Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Climate winge

Is it just me or are the weather forcasts getting less accurate? I find it hard to accept the theories about global warming when the Met office are having difficulty predicting what the weather will do in the next 24 hours; let alone the next 24 years! More and more I seem to get to where the weather is supposed to be good, only to get wet and cold, and worse still have to struggle for light!
This last weekend wasn't too bad though, a murky grey start that cleared when the wind increased a little, allowing some after-lunch sunshine. Welney isn't that far from home so it seemed like a good idea to get some Swans in flight with the pastel winter sky at sunset, and to "kill two birds with one stone" (poor choice of cliché I know!) I also needed some shots of trains on a bridge, and the one at Pyemoor would be ideal.
These are a small few of the results of a reasonably productive day, I was very pleased with the Song Thrush as I see fewer and fewer of them.
The geese in flight across the sun was taken from the A1101 bridge on the causeway, I also got Swans, Gulls and a flock Golden Plover in much the same image, not to mention how cold I got too!
Stonechats are regular here in winter but can be difficult to locate sometimes, and the Pied Wagtail on ice just served to show how tough these little birds are to cope with what the winter throws at them.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Bunting bonanza

A fine day in Norfolk at Salthouse, not really the weather for laying on the beach perhaps, but I spent about 4 hours on my tum in the shingle blasting off 18 gig on these lovely Lapland Buntings (Longspurs) and Snow Buntings, a fantastic day that started off at Lakenheath and ended up hunched over the fire with hot tomato soup plus fish and chips..... and then hunched over the PC editing the mountain of pictures!

Desert Wheatear

I've now seen four Desert Wheatears in the UK, all have been very confiding, but this one at Horsey is a real poser, often coming much too close to focus and at one point perching on the camera! A fine bird and a joy to photograph.

Winter well on the way

Winter is well on its way, Whooper Swans are back at Welney, huge flocks if winter thrushes, the Fieldfare being just one of a large group, have arrived, and Magpies are scoffing all the food at the feeding station, the light is non existent mostly, its been cold and wet; but I still love this time of year because when you get everything come together nicely you get some great pictures.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

The pits

This has been a lot of hard work and standing around in the cold, another wildlife photographer, Andy Darrington, and I have dug a huge pit hide beside a pond at the bottom of his field, (not such hard work as Andy owns a JCB style digger) fuelled by copious amounts of tea and digestives we added a plywood roof thatched with fir tree branches and then "dressed the set" with a variety of props, an old gate, mossy logs, 3 sacks of autumn leaves and interesting perches etc. Its still a bit early and may take a while to get settled-in; but already its paid off handsomely with visiting Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Bullfinches, two Kingfishers (not while I've been there, yet!) and a variety of other birds. Being a pit hide the low point-of-view works well, the only problem is that some of the visitors come too close, today the female Sparrowhawk dropped-in about 3 feet away, right under my camera position, I must pack the shorter lenses next visit!

Cliff and the shadows

You can't beat a corny pun as a title, nothing to do with Mr Richards or Hank and co, but a great place for a summer holiday! even better as a winter afternoon and evening photo location, this is Hunstanton beach and cliffs.
They seem to have had a bit of a bashing in the recent bad weather and sea conditions, but are still just as photogenic as ever; this last Wednesday I spent several hours, until it was nigh on dark, running around with the Canon and tripod, dog walkers and joggers were a bit of a problem but its now so easy to shoot two or more images and sample the appropriate bits to paint these people out in photoshop afterwards!

Monday, 22 October 2007

All things bright and....

The green wind-up merchant! Its not that I don't get shots of them, its just that try as I might, I havn't got the shot I want of one; Well yesterday was a bit better, I came home with several Green Woodpecker shots in the can, but alas, when opened on the computer, of the two best ones, one had its nictitating membrane half closed over the eye and one was just not quite sharp 'cos the bird moved! I am more than happy with the one shown below though.
Another trip to Richmond park added a big heap of new Deer images to the hard drive, this time I went for some more atmospheric images as well as the rutting stags.
A cold and frankly horrid foggy morning at Little Paxton filled me with the overwhelming thoughts that I should have rolled over and stayed in my nice warm bed.... but a Black headed gull, the fog and the rising sun all conspired to give me a set of images that made it well worth being out, it was a good day!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Stuck in a rut!

Its a place I have always meant to get to in autumn, and for some reason I never have, until now! Richmond park, a National nature reserve in the middle of the urban sprawl of London is the place to photograph Deer. Red Deer mainly, but also Fallow Deer are here in good numbers, and right now is the mating season, so there is lots of action.
Of course being in the right place at the right time is essential, and in order to get some of the shots I wanted I will have to go back for a second visit, mainly because the promised sunny start to the day was a thick foggy one!
It wasn't just the Deer, there were loads of Robins singing, Ring necked Parakeets squawking, and quite a lot of fungus out too.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Stints, and spikes

I've had a couple of very busy weeks, I generally see loads of Hedgehogs, so being commissioned to photograph one with a new brand of Hedgehog food did not seem too much of a challenge, how wrong can one be!
It took several evenings of pretty hard searching to nail one down, the saddest part of the search was the number I saw squashed in the road, 27 during 3 nights. Some might think that that is a sign of a healthily high population, but this time of the year they are feeding up ready for winter and therefore more active. It isn't just cars they fall victim to either, garden slug pellets are responsible for many Hedgehog deaths, also garden ponds with steep edges kill them too, Hedgehogs can swim, so a small ramp that enables them to get out of the water would perhaps save a Hedgehogs life!

As its that time of year I have also been out photographing fungus, havn't a clue what most of them are , they are very photogenic though, but its going to be a chore identifying all the ones in my latest pictures.

I've also been trying to get better shots of Greenfinches fighting in mid air around the feeders, still not got the shot I have in mind, but I have added a few more quite nice flight shots!

Lastly the irresistable Little Stints at Salthouse have been a delight to photograph, great location and great light, wet through to the bone from laying in the mud, bliss, especially when you see the results of the days image taking!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

I like leggy birds

Another trip to the Wader wonderland at Salthouse was very productive. Bar tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover and Little Stint added below.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Sunset at Titchwell

What a change it makes to have some nice weather to work with, and some birds that have performed well to coincide with the sunshine. The last couple of weeks have been spectacularly successful photographically and I now have about 40gigs worth of images after editing to re-edit and pick the best from.
The best day was last Saturday, the15th, an early start for the wader roost at Snettisham and a late afternoon rising tide at Titchwell meant that I could do some much more pictorial "birds in the landscape" images.
The Black headed Gull was a real performer and at last I have some shots that show one feeding in a more natural setting and not eating bread! More to follow as I process the images.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

More waders

Some more time spent in Norfolk working on waders at the tail end of this week, Turnstones and Sanderlings are about in good numbers. A fish and chip stop-off in Hunstanton led to the shot of the clifftop rain shelter with the sun setting behind it, I have given it the HDR treatment!