Sunday 24 June 2012

Sutton Peregrines 2012 - New pictures.

I went just after 6 a.m. on Saturday to keep watch over the young ones and take more photos. I saw both adults and 3 chicks, but I am pleased to report that all 5 chicks were seen on Friday evening. Great news! Mum was very active again, showing the young ones how it's done. Dad sat on his ledge for over 2 hours and did nothing! Neither parent brought in any food in the 3 hours I was there.

Two of the chicks flew while I watched. The third sat and peeked over the parapet. Here are some photos of the birds in flight.

The adult female
The chicks flying in formation!
A chick. Note the differences in plumage from the adults.
Flying Red Arrow style!
The chicks at aerial play above Quadrant House.

Friday 22 June 2012

Sutton Peregrines 2012. Learning to fly.

The Sutton peregrines raised 4 chicks last year and 5 chicks this year. That must be almost a record!

Sadly, it's becoming doubtful whether all 5 have survived. Recently, only 3 chicks have been seen at the same time. On Thursday I went down for a couple of hours in the evening to keep watch. At least one of the young ones was flying regularly. The mum and dad flew to the nearby building and called to the chicks to join them. The mum was quite active in encouraging them. At one point she tempted them by hovering over them with the remains of what looked like a pigeon. In fact, it wasn't a very appetising morsel; just a scrap of flesh with a pair of wings attached! No wonder they weren't interested!

Mum was very demonstrative in teaching the one who was flying. She showed him the way and he struggled to keep up, flying with legs all over the place!

Here are a few photos.

Mum landing on the corner of Quadrant House
Wait for meeee!
Mum (or this could be dad) with ungainly chick following.
Mum takes chick into a dizzying dive!

Saturday 16 June 2012

Black-winged stilt and little bittern

I've given up traditional twitching in favour of foreign trips but I have added 3 British ticks to my list in as many weeks. The first was the marsh warbler at Rainham. No photo I'm afraid as it only showed for a few seconds at a time while it flitted from bush to bush!

While at Chichester a couple of weeks ago I went to see the black-winged stilts at Pennington Marshes as it wasn't too far away. I hadn't been there before but I found it by chance on the first attempt. It was a drab and dreary morning but the stilts were on a pond only a couple of hundred metres from where I parked. There seemed to be an adult and a juvenile.  Here they are:
Black-winged stilt.
Blackk-winged stilt with a redshank.
Today, I decided to go for the little bittern which has been at Rickmansworth all week. I picked Alex up near his house and we headed round the M25 to the Aquadrome LNR. Unfortunately, we took the long way round, not knowing where the bird was. Eventually we got there and the little bittern was keeping a very low profile out of the wind! The sun went in and it started to rain. After about half an hour, the bittern came out of hiding and skulked behind some vegetation. Then it came right into the open for about 30 seconds enabling me take a few photos and a short video before it disappeared back into the undergrowth.

Little bittern, Rickmansworth.

Friday 8 June 2012

Istanbul weekend May 2012

We spent a long weekend in Istanbul over 3-7 May. I decided to travel light and took only my Canon compact zoom camera (SX30). A big mistake! The city was live and bustling. Mosques all over the place. Hotel was good, food too. We visited the Blue Mosque, the Bazaar, the Spice market, the undergroud cistern, Topkapi Palace, went on a round city bus tour, had a meal in a restaurant where the floor show included whirling dirvishes and a belly dancer, did a cruise on the Bosphorus, had coffee in various cafes and generally chilled out.

The birds were not terribly evident in the city. There were grey herons nesting in the trees of the local park, all the doves were laughing, all the gulls were yellow-legged, all the crows were hooded and all the parakeets were Alexandrian. The trip on the Bosphorus was interesting for the large flocks of Yelkuan shearwater that made their way up towards the Black Sea. The photos were mainly taken with my daughter, Louise's, Canon 1000D with a small 15x zoom lens as my Canon SX30 turned out to be almost useless for any sort of action shot as the screen blanks out for about a second after every shot before coming back on. Following any sort of action was impossible. Should have taken my 7D!

Lynne, me and Louise on the terrace of the Topkapi Palace.
Louise outside the Blue Mosque
Yelkuan shearwaters heading up the Bosphorus
Alexandrian parakeet
Laughing dove