Monday, 28 September 2009

Shardeloes, Bucks. 27/08/09

Spotted Flycatcher

A quick afternoon visit to Shardeloes this afternoon produced the following

Passing the cricket pitches 6 Swallows wheeled overhead often making low level sorties to pick up insects off the grass.

The lake held the usual variety of common species, The 3 juv Great Crested Grebe are doing well but still being fed occasionally by their parents which remain nearby, 8 Little Grebe, 1Ad & 2 juv Mute Swan, 12 Black-headed Gulls. The Canada Geese (40+) seemed to be moving back in numbers to the lake after spending much of the summer along the River Misbourne by Kennet Farm

Heading along the footpath on the southern edge of the lake a Chiffchaff was feeding on insects in the hedgerow, I stopped to take a look a soon noticed something out of the corner of my eye, turning as quickly as I could I spotted a Spotted Flycatcher darting down to the ground and back in to the hedgerow where it sat in full view. It stayed still long enough for me to grab a few photos and then continued to "flycatch" around the hedgerow returning to a few favoured perching spots. It continued to feed from the bushes for over 30 minutes giving great views and was then joined by another, they really are fantastic birds to watch up close. Whilst watching the Flycatchers 2 Chiffchaffs and a juv Common Whitethroat made an appearance and a Common Buzzard flew over.

Great Crested Grebe Family 26/07/09

Juv Great Crested Grebe 27/08/09

I attempted to try and digiscope the Spotted Flycatchers again but with there now being two it made it very difficult as they often broke off from feeding and chased each other round the bushes and out of sight. I waited patiently and eventually was extremely lucky to get them close together in the same bush, pulling my jacket hood over my head to shield the sun and to see what I was taking a photo of I suddenly could hear a loud humming getting louder and closer. Looking skywards and over the tree line an Avro Lancaster bomber appeared shortly followed by a Spitfire and Hurricane, a very impressive sight to say the least, even better to have a scope handy to watch them cruise across the sky and out of sight. I believe they are a part of the RAF Battle of Britain memorial flight group. I wouldn't have mentioned it but the Lancaster does have a Rolls Royce MERLIN engine!

Avro Lancaster

After doing a bit of research on the Lancaster with the help of and i found out that the flight group had been on a display flight to Torrington, Benson and Clacton. Avro Lancaster PA474 "City of Lincoln" which was built in 1945 is one of only two Lancasters that remain in flying condition today from a total of 7377 that were built, the other is owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

The paint scheme for PA474 is periodically changed to represent notable Lancasters, and the aircraft is currently flown as EE139 Phantom of the Ruhr, a Lancaster that flew 121 sorties, a so called "ton-up" Lancaster and bearing the codes HW-R on the port side and BQ-B on the starboard side.

A WWII bomber that will be most remembered for the film "The Dam Busters" recounting 617 Squadron's daring raid on May 16, 1943, to destroy dams in Germany's Ruhr district with Barnes Wallis's bouncing bombs.

I did manage a quick photo as it flew past but the Spitfire and Hurricane were gone before I could zoom in. I've been prety lucky with rare Avro bomber sightings having seen the only flying Avro Vulcan XH558 when it flew over our old cottage in the Hambleden Valley 10th July 2008.

Avro Vulcan

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