Saturday, 8 January 2011


Third time lucky with the Ring-billed Gull today! I got across to Mirfield for about half 12 and connected immediately. It looked settled so I fired off a few test shots and started faffing with the camera settings. We ll that was a mistake - I looked down at the camera to sort the white-balance to improve the exposure and puff it was gone... A nice bonus was a Lesser Black-backed Gull in with the Commons and Black-heads. I tried to connect round at the weir but there was nothing there save a few Pochard.

Horribly over-exposed/out of focus Ring-billed Gull "fixed" in Picasa

A subway beckoned to cogitate on a plan - did I try and get a better picture of the RB Gull or did I have a crack at the Arctic Redpolls at Hatfield Moor with a Lesser Scaup as a bonus year tick. Easy choice. I arrived at Hatfield about 45 minutes later. I decided to ignore the Lesser Scaup initially in order to get a better crack at the Redpolls. A mistake as I had to shoot the Lesser Scaup at 1600 ISO. Back with the Redpolls - I wandered about in the birch and alders quickly seeing my first Bullfinch of the year. This was followed by a group of Redpolls, seemingly a few Mealies and plenty of Lessers. I also bumped into a few birders who had a possible Arctic in the morning but nothing since and even that was a bit streaky apparently. Walking on I had a few flyover Redpolls and a year tick in the form of 4 Crossbills overhead. Another yeartick in a Goldcrest caused almost a hesitation - didnt they all die this winter?? How on earth did it not freeze. The light was starting to go so I bombed back to catch up with the Lesser Scaup. This little beaut was trying to climb through the fence - it seeemed desperate for food although once it had its fill soon moved back onto the lake. The question remains - escape or desperate? A gammy leg apparently is hindering its feeding so maybe it is gen. A trio of Whoopers were a nice bonus at the back.

Did I jump a fence? Can James take a decent photo?
On this evidence, no.

Lesser Scaup - Hatfield Moors

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