Dave Williams

Dave Williams Big Year 2017

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Very nice close-up of a tiny bird!

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299)  Rook.

I set out yesterday to try and reach the next milestone on my BY. I knew where to find a Rook so that would be easy. They hang around parked cars on the seafront hoping to beg bits of sandwich and yesterday was no different.

Possibly the ugliest bird on my BY so far, I didn't want that to be No 300!

37372271145_1b2c79f142_b.jpgRook    Corvus frugilegus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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300) Common Kestrel

 

Yes, I finally made it although there were times I began to lose heart, July and August can be disappointing here in North Wales and even in the Autumn we are not really on much of a migration route on the west side of the UK.

A year ago to the day I saw my first ever Wryneck, it now features in my avatar, but the likelyhood of something that special to me was unlikely, however, I did come up trumps.

The Common Kestrel is just that in the UK, fairly common. I have seen them in or hovering over the garden a few times this year but never managed a decent image. Ironically I saw my first ever Greater Kestrel and only my second ever Lesser Kestrel both at very close quarters earlier in the year so the fact it's taken over 9 months to get something decent on the Common Kestrel is as much about my recent apathy as anything else.

Anyway, yesterday I went walkabout on the Great Orme headland that stretches out in to Liverpool Bay and the Irish Sea. After the heavy rain in the previous 24 hours I was hopeful that something might have dropped in on passage but it wasn't the case. However, I did accidentally flush a Kestrel which had been sat on the ground and I managed to relocate it some 4 or 500m away. Kestrels are notoriously skittish if they happen to be on the ground and tend to fly when you approach them although they will often hover right above you when they are hunting.

I fully expected this one to fly too but it didn't. Maybe it was too busy sticking it's head in the cracks on the rocky limestone outcrop it had landed on. Must be something in there to keep it's attention. However, despite me being as close as 10m away in the end it was happy to let me sit there and snap away giving me my best ever "Close encounter of the Kestrel kind"

37381828735_873e25fb44_b.jpgCommon Kestrel  Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

So, to celebrate reaching 300

37200371992_e54b4ebc28_b.jpgCommon Kestrel  Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

A bit of Kestrel overkill!

37200372432_2e2e179083_b.jpgCommon Kestrel  Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I usually try to stick to one image, two at the most but hey ho

36519945744_74e34601f5_b.jpgCommon Kestrel   Falco Tinnunculus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I'm celebrating!!

Where next. Well my original target was 400. I once kept a year list when I first started birding and I made it to 400 on New Year's Eve with a fleeting glimpse of a Firecrest. That was 2008. I have possibly seen more species in a year since then, but I have never kept a year list of any sort so out of interest I decided to take part in the BY.

Not sure it's a good idea really. It eventually motivated me to get out but it also demotivated me when I made a lack of progress.

Where next?

I am afraid that I doubt I'll hit my target but hopefully I'll get past 350.

I have a Far East cruise/land trip trip coming up soon but I don't think I'll see much in the way of wildlife but you never know!

Edited by Dave Williams
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Congratulations on you BY 2017 #300, @Dave Williams! What a beautiful set of Common Kestrel (which does not look common at all) fro close distance. 

 

As for the motivation / demotivation, I can feel you. Same here. While first 6 months were busy, second 6 months are/will be much less. And much less colourful, and birds at much greater distances.  The Big Year 2018 cannot come fast enough B).

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Congrats on 300 - still far in the distance for me....

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Congrats Dave, a really special Kestrel series! "Common" maybe but difficult to get good images and yours are all stunning. 

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@Dave Williams - congratulations! Well deserved, with some inspiring photography

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Truly inspiring photography throughout, my congratulations on a magnificent effort!

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