Here we are, well into 2016 and it's about time I got back into my hobby again.... it's been months since I'd been able to make an concerted effort to get out and about.
It's made easier by the evenings getting lighter, but as much as I'd like to 'blame' the failing light, I'm sure that's not the only reason!
Anyway... moving on! - A few pictures in this one to get me started!!
We've had some nice clear (but cold) days recently so I thought I'd wrap up warm and head out.
Easiest place to start was at the local reserve - Lavell's Lake, as it happens it was a rather 'quiet' day, not much out and about, so I spent time watching the feeder-tree they have there. Usually quite a good assortment of birds (usually garden birds) turn up.
There were a few Reed Buntings around, and also a few Dunnocks hopping around the floor...
...And a couple of Bullfinches put in an appearance, but if you look at the one on the left it appears to have diseased legs?
Finally whilst waiting, a Great Spotted Woodpecker decided to put in an appearance for a free meal!
Back at our house, there was an unusual level of activity in the local Red Kites, maybe half a dozen all flying really low over the area for a good few hours.... that doesn't mean I had any luck with my pictures(!), partly because it was a bit overcast so it made really poor light, but also because they saw me first!
Rather unexpectedly I caught wind of a 'new' Barn Owl site not too far from us, with apparently some good sightings over the past few days... usually this then means they don't turn up when I'm around! But I set off to have a look anyway.
As it happens, I was in luck... I'd only been there about 10 minutes and this one flew out of a woodland I was walking down the side of, he (or she?!) landed on the ground before taking flight and disappearing over the treeline.
My reactions weren't great, but was so happy I could confirm they were here!
To top it all off, whilst waiting for the Owl to re-emerge (too dark for more pictures), I also spotted a Peregrine perched on a pylon, apparently a regular to the area... so I shall definitely be heading back there... probably tomorrow!
Finally another bit of good news, is that "my" little owls have returned to last years nest site - I am so happy as I'd heard rumours they were predated last year and hadn't been seen for about 9 months now - it might actually be that these are the returning young? but again I'll head back there as soon as I can...
Sorry Sam, I think I'll be AWOL quite a lot over the nest few weeks!