Saturday, October 27, 2012

Backyard tripping

Well, winter is offcially here. There were bits of snow and sleet last week when temperatures dipped below 0 deg C. Though it went back up to single digits later, it remained cold. I remained pessimistic about any potential of ticking off any wader at this time of year anywhere along the coast for now until next spring.

Naturally the attention turned to these little fleeting birds around the neighbourhood. Last fall the landlord decided to trim some of the trees around our house, completely chopped down many of them for his firewood pile. The few that he left behind were nice big trees, which provided plenty of food opportunities for the birds looking for insects and other morsels in the coming months. It also provided clearer unobstructed view for the stranded in the backyard bird photographer.

With some offering from the local supermarket, these little birdies need no invitation to party. The regulars are the Great Tit, Blue-Tit and lurking about the European Robin. The Blackbird is always there but don't think he's picking up any of the party pickings.

An odd visitor or two chirped in and out once in a while ie. Goldcrest, Brambling, unid Warbler and others, but I gather these will be less and more far between as winter progresses.

Here are some images from yesterday. I sat 6 feet away from the feeder in the open with a 400/5.6 in hand. Our big living room glass window provided the function of a reflector. The sun was shining to my left as I faced the feeder directly. And it was cold!

These birds are still very skittish, they get startled everytime the shutter went kaboosh! Hopefully in time they'd get used to the sound and would less agitated during feeding. They should just ignore the photographer and enjoy the food.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dunlin to nought at Revtangen

I was informed by a fellow wader fanatic that there might still be waders lurking around on the beaches of Jaeren this late in the season. He's located further north and has been posting rather to die for shots of Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Arctic Snipe and what not.

It didn't take much nudging to get me out of the door Saturday morning hours before sunrise, dragging the gear and kids along with me in single digit temperatures with high hopes of ticking a Purple Sandpiper. Against my own gut feeling of course as usual (maybe my smaller-used to be big gut wasn't as clairvoyant as it used to be). It was still capable as I was to find out (or it wasn't that small afterall)!

There were waves and waves of cormorant making a flyby from the north heading south, some makinga detour to Orrevatnet. There were flocks of passerines. They were many seagulls. There were several Common Eider feeding at their usual favorite patch by the rocks. THERE WAS NO WADERS! NOT A SINGLE ONE $%@&*! They've all left for warmer climes. Someone ticked an Arctic Snipe just two weeks ago, clearly I'm just way too late in the season.

Cormorants making a flyby, several waves passed by above us that morning.

Dejected at such poor showing and lack of good judgement on my part, I was very glad the kids were around. Together we spent the next 2 hours making little pagodas with glacier-wave-rounded rocks in the shade of the bluff braving windy conditions in absolutely single digit temperatures.

Still dejected when we got home, and decided to shift my attention to the birds that stick around ... our friendly neighbourhood fellas instead. At least the lenses had something to look at after the dissapointing show in the morning.


Chaffinch (female).



Great Tit.

Blue Tit

European Robin.

Great Tit waiting for it's turn at dinner.

The day didn't turn out so bad afterall, I may have just to wait till spring to see the Purple Sandpiper but fret not, these backyard fellas above will keep me occupied all winter long. I heard a Chinese Pheasant calling just this morning ... early!

PS/Wader photogs should date tag their pictures of seasonal migrating birds.