17th March. All Crust and No Filling

Blogging isn't coming naturally at the moment, mostly due to the lack of birds, plenty of birding just nothing very interesting and partly due to the lack of birding gossip.

Looking back it's been almost 2 months since I wrote anything remotely bird related and it's time to get my mojo back ready for (fingers crossed) the greatest spring on record. So here goes:

Way back at the end of January, the internationally (apparently the Dutch liked it so much that they set up their own challenge in February) renowned Foot It challenge finished and with it most of my winter birding enthusiasm.  I've toyed with the idea of resurrecting it for April/May but it's not likely, though I wouldn't rule out a one off day challenge.
Bird of the year.

The patch has so far been well below par, though I guess this was bound to happen sooner or later and the more I think about last years birds the more I realise what a special 12 months it was. To put it into context I'm almost 20 species behind where I was this time last year with such bonus birds as Smew, Iceland Gull and Little Owl all blank spaces on the list.

Disaster struck in early February when my long standing loyal Sigma 50-500 went off to photographic heaven or the Council tip to be precise.  An unfortunate incident involving the ground and some general wear and tear made it uneconomical to repair and worse still it was clear that given the latter deterioration aspect the insurers wouldn't pay up for a new one, so I had to. I opted for the image stabilised 150-500 and so far I'm very happy with it.

I nearly deleted this Barn Owl shot, but the noise and blur of the wings and background really accentuate the ghostly appearance - well I like it anyway. Incidentally this Barn Owl, at Pit-house West was my first at Rother Valley.

The only real chance I've had on a proper subject was a group of Waxwings that favoured  the ASDA (other supermarkets are available) at Handsworth. Laying on my belly for some shots raised a few eyebrows from carrier bag laden shoppers.

 However, highlight of February was seeing the legendary John Shuttleworth perform at the Buxton Opera House.  He didn't disappoint with classics such as can't go back to savoury, smells like white spirit and my personal favourite two margarines on the go.

With the apparent extension to this winter early migrants have been non-existent, but a Rock Pipit this morning reassured me that spring really is just around the corner....

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