Back to Beds

Before I tell  about my trip to Bedfordshire I must tell you about a fabulous visitor that came right into our garden. Ian spotted it first, high in the trees a small warbler, could it be what we were both sure it was, a Yellow-browed warbler? I grabbed my binoculars (I wish I had reached for the camera instead)  to take a closer look before it flew from sight never to be seen again. We checked in Collins and yes we were convinced it was indeed a Yellow-browed warbler. There have been lots up on the coast but it was a real surprise to have one come to visit us!

The next few days were spent watching men work!

They had almost finished when we left yesterday so hopefully by now it is all done then we just need the scaffolding to go.

We were off to spend a few days at Roo and Stu’s and the visit began with a lovely meal out at a new Italian that had opened near to them. Yummy it was and we didn’t even have to do the washing up, thank you R & S. The reason for this visit is to take care of their pets whilst they go to Euro Disney to run a half marathon, I think we got the best side of the deal!

Off they went early this morning and after feeding the pets and walking Sprocket it was time to venture out. We had a lovely walk at The Lodge, the head-quarters of the R S P B. It is a lovely place and we had a really good time although birds were in short supply. We did watch a pair of Nuthatches as they flew in to the feeders.

An opportunist squirrel was enjoying the feeding area too!

We walked around parts of The Lodge we had never seen before and may well return another day. We are now well into the ninth month and we still haven’t seen a Little owl, we did see a Large owl today, do you think we could count that instead? He is sculpted from one very large piece of wood by Patrick Brown.img_0240

We visited the formal gardens and large pool in it and did see some dragonflies but no new ones. We also saw some rather large fish that kept coming p to the surface and even popping their heads out! I rather liked he topiary Avocet.

On our walk we spotted a few insects, although not as many as I expected on a beautifully sunny day. This really vibrant Long-winged Conehead (I had thought it was a grasshopper but thank you James for the ID ) and a Scorpion fly were a couple that allowed me to photograph them.

We didn’t see a lot of butterflies but there were quite a few Small coppers and this Small white.

We certainly enjoyed our walk but the time had come to return to Sprocket for a late lunch!

Through rain and sleet

We just managed a short trip to the arboretum on Tuesday and didn’t add any birds but did get our first squirrel of the year!

Wednesday, yesterday, was dry and we decided to go back to Sculthorpe and try to get pictures of some of the woodland birds. It was good to get Brambling although feeder pictures are not my favourite but it was all I could get.

Whilst sitting in a hide I very foolishly dropped my camera’s lens hood out of the window as it was a good eight foot drop I couldn’t retrieve it. Thankfully later on we met a volunteer, Peter, and he waded through the mud and got it back for me, thank you!

We say a lovely group of long tailed tits but only managed a couple of shots, they were followed closely by a beautiful Nuthatch.

 

We tried and failed again to see the Pallid harrier and have decided to try to get out early one morning and see if we can catch it that way. We did add Stoke dove whilst looking for the harrier. We finished our day off with some shopping mainly hunting new wellie boots but I happened upon a bargain waterproof which I am chuffed with.

Today has been very cold and we have even had snow so we decided to stay home for a change! We were just thinking about lunch when we got a message about a Great grey shrike, it didn’t take us long to decide to go for it (and try out my new jacket). We arrived and met someone that had seen it and pointed to some very distant shrubs that it had been seen in but of course no sign of it then. We were just discussing if there was a nearer place to view from when a local bird watcher came by and advised us of where we could walk to. So off we went in fairly heavy rain ┬áto where we decided to wait and watch. I tried to clean the rain off my glasses but sadly one of the lenses fell out, just then the rain changed to heavy sleet, excellent conditions! But yes at that moment a bird flew into the shrub and it was the shrike, hooray!

With sleet and wind and distance it was not contusive to pictures so I think you will understand why these are far from good, but it is a lovely bird and we were delighted to see it.

It was a Shrike (a red backed one) that got me into birding and have become quite a favourite for me. The bird didn’t stay long and neither did we, back home and hoping for a drier day tomorrow.