October 2006

The last weekend in October: first stop was Sand Point to see the yellow-browed warbler. The bird was calling frequently at times, and eventually showed quite well at the top of some beech trees.

yellow-browed warbler

At Weston sewage works we saw 2 ravens and a juvenile-first winter Mediterranean gull. Blagdon Lake held 3 yellow-legged gulls (2 adults and a second winter). At Chew we saw the first winter male ferruginous duck in the channel N of Herriot's bridge again, and also saw a black tern, a female goldeneye, 1-2 kingfishers, a peregrine, and a yellow-legged gull (adult) and a Mediterranean gull (adult) in the gull roost. On 29th I saw a male marsh harrier, 3 water pipits, 2 stonechats and an otter from Meare Heath hide.


Around the reservoirs again on 21st. At Blagdon were 2 black-necked grebes, 2 yellow-legged gulls (adult and 2nd winter), green sandpiper, little stint, 180 golden plover and a ruff. Chew held 2 female-type common scoter, a late black tern, 2 goosander, and a very obliging first-winter male ferruginous duck in the channel N of Herriot's bridge. Click on the photo below for more images.

ferruginous duck

A quick visit to the local reservoirs on 15th resulted in a female-type common scoter, an eclipse drake red-breasted merganser and 2 goosander at Chew, and 2 black-necked grebes, a greenshank, 2 green sandpipers, ca. 115 golden plover and 2 yellow-legged gulls at Blagdon. My lens has now been fixed by the excellent Black-on-White Cameras in Westbury-on-Trym, so more photos should appear soon.

My 300 mm Nikkor lens is currently being repaired so I'm having to use the 80-400mm zoom until it's fixed. I've had big problems using the 2x teleconverter between a heavy 300mm f2.8 lens and a heavy camera body. The strain on the converter can be severe, and this time the inside tube (rear casting) in the lens has cracked. In the meantime here are some zoom lens photos, starting with the speculum of a female mallard.

mallard speculum

The Huntspill juvenile buff-breasted sandpiper was photographed on 8th, showing some of the limitations of the zoom lens at 400mm.

buff-breasted sandpiper

buff-breasted sandpiper

buff-breasted sandpiper

Another American wader in the area at present is a lesser yellowlegs on the River Axe near Weston sewage works. A couple of distant digiscoped shots below.

lesser yellowlegs lesser yellowlegs