Category Archives: Burton Marshes

Catching up (January 2014)

I haven't posted any updates here for a couple of months, but I have been visiting Burton Marshes pretty much every week. During this time, two storm-surges have flooded the marshes, introducing new temporary lakes—much to the delight of the local wildfowl. I've also managed to get quite close to a pair of stonechats on a number of occasions, and taken some pretty nice photos.

Anyhow, without further commentary, here is a selection of photographs from Burton Marshes over the last couple of months (in chronological order):

Flock of teal, Burton Marshes.

Continue reading Catching up (January 2014)

Stonechat

A car makes a pretty good bird hide at times:

Stonechat.

More photos »

Jinx bird finally sighted!

I was back at RSPB Burton Mere on Tuesday afternoon. The weather was abysmal, but that didn't matter, because I FINALLY saw my jinx bird!

Ladies and gentlemen, after 48 years on this planet, I saw my first water rail:

Water rail.

That's not all. I also managed to get some fairly close-up shots of a little egret and some snipe:

Little egret.
Snipe.

On the whole, I took some pretty good photos—especially of the little egret.

View (lots) more photos »

Starlings and lapwings

Not to be outdone by the kestrel, the lapwings and starlings were also putting on a pretty decent display at Burton Marshes on Tuesday:

Starlings and lapwings.
Starlings.

Kestrel

I took another trip to Burton Marshes on Tuesday, and was rewarded with a prolonged hunting display from one of the local kestrels. The light conditions weren't ideal, but I managed to take some pretty nice photos (if I do say so myself):

Kestrel.

Continue reading Kestrel

Autumnal

It's all starting to feel a bit back-endish, as they say in these parts.

A post near Burton Marshes on Tuesday.

Hobby and kestrel

I paid a short visit to the RSPB's Burton Mere reserve on Tuesday afternoon. As I approached the main bird hide, a birder passing the other way informed me that a hobby was ‘displaying well’. I gathered this was a good thing, so I thanked him and carried on.

I hadn't seen so many people in the hide before. Every single one of them bore extremely expensive optical equipment in the form of binoculars, telescopes and telephoto lenses. I tucked my own horse-racing binoculars and bog-standard zoom lens discreetly under my arm, and sneaked my way in amongst the experts.

The chap who had tipped me off had been right about the hobby. It was putting on a magnificent show, gliding high, then plunging down, twisting and turning, snatching hapless dragonflies from the air, and eating them on the wing. Unfortunately, the light was appalling, and the hobby was a very long way away, so I couldn't take any decent photos.

Crow chasing a hobby.

The hobby continued hunting in this way for about half an hour. All the birders in the hide were extremely excited about it—as was I.

Once the hobby had left, a kestrel approached the hide, and I got some better photos. But, as I say, the light was appalling. I had to turn the ISO setting way up on my camera, then deliberately over-expose to get any sort of shot. I then had to crop and process them on my computer, tweaking up the contrast and removing a lot of the noise. Modern digital technology really is remarkable. I would never have been able to get photos like these with traditional film:

Kestrel.

More (closer) photos of the kestrel »