31 March 2008
2 of the common birds in England.
So I made it to England and have just about recovered from the inevitable jetlag. It's a pretty brutal journey from Hakodate to Preston. I had to spend a day/night in Tokyo. I went to that kind of bird reserve near Haneda airport for a couple of hours. Great Cormorant, Little Ringed Plover, various common ducks including Gadwall and Shoveler, Azure Winged Magpie, Japanese White-eye, Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe.............we couldn't face the hassle of a trip into the city before sucj a long journey.
The aforementioned jetlag meant I got up early the first couple of days. On Saturday I made it up the River Ribble, my old local patch. Pinkfooted Goose, Wheatear, lots of Oystercatcher and Redshank, a few Curlew and Lapwing, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Magpie, Jackdaw, Jay, Meadow Pipit, Shelduck and Wigeon, common woodland birds including many of the same species as in Hokkaido such as Great and Long Tailed Tits. Here's a view of Preston taken from a couple of miles downstream.
And here's a Turnstone walking around on the grass at Fleetwood............
Spring is very much in the air here. Green is already appearing on the trees, the cherry blosoms have opened (yes, Japanese people, other countries have these too), daffodils are everywhere and the birdsong is much more noticeable than it ever is in urban Hakodate. Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Greenfinch and Chaffinch are singing all over the place. Some Moorhens have been nesting on the small pond in the woods behind my parents.
And Woodpigeon are everywhere. I can't remember them being this common.........
On Saturday I met up with an old friend and we drove to Marshside. This has changed quite dramatically since we regularly went there in the early 80's. There were no Avocets in them days.
They were too far away for a decent shot and it was also very dark and raining heavily too. Also in the hide were 3 birdforum members and it was nice to chat with these folks in person. They (and my friend) have some serious scopes. In addition to the Avocets we saw Merlin, lots of common ducks, Ruff and Black Tailed Godwit plus another bird that wasn't around 25 years ago, Little Egret. We stopped at the outer edge of our old local patch on the way back and got a new one on my old local list, a 3 Ruddy Duck as well as a dozen or so Shoveler and a Great Crested Grebe.
Franck agreed to sell me his 100-400 lens so I have it with me. I've only been doing halfhearted shotting, this Wren was maybe the best subject so far.
I've been drinking a lot since I got back, eating lots of food unavailable in Japan, ben missing the live football (my parents don't have Sky and I'm avoiding the score of today's Liverpool game so I can enjoy the highlights later on tonight) and catching up with people. Last night was my parents' 40th anniversary party...........I was pretty hungover most of today.
Speaking of wrecks.
This was offshore at Blackpool.............I have to say Blackpool was looking particularly sleazy and rundown.
A bit strange doing this blog on a Windows PC. I've noticed my photos don't look so hot on this one (compared to my Mac where they at least look average). Hmmmmmm............