Osprey on the River Tavy

I read reports of an Osprey sighted on the River Tavy flying from Warleigh Point upstream to Lopwell Dam recently so decided to go in search of it in the hope of catching some shots of it fishing. From Lopwell I walked downstream along the river towards Maristow Boat House keeping my eyes peeled for any signs of the distinctive shape of the bird in the sky. Whilst waiting,  I spotted a bird in the river and realised it was a Red-legged Partridge!  At first I thought it was in distress but later when I checked it turns out they are able to swim so would’ve made it to shore eventually.

Red-legged Partridge

I sat for 15 minutes or so and then spotted the Osprey flying up river at speed, too high to get a shot. I jumped up and followed it but it was too fast for me and it flew out of sight. Back at Lopwell Dam, where the tidal part of the Tavy meets the non tidal fresh water side of the river, I decided to sit and wait in hope of another sighting and possibly a close encounter if it decided to dive down to the water fishing.

Other birds of interest on the river were a Little Egret and a Cormorant flying past at low level.

Little Egret

Cormorant

Also on the River were two Little Grebes, a Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher,  all too far for decent shots.

Eventually the Osprey appeared above the trees along with several Buzzards, two of which were having a dog fight.

Buzzard dog fight

I managed to fire off a few shots as it circled but then it flew back down river again out of sight and that was the last I saw of it for the day. There have been more recent sightings so I hope to see it again next visit and get a closer view of it. I’m also planning to find a place to get close to the Kingfishers which are also seen regularly at this great little reserve owned by South West Lakes Trust.

Osprey

Lesser Grey Shrike at Mount Batten

Having heard reports over the last two days of an unusual sighting on the South West coastal path at Mount Batten in Plymouth I decided to make the trip down to see what all the fuss was about. On arrival this spectacular bird, a Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, showed itself immediately at close quarters and posed for photos for myself and the other numerous birders and photographers there. 

I was happy to get one shot but overjoyed that it came even closer and sat up nicely on the end of a branch for these frame filling images, not the best background but shows good feather detail

A very worthwhile trip to see a bird that would normally be in much warmer climes in southern and eastern Europe and southern Africa.

Wryneck at Wembury 

I spent a couple of hours walking along the South West coastal path from Wembury beach heading East towards the Yealm estuary last week in search of passage migrant birds, in particular Yellow Wagtails which had been sighted there recently and possibly Clouded Yellow Butterflies. No sign of either of these but even better was this Wryneck sitting on a gate which I managed to get a shot of before it disappeared.

These birds, a member of the Woodpecker family, are rare passage migrants in the UK, mainly on the south coast so I was lucky to spot this one, a life tick for me.

Following the path further I then spotted a Kestrel flying westward so I followed it back up the path and got close enough to catch some flight shots, this one with it hovering looking for prey.

I then made my way back eastward to see what else was around. There were at least a dozen Wheatear sitting on the fence posts preparing to make there way South.

 

Also a handful of Stonechats were flitting around and this one allowed me to get quite close.

Further on towards the mouth of the Yealm there were numerous Gulls sitting on the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs and one or two flying over. I also spotted a Razorbill on the sea, close to the shore but a little too far down to get a decent shot.

Lackford Lakes

My first visit to Lackford Lakes

Get Directions

Lackford Lakes is a wildlife reserve which is part of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and is located on the River Lark , constructed from former gravel pits. The reserve provides a wonderfully diverse habitat with meadows, woodland, reed beds and streams.

I had my first visit here in January 2013, hoping to get some shots of Kingfishers with my newly acquired Pentax DA*300mm f4 lens. I wasn’t in luck on this particular day but did manage to get a few decent shots on the Slough from Bills hide.

There was a wide variety if wetland birds including Canada Geese, Cormorants, Coots and Gulls as well as a large flock of Lapwings. The hide provided ideal shooting conditions although the reach of my 300mm lens, even with a 1.5x teleconverter wasn’t really sufficient to get close enough. I managed a few shots of the Canada Geese and a pair of Mallards

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The Coots were reasonably close and provided the best subjects whilst they dived for food. I spent some time watching them and hoping to get one as he dived under. My timing wasn’t great but this shot was the best of the bunch.

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Looking further out into the lake Cormorants were sunning themselves amongst Gulls, Lapwings and Coots. I was hoping one would take flight but they were happy just sitting on the platform in the sun.

Walking on from the Slough in search of Kingfishers the Lapwing took flight. I also spotted a Buzzard circling high above but too far to get a really detailed shot. The Kingfishers were not showing themselves today but I did spot a pair of Goldcrests flitting around across the path right in front of me. I wasn’t quick enough to catch a single shot of them, just too fast.

Walking around the lakes this Robin perched on a tree nearby in good light and gave me a good show.

I was impressed with the reserve and would highly recommend a visit. I shall definitely be going back armed with my monopod and spend some more time looking for the Kingfishers. The reserve is very well run and has a nice little visitors centre with basic refreshments and a viewing point over the marshes.