Late winter sun and some very ‘iffy’ pictures

There are some days – we all have them – when some things just don’t really work for you. So it was for me today and my attempts to capture some of todays highlights on camera, either because the target wouldn’t stop still long enough or the lighting was from the wrong direction, or I was just too slow in getting out the camera.  Either way the result was  a few somewhat ‘iffy’ images which might give some of you an identification challenge. Lets start with one of a pair of birds we chased around a few trees near Dockens Water  – (answer later)

What is this bird? - answer later

The brilliant sunshine today belied the temperature, which in the cold northerly wind made it feel more like a late winter day rather than spring, although this didn’t deter birds from singing.   Among the many songsters robin, wren, blackbird and song thrush there  was also a good scattering of warblers

,

Chiffchaff near Goosander hide

including chiffchaff, blackcap, garden, Cettis and , new for me this year, reed warbler, both heard and seen, in the reeds at the north end of the settlement pond (near Woodland hide).

Apart from just singing some other birds were busy constructing a suitable home for their expected offspring, like this coot in front of the Ivy South Hide.

Coot ambitiously adding twigs to nest

Over on Ibsley water the first returning common terns were fishing,  but in the afternoon when we looked the sand martins weren’t much in evidence around the Goosander hide ( perhaps the terns had eaten them all!!!! ) and a pair of little ringed plover were seen just outside the Tern hide.

At the woodland hide,  a single male brambling was still benefiting from the largess of the goldfinch , chaffinch, great tit and blue tit,   as it mopped up seed that these other birds had spilt from the feeders.

Brambling checking out the food situation by the Woodland Hide

also reported having been seen, at the woodland hide, were a couple of grey wagtail that were attracted by the small pond there.

On the non-avian front the moschatel (a.k.a.  Townhall clock) near the Woodland hide was attracting the attention of a couple of photographers. A rather striking if somewhat understated arrangement of five flowers at right angles to one another on a single stem gives this plant its alternative name.

Moschatel or Townhall Clock

About this time last year some rather striking fungi, morel and false morel,  could be found on the reserve, so we spent a little time looking for the them again this year. Whether because of the recent long dry spell or for other reasons we couldn’t find any morel, but did find a few rather over-ripe false morel alongside the path to the Ivy South hide.

False morel - somewhat 'gone over'

for reference the morel seen last year were like this.

Morel - picture from 2011

So, as you can probably imagine, it was a little disappointing not to find them again this year.

Anyway I’ll just round off today’s post with the answer to the identification quiz posed earlier,  this other image might help, or hinder, as it’s a bit more typical view of the bird

and the bird is............

yes, of course, it’s a treecreeper.

 

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