it then tilted its head forward to reveal a central crown stripe. Nice! Job done.

Given such excellent first views, I kicked myself for not even thinking about the camera on my shoulder - but possibly that's the best way to do things. When later I did try and fire a shot, I realised that there was a fault somewhere with my camera. Particular thanks then to Tony Dixon for allowing me to reproduce his excellent images of today's gem - though quite how he manages to achieve such images by digi-binning, I have no idea!

Eastern-crowned Warbler, copyright Tony Dixon
Eastern-crowned Warbler, copyright Tony Dixon
Eastern-crowned Warbler, copyright Tony Dixon
What next? Tufted Puffin?