Welcome to my second blog, which is a lighthearted look at my adventures whilst out watching and photographing wildlife and birds in North Somerset. I hope my stories make you smile whilst highlighting the wonderful and diverse wildlife present in the North Somerset area.

You can also see my garden project which includes gardening for wildlife here:- http://higgysgardenproject.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ospreys & blackmail!!.....

Hi All,

It certainly has been a long time since I last posted some of my 'mad cap' wildlife adventures on here! Unfortunately time has been against me and my back and hip injury have been somewhat restricting over recent months limiting both my time out and my concentration for posting about it on here!

This week I have returned from a two week break at a rehabilitation centre where I received extensive physio and treatment for my injury. This seems to have worked quite well and at least given me a little more range of movement.

Many of you will be well aware of the Ospreys that have suddenly turned up at Blagdon and Chew Valley Lakes. These birds have cause quite a stir and present a very interesting story of where they originally come from etc. Perthshire is one location with this bird being a very mature specimen! (Further details about their history can be found through the link below)

I obviously had to see these birds as I hadn't had the pleasure of an Osprey before and certainly not on my home patch of North Somerset!!

As I was looking after my 5yr old daughter on the day of my planned visit I ended up with a few 'conditions!' Below is a copy of my post on the RSPB Community Forum site. As it was so well received so I thought I'd share my mad ramblings on here with you also!...

My first OSPREY! On my patch!.. OH and 'blackmailed' by a 5yr old!!!

Hi All,
I had one of those moments today where I seen one of those 'must see' birds and even better it was on my own patch!! (thought I'd gone to heaven!!)
Yesterday I got that email we all dream of from a friend telling me that there were three Ospreys showing well at Blagdon & Chew Valley Lakes! Typically I couldn't get down there yesterday due to work commitments! (that just about guarantees that they will have moved on by today!!) 
Today I had the day off work to look after my 5yr old daughter, so after some gentle persuasion we set off on an 'adventure' loaded with feed for the swans and ducks and lots of camera gear!
The bucket load of feed (please note proper feed mix not bread) was part of my daughters 'blackmail' to allow me out to try and see the Osprey!
The rest of the 'blackmail' included:
  • A lunch time break at a cafe of her choice for 'jammy toast' & warm milk! Oh and a large slab of cake of her choice!!! 
  • A packet of crisps for the journey
  • A bag of chocolate buttons for mid morning snack
  • Trips to two different play parks between viewings
  • Permanent use of my spare pair of binoculars
  • And finally one of my made up 'Flossy the Dog' stories at bedtime, but it had to last at least half an hour apparently!!
I am beginning to wonder what she is learning at school!!! No wonder she loves it so much, last term must have been 'how to trade and broker the best deal with your parents' I reckon!!!!!!.... 
Anyway despite being bullied by a five year old we eventually arrived at the damn wall on Blagdon Lake just as an Osprey headed straight at the car! You can guess what happened next!?.... it was 'abandon the car' time and then just enough time to grab the camera and shoot on whatever settings it was on before the bird slipped out of view behind some trees!
You guessed it looking back through the screen the pictures were way too dark and I imagined unusable, drat!!
We wandered along the damn wall, me in my drab colours and camo and Chloe in bright pink hat, scarf, gloves and coat!! I'm sure another part of the bribe!
Chatting to a few other birders (who were now donning dark sunglasses to block out the shine from Chloe's almost florescent pink 'gear') and they informed us that the Osprey had been about a lot during the morning and this was the 'key' place to stand and get a shot at it!
Luckily our new (now blinded) best buddies were right and the bird came straight at us and then over head before disappearing down the valley on the other side of the hedge behind us! What a sight that was, my first proper detailed view of this magnificent bird!
I think that this was probably the best view of the day and although not the greatest pictures the best of a bad bunch, but cracking to me just for the record and memory if nothing else!....
So there you have it lots of 'bribery' and a great sighting!
Was it worth it??...
Well I reckon the day cost me about £20, a bucket full of feed and a pair of binoculars!!!
What I gained? A great sighting, A really enjoyable day out, watching my daughter not only enjoy what she wanted to do but being completely thrilled by the Osprey also!
OH Yes, it was worth every second & every penny!!
OH, I almost forgot.....
What did 'Flossy the Dog' do in the bedtime story?.....
Well 'Flossy the Dog' had a great adventure out with his dad (Mr Flossy!) and they went to a magic hill top and watched magic birds flying around in the valley below them!..... He also took his three best friends along (Spot, Fluffy & Floppy)..... And there was a magic fairy in there somewhere also!!
Funny but she was really tired after all that fresh air and went to sleep with a great big smile on here face! PRICELESS!!!...

'My first OSPREY! On my patch!.. OH and 'blackmailed' by a 5yr old!!!' was originally posted on the RSPB Communty forum. You can read the original post and all comments by clicking HERE. 

On a serious note this really was a great sighting and I feel so privileged to have got some snaps of these magnificent birds! Please do read the original post and comments by clicking on the above link as it will take you to other links giving the history of these birds which is extremely interesting.

That's about it for now, it's good be back!! I do now intend to maintain this blog as I do my garden blog. Hopefully as time goes on I will brig you my own 'tongue and cheek' view of my wildlife adventures within this beautiful part of North Somerset.

Thanks for reading and see you next time....