Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bit of a Wizard...

Went over to my local birding patch this morning near Sheringham. The weather was a bit grey but there was little wind. A brief seawatch from the cliff top produced:
Red throated Diver 60E
Fulmar 3
Wigeon 3W
Common Scoter 21 W
Lesser black backed Gull 4
Guillimot 3
One of the latter was in full breeding plumage

Also a male Stonechat had obviously just come off roost along one of the hedgerows, initially preening then a couple of display flights, he gradually became bolder and bolder!

Male Stonechat

As I came away, chuffed with my Stonechat shots, I looked back and saw a split second image of a falcon stooping out of sight. Using a bit of field craft (sneaking!) I worked my way back to see this fabulous Merlin in a dead tree as it began to preen.


I slowly moved forward, stopping every few yards to rattle off a couple more shots...

I think this is a second calender year bird (born last spring) because of the ochre coloured blobs on a couple of the scapulars (feathers on the back) and the heavily barred tail. It is quite difficult to sex merlins at this age, in this shot it appears much greyer than the bird actually seemed.
These dead trees must be a Merlin's equivilent of a penthouse because I took the picture below of a male, just before Christmas, in the next tree along!

Adult male Merlin

Back at home this afternoon had a walk along the village pond and fished out three plastic bottles, two crisp packets a tin can and a sofa cushion! I still can't understand why people seem to go out of their way to spoil the very enviroment they are living in- wierd!
Planted some holly trees along the back fence and found another Angle Shades caterpillar, but I left this one to fend for itself. The Great spotted Woodpeckers are drumming- spring is around the corner!

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