Just this second had a Coal Tit in the garden. Score! Tick Tick Tick. What with the forked lightning (5 seconds until the thunder = storm about a mile away) my window's much more interesting to look out of at the moment than is usually the case.
But that's not what I'm here to talk about. Yesterday I got to spend a couple of hours birding round Frensham Little Pond in Hampshire while the woman was rehearsing for a concert, a large area of land heavily forested by Conifers. Almost entirely Conifers. In fact, you couldn't take a step without crushing half a dozen pine cones. Want to guess at what I didn't see? Perhaps predictably, no luck with Loxia curvirostra this time round. Nice scenery though, and the usual smattering of Robins and Blackbirds trying to trip me up by singing eachother's songs.
And of course, the Small Pond itself.
A bit more interesting on the bird front round this area. There were warblers galore nesting in the reeds and I initially took them all to be Sedges based on the song I could hear, but a couple of poor photographs* have thrown up some doubt. I'll be sticking them up in a Birdforum ID thread, but feel free to have a go yourselves. I'll label them BIRD 1 and BIRD 2.
More unexpected was a Common Tern fishing on the side of the lake not disturbed by swimmers. He was most obliging.
Also heard but not found were 2 Chiffys in amongst the trees, and more Wren than I could count. It made for a pleasant walk, and deserves far more time than I gave it.
Other than that, a green streak flying across the front of the car while I was driving marked only my SECOND Green Woodpecker of the year. And a walk round the Weald and Downland open air museum on the Saturday produced a vertible flood of Swallows nesting in the old style thatched rooves. Many of the windows are unglazed and its quite a thing to walk into a doorway as a Swallow bursts out above your head.
Weekend butterflies consisted of a definite Speckled Wood, and another which looked skipperish at the time - brown wings with orange streaks on the upperside of the forewing - but resting the forewings weren't held over the hindwings. Nothing in the book quite matches, and I didn't get a photo, so here's an artists impression:
A poor artist to be sure, but an impression nonetheless. Perhaps the woman will tell me if she remembers differently.
After a few weeks of very little birdwatching activity it's been quite refreshing to get out and get back into practice again. After next weekend I get a big leap in free time, so hopefully interesting content will abound. Or something.
*Basically I'm an idiot. I'm still not used to this camera and its many many buttons and features, and forgot that the last time I'd played with it it'd been tripod mounted, in which case image stabilisation is just a waste of battery power. So I'd switched it off. Didn't show up too much on the landscape pictures, but the telephoto lens didn't suffer it so well at 300mm. The later pictures were taken with image stabilisation ON and are generally much better.