I've made absolutely zero effort to add any county bird ticks to my list in the last couple of years. Apathy, lack of time and birds turning up on the wrong day have all played a part. And it nearly happened again this week, but today I headed over to Ulverscroft in the Charnwood Forest and duly saw and county-ticked these ....
Yeah, I know. Spanking birds, great scope and binocular views, shite photos!
To be fair, although I got excellent views, they weren't exactly in a tree close enough for frame-filling sharp shots off my bridge camera. They were in a large poplar behind the house of the land-owner.
They were first reported on Monday 7th as being on private land, and it wasn't until Weds/Thurs that their favoured area and access was sussed out. Luckily for all there are numerous public-footpaths going across this land and so many have been able to enjoy them. These are undoubtedly the same birds that were, until a few days before being found here, the attempted breeders at East Leake quarry in Notts. Nesting failed and the birds were last seen flying off high to the south from there on Friday 4th. Where they are now is only c11km away as the Bee-eater flies.
I spent a good hour watching these stunning birds, and being thankful that they'd hung on until I could get over there. Although there are five in the above shot, I saw a max. of six at any one
time. I counted them several times after their short sallies out of the
tree to grab a bee or other large insect, and every time could only make
it six but others have been reporting seven.
After watching them, I carried on around the public footpath and eventually came out onto an area on the other side of the house, which actually gave slightly closer views. Whereas the above is a heavy crop on max zoom, the below shot is just max zoom on the camera.
I'd never walked around this area, but some of the views are excellent. I could do with garden views like this ....
The area is near to the ruins of Ulverscroft Priory. Here's a shot of some of it - the other view is filled with a big scaffold structure that appears to be protecting part of the ruin from weather!
Whilst pottering around I found a few leafmines and galls to work through for another day.