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The Freeze Continues

January 9th, 2010 by admin

Well at Least we managed to dig the van out today and get out of the village for a while, though the roads were pretty damned icy in places.
We drove steadily to Marazion to find most of the marsh was frozen over. So much so that almost all the wildfowl were gathered by the outflow on longrock pool where the water was moving slightly and managing to keep it from freezing.

The shovelers have now found each other with the male coming over from drift and they had joined the mallards and teal on longrock pool.

The shovelers keeping the ice from freezing while a female mallard walks about on the ice

The pair finally back together

This little grebe was feeding okay and kept popping up with another little fish..

Little grebe with a tasty morsel

Its these young fellows that are at greatest risk in these frozen times as their food is trapped under the ice and they are in serious trouble from starvation.. this young chap came right up the bank to the roadside to us where Leanne gave him some bread and threw som more onto the ice for any of the other fowl that was hungry.. its always worth remembering to feed the birds at this time of year but also remember if you do start feeding them at your home KEEP ON FEEDING THEM otherwise they’ll travel to your feeders only to find them empty and will have wasted all their body fat getting there.

these young cygnets are at most risk of starvation in the cold weather

something caught my eye over on the cut reeds hopping about with bright yellowy green flashes here and there.. I finally pinpointed it with the camera and after following him around for a while managed to grab at least one unblurred image of him.. fairly sure its a chiff chaff who’s colours were really bright in the cold afternoon sun.. he didn’t stay still very long which made shooting him on the dark reed stalks quite a task :)

Chiffchaff among the reed stalks

searching for food among the reed stalks

We drove up to the marsh and found this blackbird ferreting in a hole for food.. after a good 10 minutes of digging around he finally pulled out a worm which made his effort a little worthwhile at least.. watching things like this really makes you understand the struggle they have in this cold icy weather..

Blackbird digging for food

one tiny worm later he's off to find another hole to dig in

I swet off across the frozen ground towards the marsh with redwings and fieldfares with the odd starling mixed in flitting about all over the field… I maged to lock on to one in the shrubs who watched my approach with caution.

Redwing cautiously watching my approach

slowly i maged to get round the outside of him to be able to see the red underwings which gives them their name

This chap ignored the signs and braved the cold to climb over the wall and feed the ducks and swans on the ice.. personally I think he was doing the right thing as strangely enough the sign putter uppers the Royal society for the PROTECTION of birds were nowhere to be seen all afternoon. Well done my friend!!

Feeding the ducks and swans

The sight over the marsh and a common one across the country

sadly this is what we’re seeing so much with this weather.. the sad thing is this will be the way it ends for a lot of these young swans who are unable to get through the ice for food.

Fieldfare in the sun

Fieldfare’s, another sign of the snow and cold weather, were in abundance around the marsh and surrounding fields.

Another sight to be seen most of the afternoon was the regular circling of ALL the waterfowl from Longrock pool trying to find somewhere on the marsh that may have thawed enough for them to land and feed..

Circling round and round looking for water not ice

Well I’m going to attempt another trip out today and see if we can get anywhere.. at least the snow held off yesterday evening so we’ll hopefully catch up soon


Freezing Fieldfares and Redwings

January 8th, 2010 by admin

Gripped in Blizzards and Ice is not something I moved to Cornwall to Endure :) I know its all very pleasant for the kids and yes it does make a good Photo but when I can’t get my van off the street to get up to Treliske for my Chemo then things are getting purty damn tricky..

I spent 3 hours clearing the road tonight so I might have a chance to get out tomorrow, used all the rocksalt I had and sat down for a cuppa only to look out the window and see heavy snow falling yet again and covering fast all that I’d done.. then I find that the hospitals have Norovirus outbreaks and they want me with no immune system to go up there at 6am in freezing conditions.. well guess what.. No Way José I’m staying put with my Garden full of Birds including the recent influx of Fieldfares and redwings.

As I couldn’t get the van out yesterday I took a walk over the field by the side of the house to take a few shots of the snow..
The first encounter was a redwing sitting on the lawn and by the stream at the bottom of the garden a Fieldfare was hopping about.. as I got to the field gate it was obvious why as there were hundreds feeding in the field..

Fieldfare foraging for food in a snowy field

A little further up were hundreds of redwings also feeding


Beautiful Redwing in the afternoon Sun

They were skittish to say the least so I was quite pleased to have got the shots I did but little chance to get them in flight.

We walked over to Quarry Field and walked the road up alongside of the hill, more fieldfares were along the roadside and in the trees lining the hill..

A solitary Fieldfare watches on as we walked up the lane

Once we’d climbed to the top of the field the view was wonderful over Penzance, snowy fields crowned the town and glowed in the afternoon winter sun. We could even see the snow falling in Bands across Helston Camborne and Redruth and an opbvious massive snowstorm flowing over the mount and marazion.

view over Penzance

Snow falling in the distance

and in no time at all closer to home in Mounts Bay

We set off to walk across the field ready to start the descent down the hill, which is no mean feat to most but those knowing my condition, and given the fact that I should have been in for chemotherapy today to help with the flare up, I was pretty damn pleased I’d managed as much as I did.
Looking back afforded me the opportunity to grab a rare opportunity of snapping Leanne as she sat on the remains of one of the children’s snowmen being blinded by the low sun but nontheless I loved the shot especiually the vista behind.

A rare chance to catch Leanne resting on a snowman with Penzance and Mounts bay in the background

The views are pretty spectacular from the top of the hill which we normally only look at out of the window of the bungalow, so it made such a change to be looking back for a change.

Road into the vllage.. looking clearer now

Snowstorm approaching over mounts bay

looking across to the village.. my bungalow is the one right in the middle of the shot on the hill

At the foot of the hill there's lots of these little wildlife corners but today just a nice snowy scene.

All except this one little fellow throwing the snow about looking for grubs and insects

Another Redwing at the foot of the hill rummaging in the snow

Well it started snowing again so it was time to head back across the field towards home in case it got heavy again (which it eventually did after I’d cleared the road)…
A quick shot across the field looking towards the bungalow… if you squint a bit you can just see the splashbus stuck in the snow outside the house on the right about a third up.. the problem is the river runs at the end of the road right in front of us so if it slides on the ice and doesn’t make the corner it’ll be definately a SPLASH Bus lol..

Looking to Trungle Parc

There was snowman building going on in the cricket field at Paul Cricket Club which made a nice end to the blog and a final look back at the hill from our usual viewpoint and a chance to see where we’d walked on this sunny but Freezing cold winters afternoon…

Snowmen in the field of Paul Cricket club

And Finally:

The hill from the edge of the field.. our view from the bungalow end window

Well thats the blog for today… hope you enjoyed the walk with us, your comments are always welcomed.. but please lets keep it nice :)

Enjoy the snow!

A Rainy evening at Gweek

September 9th, 2009 by admin

Been at the hospital in Truro and decided I needed to de-stress after a stress filled morning. Having the boat on the roof and the engine in the van I decided to go to Gweek and see how things turned out… once there I set up the boat, loaded my stuff and set off out of the creek into the main river..

Minutes after leaving Gweek, the wind started blowing up some mizzle, which for those uninitiated is cornish drizzle in the mist.. but somehow it didn’t matter.. I was already breath8ing the damp salty air and the hum of the 4 stroke yamaha was gentky massaging my mind and I was feeling relaxed again.
As I passed the seal sanctuary I spotted a great Bird heading up the river..kind of instinctively I knew, I could feel the presence and as he got nearer I could verify it was the Osprey we’d seen at the weekend in constantine creek..
He soared over me and veered off into the creek opposite the Seal Sanctuary.. unfortunately at the stage of the tide I wasn’t able to follow him so I carried on down the river following the channel markers as the tide flowed in.
There were a flock of Redshanks and curlews on the next corner and I set up the camera to get a few shots, it was then that I realised the light was actually way too low in the misty mizzly weather and I’d forgotten to pack my Flash.
I radio’d back to the van and said as soon as there was plenty of water for me to get into the far creek I’d call back at the van and get the flash.. Leanne said there was already enough water so I spun the boat round and headed back up river towards Gweek Boatyard.
Approaching the creek where the Osprey had gone I found I couldn’t resist a brief look, so I cagily headed into the creek.. churning the odd bit of mud as I did, but by raising the engine a little I was able to make my way into the channel of the creek.
Sure enough there he was, sitting proudly on a jinned branch of one of the old oaks at the far end of the creek… I set the camera as best as I could get for the light and fired off a few shots.. too far away and too shaky for the light I realised I wasn’t going to get much from there so I edged my way closer.. he wasn’t having any of that and dropped from his perch towrds the water and me and soared over my head looking down at me as if to say No Way José.. he looked so majestic in the half light but he flew straight on and down the river, so I had to make do with what I’d got but the experience of seeing him fly warmed my soul.

I called back at the van picked up the flash and beamer and set off again back down river in search of the Osprey or anything else of interest.
I checked back in the creek but no sign of him, however 2 Kingfishers went past me, too fast to catch as an image but again a great experience seeing the bright blue and orange fly past you.

Headed down towards Bishops Quay and got a couple of Canada geese on the corner along with a grey heron up a tree.. unfortunately even with the flash I’d left it too late and I was fighting a battle to get any kind of decent image now in this half light.

Curlews lined the grass bank on the corner of the creek but flew as soon as I got near enough to shoot but a solitary Greenshank lingered long enough for me to switch off the engine steady the boat and get a few shots of him.

I carried on to the end of the creek and saw another 2 Kingfishers flying by and the light was dropping fast when about 6 or 7 grey wagtails flew past me and landed on a log in the edge of the creek…
I set up the camera knowing I’d only get a couple of shots at the most if I used the beamer  and carefully lined up the shot…
Bugger!! I’d forgotten to shift the flash position to Backlight which means it shoots at the end of the shot rather than the beginning and stops shots like this happening.. however in its own way I liked the image so here it is.

Well the mizzle had now turned to light rain so I figured it was around High tide and probably a good time to return to Gweek Quay>
It was probably the right decision as it happened, as I pulled out of the creek and looked towards Helford, I could see a heavy mist moving up the river behind me.

I called quickly in the top creek again to check on our Osprey but the light just faded away so I turned round and headed out to the seal sanctuary.
I was passed by the last boat up the river and a friendly wave as I rounded th corner into the Quay Creek where my good lady was waiting with a nice cup of tea.

 We got the boat out of the water and loaded onto the van just in time as the rain got heavier.. even so there’s some kind of magic surrounding this river and we sat on the wall watching the rain droplets in the water under the brolly whilst having a nice cup of tea… a Perfect end!


Whitethroats & meadow pipits

July 13th, 2009 by admin

Well its been a while since I updated the blog and my apologies to those who enjoy reading it, been so busy throughout April May & June that I simply didn’t have the time and it took all my resources to keep the galleries updated… but with a bit of luck we’re back on track and here’s the first entry for a while from a stop off at Sancreed in the rain.

I wandered into the field and literally 4 yards from the van was confronted by this whitethroat issuing me with a scratchy warning call to let me know I was just getting too close to the nest for comfort..

I moved further up the field and the whitethroat carried on with the task of feeding the chicks and gave me the opportunity for a few more nice shots..

Next was a little wren sitting singing on top of the ferns in the relentless rain

and then from nowhere came the shrill song of the whitethroat, turning round he’d popped up out of the bush to say hello.. all this in the space of 10 minutes as well as the swallows and swifts flying all around..

 I wandered up to the top of the field all the time being surrounded by birds flitting backward and forward and three were constantly chasing each other in and out of bushes and finally it stopped raining long enough for them to settle and I was able to grab some pictures of what turned out to be Meadow pipits..

slowly back to the van to be once again confronted by a very wary lesser whitethroat and the rain started again so we headed off home.. not bad for a 20minute stop off though.

Thanks again to Paul at Cornwall Birding for the help in ID’ing the birds.

see ya soon

Marazion marsh – 26th March 2009

March 27th, 2009 by admin

Another Hospital appointment this morning with my Occupational therapist and suffering quite a lot of pain in the hands and feet from the RA, so we decided to stay local on the Marsh today for a change :)

Started off hanging over the gate while having lunch and got a few more nice shots of the herons for the library collection..



 Just stopped for a while to have another unsuccessful attempt at getting good shots of the sand martins and a little Grebe ran past… on the water.:)


Met up with paul who told me there were some Sandwich Terns further down the bay so we set off in search and found them sitting on the Bouys by the harbour wall.. so we’ll round off today with a couple of the shots..

We’ll see what the morrow brings :)

Night all :):D

Stithians Southern Cut off

February 8th, 2009 by admin

We had a fruitful day at Stithians with the small birds at the feeding station by the Southern Cut off Hide.
Even had a visit from the female Greater Spotted Woodpecker along with Great Tits blue tits long tailed tits green finch chaffinch reed bunting coot greater crested grebe along with the little grebe and plenty others ..
So all in all a good day topped off with a nice specimen of Buzzard sat on the telegraph pole as we drove away.

Female Reed Bunting

Female Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting

Long Tailed tit

Long Tailed tit

Female Greater spotted woodpecker

Female Greater spotted woodpecker

Thats it for now folks :)