Saturday, 11 April 2015

A cool westerly breeze blew away the unpleasant polluted air from yesterday, leaving a cloudy sky with short sunny breaks early on, but by 09:00hrs rain fell for a couple of hours, before it cleared to long sunny spells for the afternoon.

I was out for a couple of hours before the rain fell, not seeing much, a surprise though was finding a male GOOSANDER on the main lake, the latest date I have for this usually winter visitor.

I'll skip a few hours, as what I found later in the day was quite unbelievable.............

After the rain had stopped I thought it would be a good idea to have a mooch around the paddocks and sheep pasture of Migrant Alley, my thought being a passage Wheatear may have dropped in with the rain, but I drew a blank, however as I scanned the fields further away to the far side of my patch at High House Lane, I noticed an odd looking 'shape' in the bean crop there. I was looking at least 800 meters away, here's the view, you can make out the 'shape' a little to right of the center of the image, on the brow of the green beans......just!

I though maybe it was a immature Swan, but it looked to dumpy and squat with a shorter neck. It was no good i'd have to trudge over to have better look!  I got to within about 500 meters, when the sounds of shotguns started up, then a dog walker crossed the field with 3 dogs and the bird moved over the brow of the hill out of site.

Ive cropped the images I took as far as I can and they show a clue to what I was looking at.

What do reckon it is?? I had my thoughts by now

This is a dire shot, but shows a grey neck, and gingery chestnut body

I waited for 5 or ten minutes to see if the bird would re-appear over the brow of the hill, but it didn't, I couldn't get any closer as there is no footpath through the crop, (unless you are a dog walker!), However, a volley of shotgun blasts put up the bird, and I got my bins on it, then took some very distant photo's as it flew off away to the NW. I was now convinced I was looking at a GREAT BUSTARD (141, 78, 63), I WAS GOBSMACKED, WHAT A FIND !!!!!!!!!!

Ive cropped these images as far as they would go, but it's quite obvious this is a Great Bustard!

For a huge bird, it flew as graceful as any Swan, with powerful regular wing beats, quite something to see, obviously I had better views through my bins before I got the images.

This shot was even further away but shows the grey on the neck, and the well fingered secondary flight feathers.

Without doubt, this is the best bird species to have visited my Pittswood patch, It gives me the incentive to get out and keep looking and recording, just when things were looking a bit stale of late  :-)


Marc Heath said...

Awesome record Warren, now thats a find and why you go out everyday in the hope of a goodie. I would imagine its a stray salisbury plain bird but I wouldn't mind seeing that on my patch, congrats and have a drink for me.

Warren Baker said...

Cheers Marc,
No wing tags on it, but who knows where it came from, I'll take it for my patch list though LoL

Alan Pavey said...

Fantastic find Warren, well done! Amazing 😀

Warren Baker said...

Amazing indeed Alan! Makes you wonder what you miss when you're hot on patch!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Just seen that on birdguides - Hadlow - hoped it was you came here straight away and hey ho it was - Bingo!!!

What a great find - double even triple great!!! Well done you :-)



Warren Baker said...

I'm chuffed to bits with it Davyman :-)

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Incredible find . Mega or what ?
You'll have to go some way to beat that . Very well done .

Warren Baker said...

I dont think i'll find anything more exciting than this!

Steve Gale said...

Better than a Wheatear Warren!!!!

Phil said...

Incredible Warren, absolutely incredible!!
How the heck are you ever going to top that?
Well done indeed.
Wonder if it will pitch up somewhere else local?

Warren Baker said...

Wheatear tomorrow :-)

Warren Baker said...

I think thats the pinnacle of my patch watching reached ! loL

alan woodcock said...

Hi,what a patch tick,fantastic,well done,

Mike Gould said...

Great find Warren, well done indeed.

Wilma said...

Way better than a wheatear!

But just to let you know - Keith at HoldingMoments has shots of wheatears in Wales on his most recent post.

Mike H said...

Saw it on birdguides Warren and thought it may be you. What a fantastic find. Just proves the benefits of all that hard work in the local patch. Who needs Wheatears ?

Steve Ashton Wildlife Photography said...

Fantastic find Warren, something you would never of expected to see when you left the house that morning. Not necessarily a wandering Salisbury bird given the stuff in the UK coming up from the South over the last few days. Good that you also got a few record shots as well. A bird I would love to see. Well done.

Stewart said...

Wow! I think I would have followed the dog walkers path! Get in there Warren ! :)

Warren Baker said...

I think I Would have done as you suggest eventually, had the Bird not flown up after the nearby gunshots :-)