A WALK ON THE WILDSIDE---PAUL FOSTER

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Cyprus 4


The next day, found me heading to Akrotiri ,as I had heard of a report of a Bimaculated Lark there.A chap that I had met earlier in the week, had given me some directions to its whereabouts.Not being familiar with the area, it would take some locating.The only information I had to go off was the general area and that it was hanging around with some short toed larks, we would see!!I dropped in to Phassouri reedbeds,by the newly built hides for a half an hour.It was quiet really, save for a few Garganey and the odd Squacco Heron.A Black Francolin was calling noisily in the distances I went to check it out!!  Usually only heard and difficult to see, but this one was oblivious to my presence!They often hide away in the long grass and dense cover!

A Bimaculated Lark had been hanging around with a small flock of Short Toed Larks on the Peninsular,I was lucky to come across it after a good search!

It kept away from the pipits, which made it harder to find!

This male Northern Wheatear was chasing insects among the Spring flowers!
  
The small church on the peninsular is always worth a visit, its usually a magnet for migrants, with its surrounding vegetation being the main draw.However todays visit was really quiet due to the strong prevailing winds!
  
Many a passing migrant has stopped and refuelled at this sacred place!

Onto Ladies mile where I came across these two Slender Billed Gulls.Earlier a few Baltic Gulls had given a brief flypast.Apparently there was a Pallas' gull in the vicinity,but I never chanced upon it!

A drake Garganey was present at Phassouri,earlier in the day, without doubt my favourite duck.It was accompanied by 2 females.So Yes I had had a very interesting day at Akrotiri,with the Bimaculated Lark being the highlight I suppose.Tomorrow I had planned to meet up with Albert Stoecker for a day out in to the Troodos mountains, to see if we could find some of the islands endemic species!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Cyprus 3

Daihatsu Terios,the car I usually opt for when in Cyprus!
Anarita Park is one of my favourite places to spend time with the camera.It has many tracks and unmade roads, which means a decent 4 wheel drive vehicle is a necessity

Blue Rock Thrush,there is usually an odd one that returns to its favourite rock within the park.

Always distant, they are quite a nervous type bird, and are usually away with any movement!


The trouble is getting close enough to gain a decent image.After a 25 min wait he showed quite well.

Another Pallid Harrier showed up, this ringtail didn't hang around though.With territory to go to they don't stop long!

Isabelline Wheatear.


Not 100% sure, but I think this could be a Tawny Pipit.My birding skills are nowhere near what I'd like, but I'm learning all the time.

You could spend hrs within the Anarita area, searching its many tracks and gullies.I think it is many peoples preferred birding place, due to its closeness to Paphos.Sightings of many different species on migration abound and raptors are usually present in good numbers.Towards the end of April ,Red Footed Falcons favour it as a stopover, they perch on the electricity wires, with Lesser and Common Kestrel, scanning the floor beneath them for insects and lizards!


Friday, 13 April 2018

Cyprus 2

Isabelline Wheatear were ever present as well as Northern,later I was to find a Female Desert amongst them!


Sardinian Warblers scratched and called from their dense foliage usually, but this one showed itself very well.Always around in good numbers in the thorny scrub!

Marsh Harriers pass through quite regularly!


A very upright stance with the Isabelline wheatear!

Marsh Harrier!



Monday, 2 April 2018

Cyprus March 2018.

A few images below of my recent trip to Cyprus,one of my favourite birding destinations.After meeting up with my good friend Albert Stoecker we set off early for Phassouri roadbeds near to Akrotiri.A few new hides have been installed on the reserve, which in my opinion have been built to the wrong design,I believe plans are in order to rectify this!After an hour or so there, we called in at Bird Life Cyprus' AGM,where I renewed my annual subscription and listened to various talks on the future of the organisation.A very entertaining couple of hrs, with a committee who are totally dedicated to the cause of bird protection.Please watch this short documentaryWings on the wind
Anyway,Glossy Ibis were present on arrivals nice start to the day!
3 Garganey also greeted us in front of the hide too!
Aren't the males stunning!
A quick fly-by Marsh area patrolled the reserve, though always distant!
On the way home, we called into Mandria, were this short eared owl was spooked by a dog walker,a really good bird for Cyprus.In fact 3 others were located at Akrotiri  the same morning!!
The highlight was this male Pallid harrier, briefly perched on a rock about 70 metres away.
Again Marsh harriers were present around the agricultural fields,looking for prey
I never tire of watching Harriers on the wings graceful with wings up turned!
a few times he came quite close!!
And of course the ever present corn bunting,siging from the tops of the bushes!


Friday, 17 November 2017

Kingfisher

I was up quite early today,as the forecast was quite good.I decided to head for a local nature reserve about 3/4 drive away, in the hope of seeing and photographing a Kingfisher.Usually they are about this particular place,but I hadn't,t been for a long time,so I was edging my bets a little!

There are numerous hides on the reserve,but I headed for the place that I saw them last!On entering the hide, another photographer was in position, and on enquiring with him, one bird had been present an hour earlier.So with that encouraging news,I set my stall.All was quiet for the next hour, save for a Heron patrolling the far margins, in the space of 20 minutes, it had caught 3 small roaches at least there was plenty of food about.

From out of nowhere a Kingfisher flew in and landed about 20 metres away on a known perch.Great,action at last! he never did much really, not even a dive, but I obtained a dozen or so shots with the camera!He was soon away though and again it went quiet for the next 11/2 hrs.The other photographer had had enough and made his way out.Action was quite slow really, even the Heron departed!

It really is a waiting game when I'm out with the camera, but I'm always confident that something will happen.If birds or mammals were constantly in view, it would be easy ,wouldn't it.I certainly don't mind a long wait.Sometimes of course, nothing happens, but 9 times out of 10 it does, keeping me on my toes and alert!I had the hide to myself, which is just how I like it.Kingfishers are prone to the slightest of movements and a hide full of chatting people is not good!

True to form, a Kingfisher returned to the same perch on the far bank.Again he wasn't in hunting mood, but what he did do, was to cough up a pellet, he had been hunting previously then.I managed a few shots of this regurgitation, after which, he preened for a while, then went about his travels.

So 3 hrs in the hide and about 3 mins of a Kingfisher,but I certainly wasn't complaining of lack of action.I,d set out to photograph a Kingfisher and luckily I achieved my goal, with a few decent images to boot.!Thanks again for looking in on my blog and I will catch up again with you soon!


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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Leighton moss

I had been thinking of visiting Leighton Moss reserve at silverdale recently, so I decided to make the effort and see if I could add some pictures of the Bearded Tits that frequent there.I knew that they would be visiting the grit trays, that are put out for them, but this can be a hit and miss affair!
 Luckily for mesas I walked down the causeway,I could see a group of 6 or 7 folk waiting by the viewing area!As I neared ,I could hear the "pinging" call of the Tits as they moved through the reeds.
 A pair of birds were feeding on the grit, but I wanted some natural images of them in the reeds.A male bird suddenly came into view and afforded some great views in the mid morning light!
 Most of the Beardies are sporting different coloured rings to aid with the monitoring scheme that goes on there!
 He hung around,spreadeagled across the reed stems, weighing up the grit tray.
 Unusually this female wasn't rung, she may have dropped in on migration, on her journey south!
 The grit aids with digestion of seeds that they feed up on, and of course makes them a lot easier to view.Usually you are lucy to see them amongst the vast roadbeds,so the trays serve 2 purposes.
 In one of the hides, I watched a cormorant hunting the shallow bays.This particular bird was rewarded with a jack pike, for its efforts!
It didn't hang around with it though and with one flick of its head, consumed the whole fish quite easily!There was a total of 4 cormorants on the mere fishing, so its no wonder fishery owners despise them.They would soon clear out a well stocked pond in days!
A dog Otter had been reported earlier, taking a coot, but i wasn't present when it was about ,so missed the spectacle.On my next visit,I will try to be there for first light and hopefully be in position, should the Otter show again.So thanks for taking the time out to view my blog and I will catch up with you soon!