Sunday 15 February 2009

Local Patch - Warwickshire

Sitting in The Old Schoolhouse at Smethwick Photographic Society, I am totally surrounded by photographs today. The Midphot exhibition is being unpacked around my ears and I have just sat through over 250 prints and soon to be starting on more than 500 digital images of the RPS Nature Group Exhibition judging. Has been great to see some fantastic work in there.

Anyway, on to the main theme of the day, my fortnightly local patch update.

The cold weather with sharp frosts and snow has provided some challenging conditions for our local wildlife. The garden birds have cleared us out of a sack of sunflower hearts and another one of mixed seeds since I last wrote. We have regularly seen up to 30 Blackbirds and even more House Sparrows on a daily basis. Grey Wagtail is still regular, and staying for lengthy periods now. We had the occasional visit from Fieldfare and Redwings during the harshest conditions which was a pleasant interlude. Song Thrush is now a regular morning caller for us too. I am always happy to be woken by it's song.

On a rarer front, we were thrilled to see a Male Reed Bunting on the ground feeder. We had only previously seen this just the once, the image was take last year on a feeder, through glass, so just a mere record shot.

Sue rang me up this last week to tell me that we had also had a beautiful female Kestrel in for a while too, on the ground and posts, much to the consternation of the little birds who dived into the air raid shelters to hide.

Further afield, there have been regular Diver sightings at Draycote Water and Bittern at Brandon Marsh. Details can be found from BirdGuides.

Journeys to work these last two weeks have seen more very early sightings of a number of raptors as they have struggled to find additional food in the snow, including very early Buzzard, Kestrel and Barn Owl, and a few sightings of Tawny Owl too.

Right I had better get back to work here now


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