Add your "Odds & Sods" here thread


We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).
All creatures....

Add your "Odds & Sods" here thread

  • I'll put these here as a record

  • HAZY

    Morning W.E,   looks like you had a lovely day out at GPNR and well spotted with these three birds which are all rather special to see.    As you say the water levels are dropping fast and its a worry with no rain for weeks but at least it drove the snipe closer for you to see which was a nice bonus.   Hopefully we will get some much needed rainfall before we are all on water restrictions, never seen the grass so brown.  

    Thanks Hazel! You're right about the grass being so brown, whilst walking to the local stores, I have noticed the grass by the roadside being so crunchy and lifeless. I think It will do some good for everything to have some rain.  

    @ Alan, nice shots of the Green Woodpecker, I have yet to see one.

    I went back to GPNR this morning and managed a few more shots of the Snipe and Reed Warblers which are better than yesterday's as there are little haze from the heat. I am still struggling to make my current camera and lens combo work, usually I have better luck in brighter weather conditions but I feel that overcast days are a real struggle and it's a shame because I prefer the lighting conditions. 

    There were about 3-4 Snipes hanging around today. I also got a quick glimpse of a Water Rail too which was actually unexpected even though they are known to be on the reserve. Unfortunately no photos of it.


    I am loving the Reed Warblers. They are so fun to watch as they fly from reed to reed and hopping down to grab insects of the surface and fly catching above the water like a Wagtail.

    One of two Little Grebes, always a welcomed sighting for me along with GCB and other Grebe species, although I have yet to have seen them, hopefully someday I'll tick them off the list.

    Oh, I was lucky enough to also see a brief view of an otter just before it entered the reeds, which was spotted by another birder as he noted that the gulls and terns were flying around the surface of the lake trying to swoop down at a moving object leaving behind a trail of ripples. It was a first time that I have seen an otter at this reserve.



  • A few shots of the Buzzard from yesterday when three were in the air;  two adults and one juvenile being put through some lessons.

    I only had the 300mm attached and they were getting higher up in the sky as I took the shots so these are hard cropped. 

    This was the juvenile which I put up on "young of 2018" thread 

    then next is one of the adults;    I couldn't get three in frame 

  • Those are very good to say they were taken from the garden Hazel.

  • I can hear them again Jim as I'm sitting outside with the laptop but they must be quite distant as their mewing is quite faint;  always a pity as our corvids tend to chase them away when they come within range of the camera.  

  • Shame the corvids chase them away but then again they don't want a bird like that hanging around the place.

  • I find that my Heath Robinson bird feeder is helping to keep Blackbirds alive this summer. The soil in our garden is rock solid, while any sensible worm is deep underground. The Blackbirds are often seen thus, consuming lots of seeds. I haven't seen them pull a worm for sometime, and they rarely forage in the mess of dead leaves in my borders.

    During a normal summer, the grass around the bird feeder is lush and verdant, due to all the bird droppings. There is also a ring of flattened grass around the bird feeder due to all the birds, particularly Wood pigeons stomping on it. This year, the grass is getting pretty dead. The only reason it isn't completely dead is because it gets lots of shade.

    The upside is I haven't taken lawnmower to grass since early June; or was it late May?

    We have lefty Nuthatches and righty Nuthatches. The two families live in two small coppices to the left and right of our house, quite some distance away. They squabble if both visit the bird feeder at the same time. Nuthatches are pretty vicious. The other birds know to leave them well alone.

    This is the righty Nuthatch.

    The various Tit fledgling have been introduced to my bird feeder by their parents. It was interesting watching how they figured out how to approach and land on the bird feeder. It did take them some time to figure.

    The Robins also appear to have had a good year. The do tend to defend the bird feeder, with many a squabble with the other small birds.

  • These photos were taken on one frosty morning in early May. Although our weather has be barmier that usual, a frost in May (as many a gardener knows to their cost) is not too unusual.

    All photos taken with my bridge camera. Hence a bit fuzzy, especially due to the early morning light conditions and mist.

    There were two Greylag geese (hope I've identified them correctly) on 'lower lake' on the nascent Fleet Hill farm reserve. I saw them quite a few times over the following weeks.

    This Great Crested Grebe was on its lonesome in said lake. In all the months I saw it on the lake, it was always on its own. It got quite used to people, due to them walking their dogs or riding their horses along the bridle path, newly created by Cemex, that bordered the lake.

    The resident Little Grebe remained steadfastly wary of humans.

    Hopping over the Longwater road to the nascent Manor farm reserve, I was dead surprised to see so many Egyptian geese. Normally I saw a maximum of three. On this particular day there were at least a dozen or more.

    This photo gives an idea of how much water was pumped out of Finch pond to aid restoration efforts. Water levels are even lower as said pump is still chugging away.

    The shoreline in the upper half of this photo marks where the bulldozer had got to in May. The original shoreline is about 40 yards away in the direction of the tree line. The treeline marks the course of the river Blackwater and footpath. There is about 40 yards of scrubby grass between it and the original shore of Finch pond.

    This new shoreline has been further extended into Finch pond since this photo was taken.

    I'm not entirely sure where in Finch pond these Egyptian geese are. However, I suspect that the area has been filled in and is now dry land well clear of the water. There are large flotillas of Tufted duck. Strangely they form two groups, swimming round the lakes like two armadas, never quite merging, but never far away from each other.

    They flew over to join their pals sunning themselves on the west shore of Finch pond

  • Love those misty shots Angus, especially the one of the 5 Egyptian geese, very atmospheric.    Water levels everywhere are drastically reducing due to lack of rainfall and expecting water restriction to come in any day.

    Here's a few pics from my garden yesterday and day before ….    staring with a Peacock butterfly that was spending a lot of time on the damp waterfall rocks

    a trusting female blackbird who looks pleadingly towards me for some live mealworms ! 

    of course I duly obliged …..

    small white  ?

    bumblebee -  buff-tailed ? 

    Green-veined white on the Erysimum 

    Flesh fly ?  on the lily pad 

    G.S. Woodpecker (m)  

    female blackbird doing a lovely wing and tail stretch drying off after a bathing session 

    Earl the crow strutting his stuff 

  • Not yet half way through July, yet I find a whole load of ripe Blackberries along the Blackwater! It was a reasonable sized patch as well. I was surprised. The odd early vine maybe, but a whole section of the Blackwater?  Bodes well for animal life, provided this hot weather that caused the early ripening allows some rain in.

    Decisions, decisions, do I go Blackberry picking this Saturday?  It's is 'supposed' to rain tomorrow, with the odd bit of thunder and lightning. Perhaps I should leave it until next week for more of the Blackberries to ripen.

    I made Blackberry jam three weeks ago from what we had frozen from last year's glut. That's 12 jars last autumn, and 8 jars three weeks ago. With a further six jars of Black current jam from our sole Black current bush. I managed to harvest them this year before the birds got them.

  • Willow Warbler. I suspect a youngster due to the colouring and hint of a yellow gape. It’s not been slow in learning to hunt though.!!

  • Return of a rare visitor to our garden today - a pretty collared dove

  • I popped over to Manor farm, yesterday lunchtime, for my mid-week look see on progress. A lot has been done. On my way back to my car I was treated to a short, sedate flying display. However, before yesterday's display, here's one from last September.

    These Lapwing would often fly about like this. I snapped these over Manor farm, near the pump station, as they wheeled overhead for some minutes. They're all busily breeding now. I hear them every time I pop down. They should start congregating again quite soon.

    I still get excited when I see them.

    Now a different sort of flying creature. These fellas fly over my house occasionally. I snapped these when I was standing quite close to the Longwater road sewage works.

    They were very sedate. The Lapwings flew faster than them. Like the Lapwing, they wheeled over Manor farm for several minutes (actually over the pump station), executing three circles and then flew off east very serenely.

    My WWI aircraft recognition is even dodgier than my bird recognition. There were two Fokker Triplane (easy as its got three wings), and possibly an SE5. Cropping out the aircraft.

    You occasionally see a DC3, with D-Day markings, making its way to some airshow or other. Very occasionally, the odd Spitfire or P-51 will zoom over.

  • Record shots from 04:50

  • Great to see pics of  the Barn Owl Alan,   how lovely it must be to have these on your local patch.

    All I can offer you are more Jays from my local patch  -  the garden   !       one chasing its sibling off 

    then trying the same with a young Jackdaw which unfortunately has a badly injured leg/foot  which it can't really use and there appears to be a wound/infection at the top of the leg that I've noticed in other pics,  possibly from being attacked by another bird  :(     I try ensure it has easy food although it can fly ok despite the awkward one leg landings, bless it       It is being also fed by one of the parents but long term prognosis doesn't look good for poor young Jackdaw.   

    and I think one of the young Magpies showing its beautiful plumage