Monday 13 September 2010

Belvide Bonus

Waking up to sunshine streaming through the curtains is a rare thing lately, but Sunday promised to be fine, and gave me a dilemma. After seeing some fabulous shots by Carl Day (Malvern Birder) lately, I was really tempted to head to his neck of the woods (or should that be "hills"?) in search of the wheatears, redstarts and maybe whinchats he'd bagged lately. Thing is, the area is pretty big and being a Sunday, I'd expect it to be a dog walkers' paradise.

Hence I looked at the alternative, Belvide. With greenshanks, little stints and whinchats reported here, plus the usual suspects, it looked good. At least until I arrived, and saw the lake. Or should I say "puddle". I've never seen it so empty and suddenly the reports of the little stints being "right in front of the hides, on the shore" took on a new meaning. Walking to the farthest hide, I did see a hobby, though it vanished over the trees before I could react, and from the hide all I could see were birds on the other side of the lake. To make matters worse, it started to rain!

Once the shower died down, I decided to take a stroll towards the very western edge of the reserve, and thankfully my luck changed. Within a few yards I had spotted a couple of birds posing in the sunshine on the top of the hedgerow, and viewing through my bins showed them to be juvenile whinchats.

Creeping up on anything when carrying the lens and tripod isn't easy, so I took a few shots as I approached, though they soon took flight, maybe alarmed by the fool with the camera, or perhaps because they could sense the weather changing again. Yes, it poured down and with no shelter, I just stood and tutted at the situation. Alas the whinchats had made good their escape, and didn't return.

Walking back towards the eastern end of the reserve, I spotted a lone greenshank near the water's edge, and set up ready for some shots. Now I know there were some at Brandon Marsh this year, but for some reason I never managed to get over to photo them, and they've remained a bogey bird since. So this wasn't an opportunity I'd let slip.

Didn't have to wait long for the bird to head back towards me and I managed a few shots before it heard the camera, and moved over to a stretch of the shore further away.

I popped into most of the hides on the way back, seeing various tits and the tree sparrows from one, plus more views of a hobby being harrassed by a crow, and a peregrine which landed amongst the geese on the far shore. Must have been waving a white flag as almost nothing took note of it being there.

I didn't actually see the little stints in the end, though I did get distant views of a knot that had dropped in. Speaking of dropping in, I headed to the Flashes to end the day, hoping to see the ruff, but it had left. I did get to see a lone avocet visitor and took some shots of a green and common sandpiper that strayed close to the hide.


Max Silverman said...

Cracking shots of the Whinchats Pete.

Steve Seal said...

Stunning Grenshank mate!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Hi Pete,
Just found your blog, superb pics, will def visit again,