Thursday, 9 April 2009

First of Spring, Last of Winter

The original image - trimmed only - no post-processing
Very confiding Yellow Wagtail
Thanks to Marcus Conway for Photoshopping this one! & my poor effort!
5 stages of having a scratch & a stretch

Wet Hare
Dry Hare
Close-up of well-marked wing
Flight shot

When I heard that Waxwings had been spotted yesterday in the Holderness Road area, I thought I'd check on a tree laden with berries a week ago - sure enough it was nearly empty. The Waxwings flew off & gathered in a tall Sycamore nearby, and then dropped into a Cotoneaster in a garden behind. There were 3 similar trees laden with berries near the university, so I must check on these on a day with better light. I alerted 2 local birders, who may have wanted to see the Waxwings, before setting off to Spurn. There was very little to see, apart from the obligatory Fieldfare at the point, but we stopped off in the Canal Scrape hide on the way back to eat our lunch. There was a distant Yellow Wagtail by the side of the water, this was my first of the year - and one of my favourite birds, so I clicked away. Usually, in these circumstances the bird would have got further and further away, but this one followed a pair of Pied Wagtails and came nearer and nearer. I had to ask my nephew to whisper, as I didn't want his normally ceaseless chatter to alarm the bird! It had a good scratch and a stretch displaying all its plumage features to the best advantage, and then it still kept coming closer. It then settled right in front of the hide for a couple of minutes, and may have been going to fly onto the window-sill of the hide, but I'll never know because it gave a high, shrill call, before flying off. A few seconds later a female Sparrowhawk swooped past, but didn't chase the wagtail - instead she flew over the Canal Zone. 3 Shelduck flew in, also giving close views, and then a Hare appeared at either side of the hide. All-in-all quite a magical lunch hour! Again I came back via Stone Creek, and although the Yellowhammers are more active there now, the Yellow Wagtails have yet to return.


John Sadler said...

Now we know how Marcus gets all his good photos, Photoshop!!!!!!!!

Michael Flowers said...

Now I've got some free time, I hope to improve my processing too. I've added an unprocessed version of the same image for comparison.