Friday, 10 February 2012

Sandling, snipe and snow buntings

I overslept today so only had a short session today - I parked up at Newdowns, walked to the sea and back again.
Newdowns reservoir had coot(26) and pochard(30) whereas Prince’s reservoir had a bit more variety in the form of coot(11), pochard(25),tufted duck(6), shoveller(51) but nothing more exciting (eg goosander). Along the track there were the normal tits, robins and finches but none are very numerous though greenfinch numbers reached the lofty height of 5 – a world record for this year.
As I walked through The Plantation (the pines by the golf course) I flushed 2 of the 4 woodcock seen today though I didn’t tramp around the Newdowns pool – they’ve been disturbed enough this week – though a snipe came up out of one of the ditches.
A short stroll along the beach towards the sea front car park allowed me to see the snow buntings (12) but I never got within 100yrds of them – well that’s not strictly true I did get closer but only when they flew past me.
Snow Buntings
I’m not actually certain I flushed them as they landed then were off several times in quick succession.  The SBBO ringers have caught and ringed about 10 in the last week so it may have made them very wary of anything on two legs.
I was about to depart when I saw some sandling (5) charging around on the sea front  so I got fairly close then allowed them (with some help from the incoming tide) to come to me:
They got reasonably close whilst feeding in their normal frenetic way but when within 20-25 yards or so they sprinted past me then started feeding again when they’d put a similar distance between us.

Whilst playing with the sandling a couple of ringed plover flew past but other than that it was quiet – there were quite a few dog walkers on the beach so that may have been partly to blame.
Time was soon up but since I had the camera out I decided to keep it at the ready for the return leg. This turned out to be fortuitous as when I walked past Prince’s Reservoir a snipe flew up and I managed some flight shots – not brilliant but the best ones I have ever managed.

Without a doubt the Canon 7D plus 400mm f5.6 locks on really fast and holds onto the bird well – far better than the Sony did.


  1. Good mix of wintery stuff :-) Ive not got a flying snipe shot at all yet, well not one you would recognize as a snipe!

  2. Sounds like a good time again Steve. I have to agree the 7D does seem to lock on well and for some time as the birds pass. Great snipe shot well caught.