Thursday, 23 October 2014

Weekly update: Rainbows and Wrens

This week has been interesting, both weather wise and with sightings at Big Waters. The usual suspects were in the feeding area and on the lake but a few less common visitors also made appearances.

After a weekend in Bamburgh which yielded great photographs of treecreepers and great spotted woodpeckers my hopes of more photographs at Big Waters were high.

My first visit of the week began with a beautiful double rainbow, Big Waters was literally half in sunshine and half in rain. While Alan, Ian and John concentrate on the lake I prefer to watch the feeding area for the smaller birds. I was pleasantly surprised to see a common bird that doesnt make an appearance near the hide too often, the bullfinch. 

Female Bullfinch (click to enlarge)
Two beautiful female bullfinches appeared cautiously in the feeding area nibbling on the plants under cover. Although the females are not as colourful as their male counterparts they are lovely to see.

The two females fed on the plants on the periphery of the feeding are for around 5 minutes before disappearing off into the undergrowth again. The mixed weather didn't deter the activity, within minutes the feeding area was alive with tree sparrows, chaffinches, robins and various tits.

On the lake side of the hide Alan, John and Ian were counting the various species. The range of wildfowl on and around the water was impressive including mute swans, little grebe, tufted ducks, gadwall, mallard and one goldeneye. Greylag geese flew over the lake and headed off without stopping. As autumn turns to winter I hope to see many more ducks and geese on the lake, ideally close enough to get good photographs.

It wasn't long before another regular visitor to the scrape was seen, a young roe deer appeared out of the reeds to graze on the scrape. Last week an adult and two fawns were seen on several afternoons feeding on the scrape, but today only one made an appearance for around 20 minutes.

Roe Deer (click to enlarge)

Although I initially began visiting the hide purely to get photographs, I have to admit in poor conditions for photography I am simply enjoying the watching and learning about the diverse range of life around the reserve.

Granted the conditions were mixed at best but I had to get a shot of the grey wagtail that landed next to the hide. This lovely little bird has made several appearances near the hide before but never in good photographic conditions, this time was no different. I know eventually I will get the shot I really want but I could not resist grabbing a couple of quick record shots for future reference.

Grey Wagtail (click to enlarge)

Shortly after the sighting of the wagtail, a black tailed godwit landed on the scrape. Despite the extremely windy conditions it took off shortly after arriving.

Black Tailed Godwit (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately due to work I was unable to visit the reserve on monday, but Tuesday I had promised to meet Dan, an enthusiastic photographer who is trying to develop his skills, at the hide and I went to help him develop his photography skills.  I am pleased to say he managed to get some great shots of wren and even a goldcrest that visited the feeding area. I didn't take any photographs, preferring to help Dan achieve his goals to getting pictures myself.

Wednesday was a quiet one, with only an hour to spare I headed to the hide hoping for something to show but alas both the feeding area and lake were quiet. Redwings were flying around the path to the hide but never settling long enough or close enough to get a photograph.

I managed to find a couple of hours to visit today and while there was no groundbreaking sightings I was pleasantly surprised to see a goldcrest and treecreeper in the feeding station. One of very few times I have seen either visit the feeding area. A wren also made an appearance and long enough outside of the undergrowth to get a decent photo for the collection.


Wren (click to enlarge)


  1. Nice blog with a cracking selection of images. I look forward to following you......and bunping into your good self at Big Waters sometime soon. Until then i'll put up with THE Blogger from Howdon.

  2. The Blogger from Howdon is watching u...........