Garth Peacock
A stormy week


Wednesday 12th February 2020

Thursday 20th February 2020

Slimbrisge WWT Gloucesterdhire

Wednesday 19th February 2020

To end January 2020...

Thursday 30th January 2020

That's the end of 2019 for me.

Friday 20th December 2019

Disaster strikes

Monday 2nd December 2019

It's still very hard work

Saturday 9th November 2019

A quiet month overall

Saturday 2nd November 2019

Week ending 11th October 2019

Friday 11th October 2019

A quiet week

Friday 4th October 2019

A week of mixed fortunes

Tuesday 1st October 2019

The final catch-up

Tuesday 10th September 2019

Post Romania

Wednesday 4th September 2019

Romania Day 7 - 14th June 2019

Saturday 17th August 2019

Romania Day 6 - 13th June 2019

Friday 16th August 2019

Romania Day 5 - 12th June 2019

Wednesday 24th July 2019

Romania Day 4 - 11th June 2019

Thursday 18th July 2019

Romania Day 3 - 10th June 2019

Tuesday 9th July 2019

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Sunday 23rd September 2018

Last week suffered from the results of Hurricane Ali with strong south-westerly winds during the last half of the week. I decided to stay at home but the weather on Thursday looked much better than forecast so after a quick phone call to check it was still there, I went to the Wildlife Trust reserve at Welney to try to see the juvenile Pallid Harrier that had been there for a few days.

I was assured that it regularly flew past the Observatory in the afternoon and a fellow photographer showed me some excellent photos to prove it - except that it didn't and was not seen all afternoon. Call it Sods Law.

All I managed of any interest was a Greylag Goose taking off

and a Mute Swan landing, both in the strongish breeze.

So I resolved to go back the next day, Friday, to see if I could do any better, arriving just after opening time. My friend and I spent some time in the observatory with the only highlight being a small family of three Common Cranes that landed a distance away but still worth a punt with the camera and the 2x converter, despite the strong wind.

Surprisingly, there was a pair of Whooper Swans, very early for these winter migrants, but we were informed that this pair were residents and unable to fly. This proved to be the case, despite strenuous efforts on their part with no success.

We then moved to another hide from where our target bird has been seen earlier, before the reserve had officially opened. It was very busy with other birders/ photographers with very little happening for a while except for a close flypast by a male Marsh Harrier.

A family of Mute Swans kept my interest for a time. I was hoping for a shot with the adult and all four juveniles with their heads up but they did not play ball.

Then our target was spotted but it quartered the grassland very low to keep out of the wind and kept it's distance, making it very difficult to get anything other than record shots.

Pallid Harriers nest in far Eastern Europe and migrate south into the Middle East so this juvenile female was way off it's normal migratory route.

Still, apart from only seeing a male some some years ago that was several hundred yards away, this was my first proper sighting so worth the trip. A very beautiful bird.

It was last seen heading towards the observatory, so we quickly headed there but it had not been seen and we did not see it again.

All that attracted me to excercise my trigger finger was a drake Mallard that was bathing and ended with a colourful wingflap in the one odd moment of sunlight.

We stayed until closing time.