Friday, 18 November 2016

October 2016 - A Time of Transition

This time of the year is when we have to cope with a loss/gain factor, our swifts and swallows and martins, plus most of our warblers migrate to warmer climes after breeding here. Waders such as lapwings and curlews head to the coasts for winter, as do most of the meadow pipits and skylarks.

But there is a gain, finches like brambling overwinter here and we can expect plenty of redwings and fieldfares, who knows maybe the colourful waxwings may turn up after a couple of winters without them!

I have some regular patches I check near home, at one I had a really close encounter with a carrion crow...

Long tailed tits as well, always a delight to see

A kestrel with a kill, they usually use a post to tear open their catch - in this case a mouse or vole...

Another long tailed tit

My raptor watchpoint disclosed some hen harrier sightings, distant but great to see...

Chaffinches come in close the watchpoint where a mate puts some nutricious food on a wall for them...

We had a day up in Cumbria to see the red deer, the stags were roaring but we were probably a week early for full on rut action. Many visit public parks with captive red deer to photograph them, as wildlife photography has become more popular there have been instances of stags being surrounded by groups of photographers to the point where they lose interest in mating...I totally abhor this type of photography, instances of photographers being charged by the stags are a classic example of the intrusion that takes place nowadays.

Our preferred location means we are at a discrete distance, no disturbance and fair enough the shots are not close but they tell a story of wild red deer, no fences and not hassled by photographers who are trying to prove they have as much testosterone as the stags....

A lovely robin on a post the same day...

Stonechat as well...

And finally for that day... a stag so laid back he just roared as he rested :-)

A local nature reserve and a grey heron


Mute swan juveniles in flight

Little grebe

Mute swan preening

Black headed gull in flight

...and a jay in flight...

The first clear fieldfare sightings of the season...

Visitors from northern climes and a delight to see!

Our raptor watch chaffinch again...

An adult peregrine falcon with a very full crop i.e. food in its throat not yet digested...

and a majestic red kite

A closer look at a hen harrier, the light was very poor and it took a lot of processing to get the shots looking somewhere near right!

A red grouse in flight!


Answers on a postcard...why did the grouse cross the road :-)

and another graceful red kite

So, we lose and we win but life is like that and the seasons reflect life all too well, the trees will lose their leaves and our daylight lessens.

The young birds have a tough winter ahead of them, many do not make it through to spring but the majority do and they will be there to herald another year of exciting times. Meanwhile I eagerly await the first short eared owl sightings of the season, many have arrived around the coasts and hopefully will make their usual passage to my local moors.

The next blog will be about a short break in the Dumfries area, after that waxwings! Their arrival usually heralds a cold winter, visitors from Scandinavia and Siberia and there are flocks of hundreds arriving recently!

I got lucky locally, more later but one shot for now...

Many thanks to all who read the blog, and to those who make the time to comment, please don't forget if do comment they come to me first for moderation.

Cheers for now and thanks for your continued support.


  1. Lovely photos again ,,, love the sequence of birds in flight ,,, Jill

  2. Great photos as always. Loved your deer shots - much better than mine !

  3. Always look forward to another one of your blogs Dave, and this one didn't disappoint. Great series of flight shots. the stag photos were fantastic. We also enjoyed the rut in Martindale last year, a bit early when we were in that direction this year, though we heard the odd roaring now and then.

  4. A lovely selection of your great photos Dave.