It was a great day on Saturday. Weather was good, and we spotted many birds along our walk to Burghfield. Even the Robin knew that we’d have a good day and told us about the good news via our friend J (well it is a little joke between P and J that she knows how to intepret a Robin’s message :)) Here’s the list of birds I reported on the Berksbird website. One of the highlights was spotting a Grey Heron attacking a big fish and then later swallowing the fish. The fish was so big that we could see a kink in his neck! Fascinating. Another highlight was spotting a Kingfisher flying past us at close quarter. P suspects that the Kingfisher has a nest nearby, as he later showed us some Kingfisher nesting holes on the bank of the river where he spotted Kingfishers in the past. All in all a very fruitful day.
We had a much closer look at Fiedlfare than the last, even though we were without a telescope this time. So far we have had quite good fortune birding around Thames Valley Park (we can’t believe the last time we were there was about half a year ago! Time really flies). Apart from this Fieldfare, we also spotted a Red Kite gliding in the sky and a Great Spotted Woodpecker high up on a tree trunk. Very pleased.
It was a very fruitful day for us last Sunday. We managed to spot some new birds we have not seen before like Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler and Wheater Trush. We also saw a large bird of prey in the air that we couldn’t identify, and heard a Cuckoo close to us in some shrubs. We couldn’t be asked to find the Cuckoo, although we have not seen one before, as we were too hungry and tired after more than two hours of walking under the afternoon sun. Obviously not a good idea to bird watch in the afternoon, but well we have all been cheated by the weather forecast before.
These are a few photos taken when I met up with Peter yesterday at White Knights Lake. I was intending to take photos of the various young chicks that were born there. But sadly many of them died. Particularly, according to Peter, the chicks of Mandarin, two broods of 15 and 3, all died as they were eaten by the Pike (fish). Surely something has to be done in this kind of artificial environment?!
Lucky that the mute swan family was back on the River Kennet when I was on my way home. The bread that I brought with me was of great help. Otherwise I doubt the swans would have let me snap away without scaring them off.
After days of “planning”, I finally got down to bringing the chunky SLR camera with me today to take some photos of birds on my way to work. I very much regretted for not doing it yesterday, due to rain, as all five mute swan chicks were seen carried by one of their parents on the back. And a heron, commonly seen on the River Kennet, was just right next to them. It was a pity.This morning, I set off hoping to see the brood of mute swans again, my main target for the day, and the heron. Unexpectedly I also saw a pair of canada goose with their chick. I initially wanted to tempt the geese to come closer with some bread. But one of the parents started to sound some warning. I’m aware that it’s not a good idea to piss off the geese, so I stayed away, took some photos and then left.This time the swans and the heron were not seen where they used to be. It wasn’t that much of a surprise really, as this is part and parcel of wildlife watching. They have their own life to live and they please no one. Anyway I was lucky to at least have heron, which was later found 10-20 yards from where he used to be, and canada geese to limit my disappointment.
My hubby and I have started birdwatching about a year ago but haven’t had much progress since. Partly because we have not been spending too much time on it but also because we haven’t had the opportunity of getting guidance from an experienced birdwatcher. However, it’s definitely one of our favourite past-times.We recently met a friend who’s really into birdwatching and has offered to take us for a nature walk along a nearby river. I know that there are barn owls near the river but haven’t had much luck everytime we went birdwatching. He told us that he could show us where it was as the owl lived in a very obscure nest-box that not everyone can spot.So there we were, on a Saturday afternoon, setting off to the river in time to catch a glimpse of the barn owl at sunset before it started hunting for food. As we arrived approximately an hour earlier than sunset, our friend thought it was worth showing us around and did a little more birdwatching before we went back to the nest-box.Before we walked further, we caught a look at the nest-box in the telescope which was triangular in shape and was fixed there by some birdwatchers 5 or 6 years back. The barn owl had lived there since.While waiting for sunset, we managed to see a pair of female and male stonechats on our way which are quite rare in Berkshire.At about sunset, we went back to the nest-box. To our amazement, the nest-box was no longer there! We thought it was the most bizarre experience. It was there only an hour ago and had always been there for the past 5 years according to our friend. It was fixed securely at a very high spot on a tree in an open field where rarely anyone could have seen it, let alone taking it down. The whole nest-box was gone and it didn’t fall on the ground. I thought it was one of the most peculiar thing that happened to me in my life. The chances of that happening within the hour when we were about to see our first barn owl. The fact that we saw the nest-box just about an hour before made it even more unbelievable.Sometimes, I don’t think these things happened by chance and yet I couldn’t think of any reason why that had happened. I couldn’t see the significance of the phenomenon but yet, it was almost as though someone was playing a game on us.